Big police presence is a training exercise

Tactical team members on Curtis Lane in Edgartown positioned behind police vehicles and an armored vehicle for training operations. - Rich Saltzberg

Updated March 22

If you drove by Curtis Lane in Edgartown Thursday afternoon, you likely saw or heard what appeared to be a large police response to the area.

At about 1:30 pm, tactical team members on Curtis Lane in Edgartown were positioned behind police vehicles and an armored vehicle for training operations. Several tactical officers, dressed in dark colors, could be seen in body armor with long guns.

Oak Bluffs Police Lt. Tim Williamson, who heads the tactical team, told The Times a house that is slated for demolition was used to do monthly training for the team. The training scenario was a person barricaded in the house with a pistol.

Lt. Williamson said the tactical team practiced breaking the door, breaking windows for the deployment of gas, and other procedures.

The takeaway, he said, is it’s an acceptable loss to “break windows or break a door” if in the end the tactical team is able to “prevent people from harming themselves or others.”

Earlier Thursday, Edgartown sent out a text alert stating that police officers were conducting a training exercise between 12 noon and 4 pm. “Please do not be alarmed by the substantial police presence,” the alert stated.

The tactical team is made up of officers from several different Island departments, including the Sheriff’s Office. Dukes County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Heather Arpin confirmed some sheriff’s department officers were part of the training. 

Lt. Williamson said tactical team members are obligated to undergo 16 hours of training monthly, and structures on deck for demolition are welcome places to help the team secure those training hours.

Updated with more details of the training.


  1. Any chance the tactical team could train for unlawul entry of law enforcement officers in occupied residential homes?
    This scenario seems far more relevant than the hypothetical forming the present training exercise.

    • Right-O James! I think they just need to add alcohol to make that training realistic for island law enforcement.

  2. C’mon James and Anthony. We have the best, friendliest, co-operative, law enforcement. They proudly represent the protect and serve motto!

  3. Carl, you are generally right, a great number are conscientious protectors of society.
    But then you quickly run up against the ingrained culture of protecting themselves first, the citizens second.
    In the past, as this newspaper investigated certain irregularities in the TPD investigation process during a well documented incident of a residential homeowner receiving an inebriated Police Chief of an up island town (for reasons of privacy I will not provide the name, but it does rhyme with “Ak-winnah”) their was an appalling attempt to conceal the facts.
    I wrote a Letter to the Editor congratulating them on their courageous reporting.
    Getting the facts to the citizens was made very hard by attempts to conceal.
    But I don’t think many people believe the public interest is served in training for an improbable scenario, when the greatest threat to public order comes from within the ranks of law enforcement

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