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Updated safety house offers uses

Members of the Lawrence County SWAT team get ready to arrest a gunman during a simulation Thursday at the dedication of the public safety training facility at Collins Career Center.

Members of the Lawrence County SWAT team get ready to arrest a gunman during a simulation Thursday at the dedication of the public safety training facility at Collins Career Center.

CHESAPEAKE — The Lawrence County Sheriff’s office’s SWAT team took on a scary situation involving a gunman at Collins Career Center Thursday morning, but luckily it was part of a simulation at the new and improved public safety training facility.

“This facility will be utilized by all fire, police, EMS and law enforcement in the county as well as our Collins Career Center programs,” Jim Howard, principal at the center, said. “It has been on our campus for a number of years, but it was in bad shape.”

Thanks to a grant from Ohio Skills USA worth $18,600 through Lowes, a $1,000 donation from the Lawrence County Commissioners and donations from various local businesses, the safety house now includes all new siding, a new roof, new lighting, heating, air conditioning, newly painted walls, a gravel driveway, front and back porches and smoke machines in the main floor as well as the upstairs of the house to simulate a fire. Rapelling is also available in the house to exit from the upstairs.

“I want to commend the school for their work on the project,” Mike Cowles, director of Ohio Skills USA, said. “It’s about giving the students an opportunity that will also help the community.”

The simulation that was demonstrated at the dedication was a domestic violence dispute, or a neighborhood disturbance in which a male shot one of the first responding officers. The SWAT team then drove up to the house, rescued the officer and then went back to secure the house and arrest the gunman.

“We’re grateful that Collins Career Center has expanded that house for these purposes,” Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless said. “They have been a great partner for us at the sheriff’s office and other law agencies. Having that house available to us is a very good thing.”

RW Rentals and Supply, Marcum Pump and Equipment, Lowes of South Point, Rolo Sand and Gravel and Dixon Electrical Systems and Contracting, Inc. all made contributions to the house.