Actors Play Terrorists to Test Courthouse Security

March 21 2005, 2:11 PM

Arapahoe County is taking security testing to a new level. Here was the scene at the courthouse yesterday:

Actors pretending to be terrorists and carrying plastic guns had taken the Arapahoe County Courthouse hostage Sunday, setting off bombs and shooting hostages.... Sunday's exercise involved about 400 people, including a group of actors playing terrorists, volunteers as hostages, and emergency workers and police from 11 surrounding agencies. It began at 8 a.m. with a car exploding outside the courthouse, which was then stormed by terrorists. Bombs were planted. Volunteers in a jury room and Judge Juanita Rice's courtroom were taken hostage. Then a truck carrying weapons of mass destruction was discovered.

The Arapahoe County courthouse was the site of two shootings in the 80's. This kind of preventive testing is good. It cost $30,000., but most of the funds were made available through a federal homeland security grant.