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    Oregon Guardsmen train with civil law enforcement on rapid response techniques

    Oregon Guardsman Train with Civil Law Enforcement on Riot Response Techniques

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Zachary Holden | Master Sgt. William Mayberry with the Oregon National Guard Reaction Force (NGRF), ...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Zachary Holden 

    115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    PORTLAND, Oregon - When disaster strikes and civil authorities are stretched thin, local governments have another resource for assistance. The National Guard Reaction Force (NGRF) is a specialized group of Army and Air National Guardsmen designed to reinforce state and U.S. territory agencies during natural disasters and civil unrest. The Oregon NGRF is made up of Oregon Army National Guard Soldiers from the 1186th Military Police Company and Oregon Air National Guard Airmen of the 142nd Security Forces Squadron (SFS), 142nd Fighter Wing, and the 173rd SFS, 173rd Fighter Wing.

    In the event that extra assistance is needed or anticipated, the Oregon NGRF can be activated to backfill the requesting agency. However, when these crisis situations occur, communication and cooperation between civil agencies and the National Guard need to be seamless. That’s why the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training facilitates an annual rapid response training event that allows multiple civil and military law enforcement agencies to train together and familiarize themselves with each other’s techniques and procedures.

    “If we’re unfamiliar with their tactics and procedures and they’re unfamiliar with how we operate, then it’s just going to create a lot of confusion on the line when they actually need us, and those are stressful moments where we don’t have time to figure it out,” said Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Rich, administrations superintendent with the 142nd SFS.

    Lieutenant Ryan Lee, Executive Officer, Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Unit, said there is tremendous value in having integrated training with civilian law enforcement and National Guard members.

    “Ensuring we are working with a common operating language and expectations is huge during an emergency of scope and scale significant enough to call upon the assets that the National Guard can bring to bear,” Lee said.

    The Oregon State Police (OSP) and the PPB primarily lead the training. Soldiers and Airmen of the Oregon NGRF, along with 15 other civil agencies from as far away as Miami-Dade County, Florida, participated in this year’s training event held April 3-6, 2018, at Camp Rilea, in Warrenton, Oregon.

    “We try and rotate people through it at least every three years to keep them up-to-date on the latest and greatest riot response training so that we can embed with the civilians a little bit better,” added Rich. “That way, when we go in, it’s not as much of a shock and it develops trust and rapport with civilian agencies.”

    The NGRF can respond to a wide variety of situations including event security, food supply protection, and crowd control. The group is designed to deliver an initial force of 75-125 personnel within eight hours of a request and an additional 375 personnel within 24 hours. With each state, territory, and the District of Columbia operating their own NGRF, creating one standard can be challenging.

    Rich expressed that one of his goals with the Oregon NGRF is to establish themselves as a “go to unit” for training standards.

    “If we’re able to establish this and become the national trendsetter for the Air National Guard and the Army National Guard, we can help train other units,” he said. “We can help field test the equipment; we can participate in joint national exercises and set a national standard.”

    Recently, the Oregon NGRF took a big step in reaching that goal. Rich said his team has been given more opportunity to step into leadership roles within the group, showing a higher level of trust between the agencies.

    “We haven’t had military [instructors] in this particular training, we’ve always been the students or administrative facilitator. This year, Tech. Sgt. Nate Page is the first military [instructor] to be accepted by [PPB] and OSP to help assist in the instruction and evaluation of students, and that’s a huge first step for us,” said Rich.

    Oregon Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Nathan Page, unit training manager with 142nd SFS, has been a liaison between the civil authorities and his NGRF unit for several years, ensuring both sides get connected to train successfully. He believes that his assignment as an instructor will help strengthen the relationship.

    “It makes it a different animal for them to have to work with people they’ve never worked with before,” said Page, adding that this training will make it “a lot easier for [us] to mesh with the civilian officers and help them out when they need it.”

    Lee added, “Having face-to-face connections and side-by-side training helps to alleviate uncertainty and discomfort. The time for us to get to know each other and what we each bring to the table is not in the middle of an emergency but before it. This program helps to span that gap and make the communities of our state safer for it.”

    The National Guard Reaction Force has unique capabilities and equipment to assist civil law enforcement in times of need. Additionally, as Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen, the Oregon NGRF service members are also members of the community where they serve, and have connections within the communities where they live.

    Rich emphasized that in times of major crisis the civil authorities take the lead, “We’re just here to assist until they can get back on both feet and take it themselves.”



    Date Taken: 04.05.2018
    Date Posted: 05.16.2018 15:54
    Story ID: 277267
    Location: PORTLAND, OR, US 

    Web Views: 329
    Downloads: 1