MARCO ISLAND, Fla.- Collier County SWAT team members swarmed an upscale waterfront home on Marco Island Wednesday afternoon to simulate a real standoff.
"If you're teaching over Power Point or diagrams, it doesn't have the same effect. It's not a visual effect, where you can actually move and face obstacles," SWAT Sgt. Osmany Pantoja said Wednesday.
SWAT team members reenacted a dangerous scenario at the Richards Court home. The exercise replicated entering a home on a search warrant. Team members used real Glock and M-16's with converted barrels that shoot paint ball bullets.
"It kind of inoculates you against the fear of getting shot," Pantoja said.
The waterfront home's elaborate layout makes it an ideal training ground. The house will soon be torn down, but it once sold for $1.3 million dollars.
Aside from signs warning of the exercise, neighbors got a notice to not be surprised by loud noises or even explosions coming from inside the home.
"It was an unexpected notice to get. I didn't know what to think about what was happening. It seemed a little unusual for it to happen in our neighborhood," neighbor Ann Taylor said Wednesday.
Collier County SWAT works hand-in-hand with realtors and demolition companies to gain access to vacant homes before they're leveled. Sgt. Pantoja says it helps them gain real-time practice for some of the most dangerous possibilities.
"We're going to make it as close as possible to reenact the possibility on a similar home," Pantoja said.
SWAT team members will continue their training at the home on Friday.