Charlotte County law enforcement runs through prison break scenario

Reporter: Kristin Sanchez
Published: Updated:

PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- Law enforcement officials practiced two different scenarios on Friday to prepare for a suspect on the run in Charlotte County.

The Punta Gorda Police Department ran through a scenario of having an injured officer and arresting the suspect responsible. Officers used a gun filled with blanks so they could fire as if the situation unfolding was real.

“The good thing about this is, although it’s a training weapon, it fits into the everyday officers real equipment so pulling the gun, putting it back into holster things like that is very realistic,” said Punta Gorda Police Chief Thomas Lewis.

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Charlotte Correctional Institution and several other agencies also practiced a prison break.

“Eight inmates escaped from the institution this morning around 7 o’clock,” explained Lee Coel with the Punta Gorda Police K-9 Unit.

An officer played the role of an escaped convict, the drill even included a getaway car and evidence.

“The suspects are thought to have fled somewhere in the area of Punta Gorda or the Charlotte County jurisdiction around here,” said Coel.

The fake prisoners made their way through Punta Gorda streets while dogs tracked down their smells.

“We’re all essentially trying to get the experience of tracking for missing inmates that someday, should a live scenario happen where several inmates escape, we’re prepared for the worst possible scenarios,” said Coel.

The Punta Gorda police chief says residents should know local law enforcement is prepared for the worst.

“Their tax dollars need to be well-spent. If a situation happens, they need to feel comfortable that we are trained enough to handle it,” said Lewis.

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