Richmond police use Hacienda for training


After clearing the Hacienda complex of squatters, the Richmond Police Department made use of the building once deemed uninhabitable by conducting SWAT team training Thursday.

A resident told us police cleared out a number of squatters from the high-rise complex at 1300 Roosevelt Ave. on Thursday before conducting scenario-based training.

The building has been a magnet for squatters ever since all senior citizens who had lived there under the Richmond Housing Authority were mandated to relocate. City Council voted to relocate the residents last year, after squalid conditions in the building were documented by Reveal, an investigative news outlet.


Last week, police notified squatters publicly before clearing out the building, which still has, or at least recently had, running water and electricity.

Thursday’s training caused some initial alarm. A resident contacted us saying something “big” was going down at the Hacienda, only to respond minutes later to update us that it was only a training exercise.

“In fact, the training was so realistic that a few media sites sent out messages on Twitter and called to ask if there was a major incident at the location,” Lt. Felix Tan reported on Facebook. “Yes, signs were posted all over that it was a training event.”

Police called the training exercise productive, “with many lessons learned on how to improve communications and response strategies.”