Police hold robbery simulation at old bank building

COLUMBIANA — The city’s police department and county Special Response Team (SRT) had the opportunity to conduct a bank robbery simulation and training at the former PNC Bank building recently.

City Manager Lance Willard said the bank gave permission for the collaborative training in the vacant building at the Columbiana Plaza that is being torn down to make way for an AutoZone store.

Gladis said the training allowed officers and the SRT team to train in real time without worrying about damaging the structure since it was due to be torn down this week anyway.

“This was as close to real as you could get. The big opportunity that this gives us is to work with other departments other than our own so that when something real happens we are comfortable with how we (work together),” he said.

The officers treated the simulation last week as though an actual bank robbery had occurred. Other training scenarios were also included, with officers using equipment to break through windows and walls as necessary.

Gladis said the department conducts training at the Columbiana High School building as well when school is not in session, but that training doesn’t provide the opportunity for using battering rams or other equipment that may be needed in certain emergency situations.

The training was also approved by the Auto Zone company, they said.

“Anytime we have an opportunity to do something right here in town if saves a lot of money and travel,” Gladis said.

In other matters, Willard announced he will be accepting letters of interest for the vacancy on the civil service commission due to the resignation of Scott Jones, who was appointed to the planning commission at the last meeting.

Letters will be accepted until Jan. 11 the seat is only open to citizens that are not registered Republicans.

Willard explained that the commission must be comprised of a certain number of Republicans and Democrats and that there is already republican representation.

The vacant term runs through May 15, 2021 and commission members are appointed by council.