MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- The FBI and local law enforcement agencies are alerting residents in the Charter Colony neighborhood of a drill taking place Thursday that is designed to look very realistic. The FBI has been training officers from 18 local agencies on how to respond quickly and effectively if a child is abducted.
The drill will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in residential areas of Charter Colony north of Highway 288. Residents can expect to see a heavy police presence and a lot of activity.
"It's not so much that we're going to be disrupting people's community, but they're going to see a lot of movement, a lot of activity, because we want to make this as real as possible," said Dan Kelly Interim Chief of Police for Chesterfield County.
FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Richmond Field Office Adam Lee said the drill is designed to feel like organized "chaos" to put the officers in realistic and stressful situations.
The Joint-Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (J-CARD) training involves officers from 18 local law enforcement agencies. The officers have received classroom instruction from FBI agents on how to quickly and effectively deploy resources in the critical early moments of a child abduction. Following the capstone drill Thursday, the group will be the first unit in the state trained to deploy immediately after a child is abducted, according to officials.
"One thing that I think is interesting about the training is there's no dimension of the training that isn't something that the FBI seen somewhere across the nation in these types of cases. So it's real world training," Special Agent Lee said. "Putting [the officers] in a real neighborhood with role players and stressing them the way we are going to stress them is a way to drive home the lessons."
" We know this is something our community needs for public safety because everything doesn't stay within one jurisdiction. So we all have to be on the same page," Kelly said.
"The ultimate goal is one team, one goal. And that one goal is to bring that child back alive," said John Keohane, Chief of Police in Hopewell.
Officials said they have warned residents, businesses, and schools in the immediate area of the drill well in advance. In order to make the training as realistic as possible, a group of theater students from Midlothian High School will participate as role playing characters.