By Alex Bunten | The Charlotte News
If you were driving down Ferry Rd. on Feb. 4, you wouldn’t have been blamed for thinking that a Waco-esque moment was happening in West Charlotte. Thirteen state police vehicles, a large van and a few unmarked cars scattered the lawn in front of the old Waldorf School. At one point about a dozen officers dressed in full camouflage, dangling equipment across their chest and thighs, carrying what looked like full assault rifles could be seen standing outside the building.
Thankfully, the children of the Waldorf School were safe in their new location in Shelburne and the visit from the Vermont State Police Tactical Services Unit was only a training exercise. The officer on the scene said that “the entire tactical team” was there and that they had run trainings in that building previously.
Charlotte resident Gregg Beldock, whose company, Bullrock Corporation, recently purchased the old Waldorf School to build a large solar installation, was unavailable for comment.
According to the Vermont State Police website, the Tactical Services Unit responds to situations such as “armed barricaded suspects, suicidal persons, hostage situations, high-risk warrant service, manhunt situations, active shooter situations and executive (VIP) security, as well as other incidents in which the lives and safety of the public are in danger.”
It’s trainings like these which make the TSU ready for most anything. Recently, their mettle was tested while chasing Richard Matt and David Sweat, two convicted killers who had escaped from a maximum security prison in New York. They were deployed for a week, working 24-hours a day, hacking through the Adirondack forest and checking summer camps for signs of the escapees.
Governor Shumlin later praised the unit for their role in Matt and Sweat’s eventual capture.
Will we see the TSU back in Charlotte soon? Hopefully, only for another training.