Police training expert; serving warrant can be particularly dangerous for police

An inside look at a metro Atlanta police training center and the dangers officers face
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 5:02 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Metro Atlanta Police officers and sheriff’s deputies are mourning two brothers in blue, shot and killed while carrying out everyday police work, the serving of a warrant.

But members of the law enforcement community say police work is never typical.

U.S. Marshals Fugitive Investigator Frank Lempka gave CBS46 a tour of their task force training facility in Atlanta. Inside they’ve assembled a large structure that looks and feels like a typical house, apartment building, or hotel room. There’s a living room, kitchen, and bedroom – all places a bad guy can hide.

“We call it the shoot house because we shoot simulation guns,” said Frank Lempko. “We put a bad guy in the house, with one of the guns also so we go in and try to catch them and try to, just like we do on any case, we try to make it so that they’re cornered and they’ll give up peacefully.”

Typically, officers assigned to the fugitive task do their training there, but officers in local police departments across metro Atlanta also use the training center to hone their skills.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Fatal shooting of 2 Cobb County Sheriff’s Office deputies | What we know

Cobb County deputies Jonathan Randall Koleski and Marshall Samuel Ervin Jr. were attempting to serve a warrant Thursday. Lempka says that can be particularly dangerous for police.

“Some of the more what we would call less serious cases are still very serious to the suspects because they still don’t want to go to jail,” said Lempko.

While life as an officer is unpredictable, former Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant who spent 34 years in law enforcement, says an officer and their family still expect that they’ll be home from work that night.

“There are plans for tomorrow, there are plans for the day after,” said former Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant. “Last night was tragic, a very tragic situation which really pulls at the heart of law enforcement, not just in Atlanta, not in Cobb County, but throughout our nation.”

Chief Bryant says he’s been getting phones from police agencies from all over the country. Many of those departments will likely send representation when Cobb County lays to rest their fallen deputies in the coming weeks.