University Police Use Empty Apartments for Training

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TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY In an emergency, time is everything. First responders work at getting to a scene as fast as they can, but what if they can't?

Special training at Texas A&M University is helping police officers get through just about any obstacle.

The loud banging echoes through the room. An officer swings a maul at a bathroom door. BAM. BAM. BAM. BAM. BAM.

Breaking down a door can take a lot of out of you and you might not break through. The officer holding the maul, an axe-like tool, is sweating profusely. University Police at Texas A&M are training with tools that make it easier.

"Anytime you can train in a situation or scenario that puts you in your own environment, and it's life-like, I mean you're getting the best possible training you can get," explains Lieutenant Allan Baron with the Texas A&M University Police Department.

These old university dorms across from campus give officers a rare chance to practice making entry in a scenario they're likely to see working at Texas A&M.

"This is actually a skill that, I believe, all police officers need," says Officer Clay Crenshaw.

"There are times when you do have an emergency in a dorm, or an office building, and the doors may be locked and there may be a need for you to breach that door or get into that door quickly," he continued.

The ability to get in and out of tight spaces during an emergency is critical for first responders. But many times, they might not know what they face on the other side of the door.

"If they have a barricaded situation where they have someone that's injured or hurt and they need to get in there," said Baron.

"It could just be a situation where we need to get that gate open or that door open so other emergency personnel can make their way into the facility," he continued.

Offices and dorms at Texas A&M are built differently.

"In some houses [doorjambs] would be wood, but here in the dorms they're metal frames," explained Crenshaw.

Using a breaching tool and a maul, officers use less force and put more pressure on the door. But sometimes, brute force can get the job done.

The officers were training at the old University Apartments across from campus on University Drive. The apartments are set for demolition to make way for a new development of business and residential space.