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Feel the H.E.A.T

By Staff | Oct 23, 2008

Detective Greg VanLangen shows how a sight operates on one of the carbines used during H.E.A.T. live-fire training Wednesday.

If you heard a bunch of gunshots Wednesday during the rain, it wasn’t a bunch of crazy duck hunters.

It was the H.E.A.T. team training for what they do best – protecting citizens from whatever should happen.

H.E.A.T., or the High-Risk Entry and Arrest Team, hosted 19 members from regional law enforcement agencies who trained at the police shooting range south of Estherville all day Wednesday. The team includes members from Estherville, Spirit Lake, Lake Park, Arnolds Park and Milford in Iowa and Fairmont, Martin County Sheriff’s Office, Watonwan County Sheriff’s Office, St. James Police Department, Sherburn-Welcome Police Department, Jackson Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Office, Windom Police Department, Mountain Lake Police Department, Pipestone County Sheriff’s Office, Rock County Sheriff’s Office, Westbrook Police Department and the Truman Police Department, all in Minnesota.

Members practiced with side arms, most generally .40-caliber semiautomatics, and long guns, including the M-4, M-14, MP-5 and UMP carbines. Exercises included door entry and fire exercises.

Brent Shatto, Estherville Police Department captain, and Greg VanLangen, department detective, are H.E.A.T. team commanders.

A H.E.A.T. member goes through the door and fires at a target. Live-fire exercises help sharpen members’ training in the event of a similar real-life scenario.

Shatto said H.E.A.T. team members get together once a month for firearms training which includes building searches, high-risk warrant services, dignitary protection, active shooting training and search and rescue.

“Basically we’re available to our member agencies for whatever they need us for,” Shatto said.

Area police chiefs and sheriffs saw a need for such a team back in 1996. As a result, H.E.A.T. became operational in 1998. Shatto said there are 21 tactical operators on the team plus two tactical dispatchers, a tactical medic, and four certified hostage negotiators.

A total of 19 members trained in the rain — a possible real-life scenario that the team could face. EDN photos by Michael Tidemann