Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputy Jake Carlson breaks through a wall Thursday during special weapons and tactics training at Colorado Mountain College’s Monson Hall.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputy Jake Carlson breaks through a wall Thursday during special weapons and tactics training at Colorado Mountain College’s Monson Hall.

Steamboat building slated for demolition a training ground for officers



Special weapons and tactics team members from agencies throughout Northwest Colorado attend training Thursday at Monson Hall on the Colorado Mountain College campus.

— Monson Hall is living its final hours serving the purpose it was built for.

Instead of being filled with those matriculating at Colorado Mountain College, the building was occupied Thursday by law enforcement officers who were smashing windows and breaking down doors for the purpose of education.

“It’s what we do in real missions,” said Dave Kleiber, Steamboat special weapons and tactics commander. “We don’t get that opportunity very often.”

About 50 officers from agencies across Northwest Colorado attended the training. The training continues today and was organized by the Steamboat Springs Police Department using grant money. Monson Hall is scheduled for demolition to make room for a new 60,000-square-foot building at the college. The college gave SWAT team members the opportunity to cause some damage to the building, which Kleiber called “an ideal training environment.”

“They were extremely helpful and supportive,” he said.

Thursday’s training was loud, dusty and potentially dangerous as officers busted through windows and shot out the hinges on doors using live rounds.

“It’s therapeutic,” Kleiber said.

The officers were armed with shotguns, axes, rams, flash bang grenades, rocks and tools with names such as door bangers, hooligan tools and quickie saws.

They were learning breaching techniques used to enter a building or room as quickly as possible, Kleiber said. Today the team plans to work on more advanced breaching techniques. An active shooter and hostage situation also is being staged.

The SWAT training was taught by instructors from Paladin Training including Rusty, who said he was in the U.S. Army for 15 years serving in different special operations. He did not want to give his last name because of the nature of his work.

Rusty said Monson Hall provided an ideal training environment because the students did not have to worry about damaging anything. Not having such a facility readily available is one of the biggest obstacles for training SWAT team members.

“The first time you break a piece of glass shouldn’t be when you’re serving a high-threat warrant on a crackhead,” Rusty said.


gettinold 4 years, 5 months ago

"The officers were armed with shotguns, axes, rams, flash bang grenades, rocks and tools with names such as door bangers, hooligan tools and quickie saws"

I get most of this but can someone tell me what the rocks are for, Are they special or do they pick them up on the way in?


sledneck 4 years, 5 months ago

They are special "Jack-Booted" rocks.

I thought warrants were served on SUSPECTS, not "crackheads". Isn't that for the judge or jury to decide?

Army training for law enforcement? I guess I understand it a little but it seems like a very slippery road from there to violating the Posse Comitatus law which strictly forbids the use of military for law enforcement. The violation of that act was one of the main gripes (legitimate gripes) Timothy Mcveigh had about what happened at Waco.

To celebrate the use of these tactics and weapons on American citizens is un-wise, no matter what they are accused of. I don't like it one bit.


rhys jones 4 years, 4 months ago

Boys will be boys, and some kids never grow up. They get us to pay for their fun.


OnTheBusGus 4 years, 4 months ago

Hey Sled, I think the Army training for law enforcement the trainer is talking about is the MOUT training or military operations in urban terrain. It's the military's new way of fighting since they had to change tactics for the new battlefield because we aren't fighting the cold war anymore. It was kind of fun when I was in the military, thankfully I never had to employ tactics for real.


sledneck 4 years, 4 months ago

Gus, I understand the desire to make police officers more efficient and skilled at surviving on the streets. I really do. And I sympathise with them. The problem with using military tactics and weapons on citizens is: 1. Military is supposed to break things and kill people; before or even instead of giving anyone a fair trial. Combatants are presumed guilty by their mere voluntary presence on the battle-field and therefore offer themselves up to be engaged. 2. Law enforcement is supposed to bring SUSPECTS into custody where they are to be given a fair trial BEFORE any punishment is meeted out; and they are supposed to always be presumed innocent till proven guilty in a court of law.

There is a big difference, conceptually, between the two situations.

Using the military on civillians is a violation of the Posse Comitatus act of 1878.

I have a lot of respect for the military and I come from a large military family. One of the most important things the military can have is the support of the people of the united States of America. Much damage can be done to that relationship by employing heavy handed tactics against its own citizens. It is a slippery slope we should not go down. We went down that road in Waco and it brought disasterous results.

Personally, I think a lot of why law enforcement feels the need for these tactics is that they are dealing with criminals who should already be behind bars or executed for prior offenses. It is the other end of the justice system (impotent courts) that is the problem , not only for cops but for innocent civilians.


gettinold 4 years, 4 months ago

I really do want to know what the rocks are for. Anyone know?


bandmama 4 years, 4 months ago

the rocks are in case the miss the crack heads with everything else, last resort......


sledneck 4 years, 4 months ago

When I was a kid, squirrel hunting in VA, we used small rocks. We would throw them across to the other side of the tree and the squirrel would hear the noise and scurry around the tree to get away from the sound. We would be waiting on the other side with a cocked rifle.

Maybe they are gonna fake the bad guys out of hiding by throwing their jack-booted rocks?


rhys jones 4 years, 4 months ago

The rocks are for the ones who can't handle firearms. So they won't hurt themselves.

That wouldn't be me. I was the best shot of all those qualifying that day, in Marine basic training, over 300 in all. I can hit a basketball every time, with an M-14 with open sights, from a half mile away. I'll cover you boys, in case the crackheads make it past you.


sledneck 4 years, 4 months ago

See what I mean about the military attitude seeping into law enforcement? The "crackheads" are not supposed to be shot from a half mile away (although I admit that sounds like a fun video game). They are American citizens who are supposed to be taken into custody ALIVE for a trial.

Remember, don't shoot the crackheads till AFTER their trial.


JJ Southard 4 years, 4 months ago

Best bunch of comments ever. Still laughing......

The rocks are what the cops use for brains, I think. At least they brought their brains along.


rhys jones 4 years, 4 months ago

I need to be a half mile away, lest the nasty fumes affect my aim. Phew!!


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