by Staff Sgt. Susan L. Davis
319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
9/8/2015 - GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Nearly
two dozen law enforcement officers from various agencies across the
region came together here during the first week of September 2015 for
some classroom and hands-on training dealing with active shooter
The training was led by officials from the U.S. Customs and Border
Protection Advanced Training Facility in Harpers Ferry, W. Virginia.,
and was designed for students to enhance their existing knowledge and
skills in order to share them with their own respective organizations.
The training is derived from the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response
Training Center at Texas State University. The center was created in
2002 as a partnership between the university, the San Marcos Police
Department and the Hays County Sherriff's Office to address the need for
active shooter response training for first responders.
"This whole week has been full of really great training," said Ben
Deckert, East Grand Forks Police Department. "The instructors have done
really well imparting all this knowledge that they've shared with us.
They really know their stuff."
Deckert said the training gave him a valuable opportunity to work
together with other members of law enforcement that may otherwise be
hard to come by.
"Interagency cooperation is such a big deal," he said. "The more we work
together, the better we can figure out where our strengths are and hone
those and the better we can identify where we need improvement and come
up with ways to streamline."
The instructors had their own positive feedback about the progress of the course.
"One of our biggest goals in conducting this week-long training is to
take law enforcement officers from diverse backgrounds and spheres of
experience and put them in dynamic, close-quarters situations and watch
them tackle problems by applying the instruction we've offered them to
practical, realistic situations," said Russell Church, supervisory
border patrol agent at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Use of
Force Center of Excellence. Church also served as a course developer and
instructor for the training.
"What these guys also may not realize is that we are learning just as
much from them as they are from us," he said. "With the export training
offered by our mobile training teams, we get to go out on location and
see these officers at work in their own familiar surroundings. We get to
see the interoperability of state, local, tribal, military and many
other types of law enforcement agencies and see how they fit together
and work together."
Staff Sgt. Cody Crunelle, 319th Security Forces Squadron trainer, agreed.
"These scenarios are all about controlled chaos and fostering closer
relationships between different law enforcement agencies," he said. "The
goal is to inflict as much stress as possible in a safe environment.
That way, if there are mistakes made, it won't cost any lives as a
result, and it serves as a great learning opportunity and confidence
booster for next time."
Not only that, but setting up scenarios with hostages, non-combatant
casualties and other innocents are a great way to force players to be
more cautious with their reactions and more judicious with their use of
force, he said.
"The more different kinds of people you can throw into a scenario, the
more it forces them to be selective about how they respond," said
Church and the other instructors expressed their gratitude to the 319th
SFS and Grand Forks Air Force Base for their support and hospitality, as
well as Grand Forks Public Schools for accommodating the training group
with the use of the currently unused Carl Ben Eielson Elementary
School, which was shut down in 2014.
"This whole experience for everyone has been phenomenal I think," he
said. "The Air Force has bent over backwards to help us make this
training a success, and we would really like to extend our thanks to
everyone who helped make this a reality. We want to show that cops have a
vested interest in protecting and serving our communities, and this is
one way we can effectively do that."