Kentucky Air Guard security forces train with Louisville Metro Police

Story by Master Sgt. Phil Speck, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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Staff Sgt. Joseph Howell (right), a combat arms trainer for the 123rd Security Forces Squadron, and Senior Airman Charles Henderson, a security forces fire team member, clear a stairwell at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., as a Louisville Metropolitan Police Department SWAT Team member provides instruction during a joint training exercise Jan. 13, 2014. The training is designed to enhance cooperation and interoperability between the Air Guardsmen and civilian police officers. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Airmen from the 123rd Security Forces Squadron conducted bilateral training with members of the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team here Jan. 14, focusing on tactics, techniques and procedures used to defeat an attack by armed assailants.

More than 50 Louisville SWAT members divided into teams to train with the security forces Airmen, according to Tech. Sgt. Craig Davis, non-commissioned officer-in-charge of Combat Arms for the 123rd Security Forces Squadron. The officers and Airmen then worked together to stop a simulated gunman who was firing on base personnel as part of an “active-shooter” exercise.

After the exercise ended, the Airmen and officers covered additional training areas such as building approaches, room clearing and stairwell clearing.

Davis said the training was an excellent learning experience for both parties.

“LMPD really enjoyed their time out here,” he said. “They weren’t aware of our capabilities, but they walked away confident and with a better appreciation of them, knowing we can work together in potential emergencies in the future.”

Lt. Col. George Imorde, commander of the 123rd Security Forces Squadron, hopes to conduct more bilateral training in the future to strengthen the two units’ interoperability.

“Bilateral training is not something we get to do very often, but we need to do it to establish the relationship between military and civilian law enforcement elements,” he said. “Each unit gets to share their tactics, techniques and procedures. The real benefit is the relationship-building, because there are many emergency scenarios that might occur on military installations requiring a local law enforcement response.”

One such scenario would be a real-world active-shooter incident, during which the Louisville police department’s SWAT Team would integrate with Airmen from the 123rd Security Forces Squadron to secure the installation, he noted.

“Active shooters have been increasing throughout the country, and it seems like (these incidents are) more prevalent these days,” said Lt. Brent Routzahn, the Louisville police department’s SWAT Team commander. “We came out to show how we conduct business on our side and to be on the same page with the Air Guard, so if an incident ever did happen on the base, we would be on the same page regarding how we are going to operate and be familiar with each other.”

Imorde said such familiarity can pay big dividends.

“Now, (Louisville police department officers) have seen a footprint behind our gates that they’ve never seen before. They know what we look like, they know where our buildings are, they are familiar with our property, they know who we are, and they understand our capabilities,” he said. “That’s important.

“The feedback from our military personnel was that it was invaluable training, and something they don’t get every day,” Imorde added. “Airmen attend courses to become a military law enforcement officer, and sometimes that training gets far removed from real-world application. To get this additional insight and experience keeps our members refreshed on the latest tactics, techniques and procedures.”

Master Sgt. Greg Myers, operations superintendent for the 123rd Security Forces Squadron, said his Airmen now have more knowledge they can use to enhance base security.

“What we did in this training is why people join security forces, and why people stay in security forces,” he said. “We are stronger now, and our protection capabilities for the installation have grown tremendously. All the way from the entry teams to the command-and-control aspects, if anything were to happen, we know how we’re going to work with LMPD when their officers arrive and how we will proceed. It enhances the force protection of the installation immediately.”

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