As Americans, we enjoy large public venues such as concerts, sports and political events presented at arenas and stadiums all over this country. We go to watch our kids or professionals play sports, musicians perform and even monster trucks roar and jump—accompanied by hundreds or thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of fellow spectators.
Who provides the protection if someone in the crowd decides to go berserk, fulfill a violent plan or enact a terrorist plot? Without any fanfare and generally unseen, a lot of venues have law enforcement over-watch already setup to ensure that this does not occur. Precision law enforcement special operation shooters are deployed with the ability to observe and, if necessary, intervene to stop the threat from their final firing positions (FFP).
That is if they have taken the time to pre-plan, pre-deploy and train for the unique situation of high-angle precision fire in response to an immediate deadly threat in a crowded environment. The “Police Sniper Response to a Public Venue” course sponsored by the Texas Tactical Police Officer Association (TTPOA) provides the country’s best police precision rifle shooters—the cream of the SWAT sniper crop—the training and practice to achieve this level of ballistic competency.
The four-day course begins by ensuring that both the weapons and shooters are capable of delivering precision shots at any range. The students also visit local venues to learn what to look for and seek out when establishing an FFP. The class quickly realizes the complexity and difficulty in operating in large arenas like Cowboys Stadium and why physical fitness for a sniper is essential. Classroom time is provided to teach the theory, equipment and practical applications of delivering accurate, high-angle fire.
The course includes plenty of live-fire exercises and drills that force each shooter to engage targets within the Cotton Bowl. Students are required to demonstrate their ability to accurately engage threats (MGM bullet traps set at various places within the stadium) using their own rifles and duty ammo. Sometimes the drills have the students respond as a pre-positioned team or as part of a response to an event. The drills include deployment from an armored vehicle and helicopter as well as movement from the ground floor to different levels of the stadium to make immediate and accurate shots while receiving intel from communications during the run.
It wasn’t easy, but the students were in unanimous agreement that what they learned will be directly applied to make their own public venues safer. This unique and informative course can help every local special response team ask the right questions, obtain the right gear and contact their local arenas to coordinate additional safety for people gathered there. The real payback is that the information learned will provide real deterrence to acts of violence by bad guys seeking an easy or soft target who now know that guardian angels might be keeping watch behind the lights. Look for a full write up of this unique and timely course in an upcoming issue of Guns & Weapons of Law Enforcement. For more information, visit ttpoa.org.
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