Criminal Justice News

Friday, January 24, 2014

Anchorage Airport Police train at JBER shoot house

by Tech. Sgt. Raymond Mills
JBER Public Affairs

1/23/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Ten law enforcement officers from Ted Stevens International Airport conducted active shooter training at the modular armed tactical combat house, commonly referred to as the shoot house, on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Jan. 7 in an effort to hone tactical skills critical to first responders in emergency situations.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, an active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. Recent active shooter incidents around the nation have underscored the need for a coordinated response by law enforcement and other agencies to save lives.

"Today's training is to have officers work together to shoot, move and communicate," said Airport Officer Dan Juarez, also a Marine Reservist. "We are not trying to build a community emergency response team or anything, but throughout the country we have had situations involving active shooters, whether it be at schools or international airports. So we want the officers to be prepared, because a lot of times that patrol officer is going to be the first on scene and needs to be able to react accordingly, Juarez said."

Realistic training and preparedness are critical when responding to active shooter simulations.

"JBER offers a lot of great facilities to train on and the instrumented shoot house is one of them," Juarez said. "It has cameras in addition to sound to add to the realism."

The shoot house is equipped to give the trainees ambient noises and real-world stressors, such as screaming and sounds of panic, to prepare them for the chaotic environment they may encounter.

"Before conducting training, we completed several dry fire runs, which is handling the weapon without live ammunition," said Airport Police and Fire Department, Officer Lt. Harry Crippen. "We practice dry fire because presentation of the firearm and trigger control are important parts that can be practiced without ammunition and not at a range."

By executing dry runs, the teams could safely move through the shoot house while learning the appropriate tactics, techniques and procedures without risking accidents before progressing to live ammunition.

The trainees brought their own issued weapons to the facility rather than using practice weapons.

"The shoot house training with real guns and live ammo is invaluable," Crippen said. "It better prepares us to respond by using the weapons we'll actually use in a real response."

This training opportunity allowed JBER and the Anchorage International Airport Police and Fire Departments to strengthen the existing partnership.

"We appreciate everybody at JBER, the military folks and civilian contractors at range control," Crippen said. "We also appreciate everybody's help with facilitating this training and we appreciate our warfighters out there protecting us and keeping us safe so that we can do the same for them on the home front."

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