BARSTOW, Calif. - The Marine Corps Police Department on Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., conducted active shooter training at the base emergency services’ training facility, April 9.
The purpose of the training was to develop and hone MCPD officers’ ability to properly respond to an active shooter incident.
An active shooter incident is where one or more shooters are looking to harm as many people as possible, explained Tom Streeter, lead training instructor for MCLB Barstow’s MCPD. The 2009 and recent shootings at Fort Hood are examples of an active shooter incident.
Due to the variables that can be involved in an active shooter incident, the training ran two different scenarios, said Streeter. As a force-on-force exercise, officers rotated between being the good guys, bad guys, and innocent bystanders if the scenario called for them.
The first scenario simulated a disgruntled war veteran opening fire on a medical clinic for not having his medication and the second simulated four trained gunmen attempting to ambush and kill law enforcement officers, explained Streeter.
The officers have to apply their tactical knowledge in room entry and clearing, threat identification and neutralization, and communication skills with each other and dispatch over the radio, Streeter added. For added realism, the training used simunition rounds, non-lethal training rounds that work similarly to paintballs that allow the officers in training to know if they have been hit and evaluators if the hit would have been lethal.
“A lot of tactical units like SWAT or SEAL teams train like this on a daily basis with each other,” explained Streeter. “These officers (here) don’t get this opportunity. A lot of them individually know how to clear a room, make entry, and be tactical, but it’s the working together and coordinating that we are constantly trying to hone and develop …”
Evaluators were looking for basic fundamentals of tactics such as clearing angles properly, communicating with each other and identifying threats, Streeter further explained. Most importantly, they were making sure the officers were communicating all this information to dispatch.
“Not only do they have to coordinate amongst themselves, they have to coordinate with responding units, dispatch, outside agencies like California Highway Patrol and San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, higher echelon commands, public works, and the fire department,” He added. “We try and incorporate all that (in the training) so they are thinking outside their own little tactical world. They have to neutralize the threat, but they also have to direct the traffic of everything else coming in as well.”
Overall, the training was very beneficial to the officers, said Lonnie Marney, MCPD officer and range safety officer during the exercise.
“It (the training) shows our weaknesses and strengths,” Marney said. “With recent active shooters this is one area of training we can’t lack on. It’s important to us and the department that the community can put their full trust in us.
“There is no such thing as too little training, and sustainment training like this the is biggest part of being prepared (for any situation),” Marney concluded.