It looks real and it's supposed to. But it's just a training exercise for future detention deputies at the Sedgwick County Jail.
The current eleven trainees aren't enough to fill all the vacancies at the jail so the Sheriff's Office is looking for more. They'll provide the training.
"Line ready?" calls the instructor, dressed in an orange Sedgwick County Jail jumpsuit, layered over heavy padding.
"Whoop!" respond the trainees as one.
"We try to make it replicant (sic) to what we've actually seen in our own facility," said Narciso Narvais, the Defensive Tactics Coordinator for the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office.
"Get back," orders the instructor.
"Get back! Get back! Get back!" shout back the recruits, stepping forward in lockstep with each shout.
Dressed in full riot gear, with trainers acting as the unruly inmates, the future detention deputies are getting a close-up look at what their future could hold.
"Okay, don't leave him back here by himself, guys," reminds the instructor as the trainees pass a 'rioting prisoner' back through the crowd of guards, "until she gets cuffed up."
It's a worst case scenario with inmates aggressively tackling guards.
"Okay, line back up," shouts the instructor after pulling one trainee out of the front line of guards, simulating a fallen guard. "Line back up!"
The prisoners, all instructors, are ignoring the single basic command the trainees are repeating over and over.
"Get back. Get back. Get back," they chant, slowly and clearly.
"The first time they've ever had a physical engagement shouldn't be in the facility itself," said Narvais. "We've had them through training. They've had some of that experience before. So when they do respond they know how to respond efficiently and appropriately."
It doesn't end there.
"Inmate Rowe," calls a trainer through a cell door. "This is Sergeant Anderson. I need you to remove the paper from your glass, please."
"Nope," shrugs the 'prisoner' inside.
The Sergeant turns to the trainees and says, "Okay guys, go in hard."
They rush into the cell, one behind the other, each in charge of tackling one limb, a leg here and an arm there, of the recalcitrant 'prisoner.'
They"re also learning about removing an unwilling inmate from his or her cell.
"Down to your knees," shouts one trainee.
"Down to your knees," the others repeat.
"(We) try to create the circumstances where the recruits go to gradually more and more forceful engagements," said Narvais about the escalating exercises. "More and more dangerous situations."
These trainees will move into active roles at the jail mid-February. They'll be a relief for the deputies already there who've been working mandatory overtime for awhile because of all the openings.
"'Cause we can't leave inmate housing units unmanned," said Capt. Jared Schechter with the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office. "So we've had to eat up a lot of overtime."
But, assuming everyone in this current class passes, they'll only account for a little less than half the current 23 openings.
That is an unusually high number of vacancies. Some of it is just timing. Several deputies have recently taken jobs with the Wichita Police and other places. Some of those positions are actually new. The jail is opening a new mental health pod next month for inmates with persistent mental illnesses. That created six new positions. While those new positions will go to senior guards, that means those guards will have to be replaced elsewhere in the jail.
Anyone interested in applying for the open detention deputy positions should go to hrepartners.com and look for the application.