Pubdate: Mon, 09 Aug 2010
Source: Chillicothe Gazette (OH)
Copyright: 2010 Chillicothe Gazette
Author: Jona Ison, Gazette Staff Writer


Thursday morning started like any other typical day for a Canal
Winchester nanny.

Therese Ryan drove into Ross County to watch a local family's
children. They went to the YMCA, where she dropped the older child off
for camp about 8:15 a.m. Nothing was amiss until Ryan left with the
younger child and looked down Yoctangee Parkway to spot a group of
officers clad in protective gear, guns drawn surrounding a home. The
Chillicothe Police's tactical team was serving a no-knock search
warrant at 346 Yoctangee Parkway as a result of a drug investigation
that morning.

"I wondered why isn't this street blocked off? If the situation
warranted vested and armed officers, why wasn't there more attention
paid to the safety (of the community)," Ryan said.

Ryan went onto the cleaners to drop off some items and returned to the
same area where she said anyone could have driven directly past the
SWAT activity.

"I went right back to the Y because the little boy I was taking care
of was supposed to participate in a walking field trip in that
direction," Ryan said.

She notified staff at the YMCA who said they didn't realize the police
were down the street, but they assured her they would keep the
children inside.

"I wasn't trying to be overly dramatic, but if people aren't made
aware, then there's no precautions being taken," Ryan said.

Chillicothe Police Chief Roger Moore and tactical team commander Sgt.
Larry Bamfield disagree.

"It's kind of hard to do a no-knock search warrant if you shut the
street down first," Moore said, adding it could tip off those in the
home the team is about to raid.

The tactical team is called in to do no-knock warrants for places that
are considered high-risk meaning the residents have a violent history
or possibly weapons inside the home, Moore said. Children being
present inside a home also will alter the way the police serve a warrant.

A few of the concerns about the home on Yoctangee Parkway was the
residents had outside cameras and an audible alarm, Bamfield said.

The precautions the team takes to protect themselves and other
citizens is having officers surrounding the home with guns drawn in
preparation to take down someone if they come outside, Moore said.
Officers also use a number of distraction methods, such as breaking a

"It is difficult in certain regards because we don't know what we're
getting into," Bamfield said, adding that's why they are trained in
"rapid response." "They generally don't know we're coming until it's
too late, so they can't react."

Bamfield also pointed to the team's training which includes an
intensive 40-hour week program that is followed up with eight to 16
hours of training every month. All officers on the team are certified,
he added.

As for notifying others in the community, such as the YMCA or the
school across the street (which was still closed for summer vacation),
Moore said the more people who know, the more likely information could
be leaked. If someone is tipped off, it gives them time to prepare
whether it's by leaving or by arming themselves and lying in wait.

"This is the element of surprise. The more people who know, the more
risk to the officers and the residents," Moore said. "People need to
trust we're trained and know what we're doing."

Moore said they usually do mark off the street after the home is
entered and said a pair of unmarked cars were used to block Yoctangee
as soon as they "lit it up." Ryan said she never saw the cars.

"I understand the whole concept behind the element of surprise, but
from the other side of the door, there's always the chance of
something more negative happening," Ryan said.

Ryan feels police still could have blocked the street before entering
even if it were under the guise of another city department.

No matter how much preparation or precaution is taken, Moore
acknowledges suspects have been known to get away or fire on officers
in other communities.

"You try to prepare for the worst and hope for the best," he

As for innocent citizens witnessing the activity, Moore advises to go
wherever you're going in a different way and neighbors should stay
inside until they see officers relaxed.

"Our concern anytime going out is public safety," Bamfield said.
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