Tom Miller, right, commander of AMVETS Post 7 in Harrisonburg, talks with Capt. Tom Hoover, left, of the Harrisonburg Police Department, after giving him a donation of $3,000. The money will be used for training HPD’s SWAT team.

HARRISONBURG — For many government agencies, finding money for training can be tough, especially in tight budget years.

So, when the local AMVETS Post 7 offered to pay for an upcoming trip for the Harrisonburg Police Department’s SWAT team, officers wasted no time accepting the donation.

“We like to be friendly,” said Tom Miller, commander of the local AMVETS post. “Our main goal is to give money to our veterans and to our community. It’s a great cause, and we’re here to help.”

On Monday, post members donated $3,000 to the Harrisonburg Police Foundation, which will foot the bill for the SWAT team’s trip to a conference in Orlando in November.

Capt. Tom Hoover, who oversees the SWAT team, said the conference includes training sessions and a SWAT competition.

“We’re always looking to learn,” he said.

He said topics typically range from active shooters to less-lethal weapons.

Each year, the Orlando Police Department hosts speakers from large-scale events.

In the past, Hoover said, officers talked about the police department’s response to the Pulse nightclub shooting.

In June 2016, a gunman killed 49 people at the club.

“It’s good to learn from other people’s mistakes and successes,” he said.

HPD plans to host its own SWAT conference on Thursday and Friday at the Harper-Presgraves Training Facility on Greendale Road in Harrisonburg.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6267 or Follow Pete on Twitter @pdeleaDNR

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