The Secret Service conducted its first-ever full-scale training exercise on White House grounds to better teach agents to handle “potential critical incidents” there.
The training program, which was developed over the course of several months by the Secret Service Joint Exercise and External Training Section, highlighted a variety of emergency situations, according to a press release from the agency.
In one instance, participants practiced responding to an intruder and using an attack dog to take him down, ABC News reported.
The “dynamic training exercise,” which took place just before dawn on Friday before President Trump headed out for the Christmas holiday, was designed to offer “participants the opportunity to deal with potential critical incidents” and a review of “command, control, and communication procedures, response force coordination and effectiveness and other security measures,” according to the release.
New Secret Service Director Randolph Alles — who was also a Marine general — noted hosting the program on White House grounds is part of an ongoing effort to evolve with different types of threats and dangers.
“The Secret Service is bound to the unique no fail mission of protecting the White House,” he said. “The worldwide threat environment is real. These real threats require us to constantly train so that we can evolve with the trends and tactics of our adversaries.”
Agents typically train at the James J. Rowley Training Center in Maryland, but officials have said nothing can compare to the expansive White House property.
When asked why this had never been done before, U.S. Special Agent in charge of training Kimberly Cheatle told ABC: “There are obviously precautions we wanted to take on an operational facility and those considerations had to be taken into account when we were plotting out this particular exercise.”
Cheatle also added the move allowed them to “train in the most realistic environment possible.”
The Secret Service has come under fire for a series of recent incidents, including in March, when a fence jumper remained on the grounds for 15 minutes. The fence surrounding the grounds is slated for an upgrade to better keep out such jumpers, according to the news station.
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2018.
Send a Letter to the Editor