How does the FBI’s mock crime town, Hogan’s Alley, help agents prepare for active shooter attacks?

New York – Rashad Alkhader – Homemad News – From – FBI

New agents participate in Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) in the new theater lobby at Hogan’s Alley at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

The most crime-ridden neighborhood in the country just got a little bigger.

Hogan’s Alley, a mock town of houses, storefronts, social halls, and hotel rooms where the FBI trains new agents in real-life scenarios, recently expanded by nearly 15,000 square feet to include a new nightclub and movie theater. The new spaces were part of a two-year renovation project that vastly expands the capacity and flexibility of the storied town on the grounds of the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

The additions of a new nightclub and movie theater to a tactical training landscape that already has a post office, bank, and hardware store reflects the increase over the years in active shooter events in large crowded spaces.

“The new space affords us more flexibility and versatility of training,” said Jacqueline Maguire, assistant director of the FBI’s Training Division. “We do as much as we can here to replicate the real world. We have a lot of on-the-job training when new agents get out to their field offices. But we need to set them up for success. And we do that by making our training realistic.”

Hogan’s Alley dates to 1987 when the crime town was officially established after several years of construction. New buildings included a bank, a motel, a jewelry shop, and a luncheonette. A faux façade of Chicago’s Biograph Theater—where FBI agents famously gunned down bank robber John Dillinger in 1934—adorned one of the buildings in Hogan’s Alley, but there was no actual theater.

Many of the original buildings still stand, including a billiard hall and post office, though they have been updated over the years to accommodate training needs. In the early 2000s, a handful of single-family homes were built adjacent to the mock town to enable still more training scenarios.

“We’ve got neighborhoods. We’ve got apartment buildings. We’ve got warehouses. We have stores,” said Supervisory Special Agent Zack Fisher, who works in the Tactical Training Unit, which runs most of the scenario-based training at Hogan’s Alley. He said the new spaces were built to be adaptable to multiple scenarios. Newly built corridors and rooms that adjoin the theater and nightclub can be modified to represent classrooms, hallways, and workplaces.

“It’s a very valuable training space because it touches so many programs,” Fisher said. “It opens up a variety of training opportunities that are much more information-rich and lifelike and it allows for more complex problem sets.”

While new agent classes may be the most frequent inhabitants of Hogan’s Alley, users also include FBI SWAT and Hostage Rescue Team personnel, as well as the special agents who protect the FBI Director and the United States attorney general. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office of Training is based in Quantico and trains its new DEA agents at Hogan’s Alley. The recent renovations added a doctor’s office, pharmacy, and new classroom space specifically for DEA’s unique training needs.

“These new venues in Hogan’s Alley will significantly benefit DEA’s efforts to provide preeminent law enforcement training by offering first-rate venues in which to conduct realistic scenarios,” said Michael Barbuti, special agent in charge of DEA’s Office of Training. “Hogan’s Alley has been a staple of the FBI Academy campus for decades, and it continues to play a crucial role in the training of hundreds of DEA personnel on an annual basis.”

The new Hogan’s Alley spaces opened in November and already are nearly fully scheduled. On any given day now, you might see new agents negotiating a hostage situation at the Dogwood Inn motel—while Hostage Rescue Team operators sweep through the movie theater as role players playing potential witnesses are interviewed in the theater lobby. Meanwhile, the DEA may be training downstairs, and the FBI’s Victim Services Division is two blocks away in the houses training victim specialists on how to properly conduct in-person death notifications.

“We get multiple entities using the venues at the same time, and it creates opportunities to have more realistic training without stepping on each other,” said Fisher of the Tactical Training Unit.

Still, a casual observer driving through Hogan’s Alley (not open to the public) might not notice anything unusual, even as training is underway. All the buildings are specially designed for training, with a warren of hidden passages and corridors for instructors, observers, and would-be criminals to navigate. Walls, which can be easily moved, are made of material that can withstand live-fire exercises with simulated bullets. Even the upholstery for the movie theater seats was designed to withstand repeated tactical assaults.

“From the outside, you don’t realize the versatility that the space gives us,” said Assistant Director Maguire. “The addition of real-world-based tactical venues provides our agents yet another opportunity for learning the skills necessary to protect the community.”

The term Hogan’s Alley dates back to a 19th century comic strip set in a crime-ridden New York tenement called Hogan’s Alley. In the 1950s, the FBI developed a Hogan’s Alley range that was essentially a 120-foot-long façade where targets would pop up and agents had to quickly determine whether to shoot or not. While less sophisticated than today’s techniques, the premise was largely the same: to put trainees in high-stress situations to prepare them for what may come.

“The more realistic and lifelike we can make these training venues, the better prepared our students are when they encounter the real world,” Fisher said. “We have to introduce information-rich, lifelike environments very early. Everything builds on everything else. And in the environment that we’re working in and with the consequences of the job, we have to give people complexity pretty quick.”

“The more realistic and lifelike we can make these training venues, the better prepared our students are when they encounter the real world.”

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