Author Topic: Military helicopters to keep flying over Denver for terrorism training  (Read 2135 times)

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Military helicopters to keep flying over Denver for terrorism training

DENVER Helicopters with U.S. Special Operations Command continued to fly low over downtown Denver on Tuesday night on the second of five consecutive training nights.

"The training exercises are designed to improve special operations forces' abilities to work within populated areas," said Lt. Steve Ruh, U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman. "We're doing some urban realistic training."

Dozens of 9NEWS viewers reported seeing low-flying helicopters flying in and around downtown buildings Monday night. Viewers again saw them on Tuesday night. The training will continue through Friday night.

"Their doors were open and people were hanging out and appeared to be looking down," said downtown resident John Daley.

"It was eerie. You had a sense something was up," said Daley. "It was a bit unsettling."

Ruh said the training is related to the continued fight against terrorism, but he declined to give any specifics.

"Due to security concerns we are unable to discuss specific details or locations or particular information about the individuals participating in the exercise," said Ruh. "Our training is in preparation for the global war on terrorism, so we go to these different cities across the United States, we work with the civil authorities there."

He did say the Denver Police Department SWAT team and members of the Denver Fire Department were on hand for the training.

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"This gives us a realistic training scenario and allows us on sites we are not familiar with," he said. "I don't look at a city particularly and say, 'That could be the next city that's going to have a terror hit.'"

The training is not connected to the Democratic National Convention and no specific threats led the team to come to Denver, according to Ruh. The DNC Convention in Denver kicks off in late August.

He said U.S. Special Operations forces have trained previously in Boston, New York City, Los Angeles and Boston.

Denver is the only city where U.S. Special Operations forces are training at this time.

Many downtown residents said the training concerned them because they received no warning.

"This is very safe training," said Ruh who said the Denver Police Department has been securing each training site to ensure public safety and maintain a safe training area. "We are here to ensure that we fight terrorism on foreign soil and not in our own country."

"The techniques they're using here will be applied abroad," said Ruh.

He asked the public not to come downtown specifically to view the training and added that residents, business owners or customers should not feel the need to leave the area during training.