DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News got a close-up look at a diversionary device used by police all across the country. The device is just like the one that severely hurt a 19-month-old toddler during a SWAT raid last week in Habersham County.
Bounkham Phonesavanh is at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. He was injured last week when a Habersham SWAT team threw a flash-band grenade into the home. The device landed in the toddler’s crib.
The Habersham County Sheriff’s Office maintains it had no idea children were inside the home.
As GBI probes the case, Channel 2’s Ryan Young learned more about the training and tactics used when that action is taken. A DeKalb County SWAT team took him step-by-step at an outdoor range.
“A flash-sound diversionary device does exactly what this says. It gives you a flash. It gives you a sound and it diverts the attention of the bad guy,” said DeKalb County Police Sgt. Theodore Golden.
The operator looks, takes a small step in. You want to look and make sure there are no objects; No person’s in the way and then you’ll take a step back. At this point, you’re set,” said Golden.
But there are times the officers may not deploy the device.
The only time that you would not deploy it is once you step in and see an obstruction that would hinder your operational tactics. At that point, you’d throw it away to a safe zone,” said Golden.
Young said you can feel the pressure from the device more than 15 feet away.
SWAT teams practice over and over entering a house or a building.
“We set up out here on an outdoor range so we can practice using our diversionary devices,” said DeKalb County Police Lt. Lonnie Robertson.
There’s no 100 percent way to do a dangerous job, but you have to do your due diligence and make sure we’re as safe as possible,” said Golden.