MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
It splashed across Web sites and cable television news channels as it was unfolding before the eyes of Americans. One of their own was walking through Fort Hood, Texas, randomly targeting soldiers or anyone else who got in his sights.
The incident, referred to as the ‘Fort Hood shooting,’ has altered the way police engage an active shooter on an installation.
Marine Corps officials have decided to be proactive against preventing and responding to an active shooter on its installations, and in doing so has sent the first mobile training teams to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
“We decided to take a two-day package that is taught at the Marine Corps Police Academy, and push it out with mobile training teams to various installations to continue the training,” said Maceo Franks, executive director, Marine Corps Police Department Academy located at Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, D.C. “For some of these officers this is a new skill. If they recently went through our academy they would have received an active shooter package. Some of the police officers here came on when Albany had its own police department, so some did not have active shooter training.”
Part of the two-day training involved numerous scenarios including realistic weapons and chaos. Initially, the police learned tactics by walking through using a “crawl, walk, run” method to learn proper positioning techniques.
As they progressed through the training, it became more and more involved as police ran through live-fire scenarios using air-soft simulated munitions to help them learn and react if they are being fired upon.
“This type of training prepares the officers for real-life scenarios,” said Sgt. Samuel Edwards, police officer, MCPD, MCLB Albany. “Having the realistic hands-on training helps all the officers learn what to do in situations like this if it ever occurs. What (I’ve) learned in the past with an active shooter was to wait for a Special Reaction Team or SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics Team) to take out the shooter. But this allows us to go in and eliminate the threat without having to wait. It is quick response to the incident.”
Franks said the training his team provides is very progressive, and it teaches police how to work in two-, three- and four-man teams that can react quickly to an incident.
“Nine times out of 10, by the time a SWAT team arrives on scene, the incident is over or turned into a barricaded subject,” said Capt. Mike Reynolds, operations officer, MCPD, MCLB Albany.
Reynolds said the MCPD here has trained for an active shooter a few times in the past, even before the Fort Hood shooting occurred.
“Our police department is training for any type of incident that could effect the Marine and civilian populations of the installation,” he said. “Our population on base needs to be the eyes and ears. If (anyone notices) a problem or potential issue, they should let us know so we can be proactive instead of reactive to prevent any type of serious incident.”