On Friday, July 19 the Southampton Town Police Emergency Services Unit (ESU) conducted training exercises in Westhampton Beach. Local builder and FHIR owner Lawrence Citarelli allowed the unit to use one of his properties that is about to be demolished and developed.
The ESU ran a series of training exercises in the blazing heat at Citarelli’s Tanners Neck Lane property in Westhampton Beach. The unit typically wears full gear, including bulletproof vests and the like, but in light of the 96-degree temperature, they ran with a lighter load. One member acted as the wanted criminal barricaded in the house while the rest of the team served warrants, broke down the door and used flashbang grenades to blind and secure the mock perpetrator.
Led by Sgt. Lewis Scott, the Southampton Town Police ESU is a valuable asset to the community. Similar to SWAT, the team provides services in high-risk situations for which most local police officers are not trained. They carry battering rams, automatic weapons and a variety of gear best suited for more deadly operations and criminals. They serve the drug and arrest warrants that are more dangerous than what’s usually encountered during routine police work in the township.
The ESU training is a perfect use for a tear-down property, Citarelli said. The location provided a real life environment for the team’s exercises and being able to train using a house where they could break the windows and door down gives the officers a more authentic experience.
Citarelli’s children and some of their friends were on hand to watch the training exercise and get a firsthand look at how important these services are for the community. Sgt. Scott also fielded questions from the kids about what the unit does and how they operate.