As our nation works its way through tough economic times and the global threat of international and domestic terrorism concurrently grows, it is crucial for first responders to find creative ways to continue training. Typically in the law enforcement community when budget cuts come, training is one of the first areas to have its funds reduced.

ranges3However, the high expectations on law enforcement and many of its specialized units to perform will not lessen along with these budget cuts. In fact, one of the systemic effects of an economic downturn is a proportionate increase in crime. While crime increases and the threat from terrorism increases, the question is still asked of our first-line responders, “What more can you do?”

Answers Please
Good tactical operators always seek to find successful solutions to whatever situations they are in. This problem is no different, and the author offers the following solution: Cross Pollination or Strategic Partnerships. This concept involves finding people who need to train but have certain limitations. For example, recently the author was able to bring several groups of law enforcement and military personnel together in a way that benefited each, not only from their experiences but also from the knowledge that each brought to the table.

The Challenges.
Law enforcement, from the municipal agencies all the way to the federal levels, is always looking for training locations, specifically those groups in the special operations community. The ability to find available facilities that have the necessary capabilities to train is difficult as well as expensive. The military, including National Guard, Reserves, active duty and Special Operations, are all pushing to get training time at these facilities.

ranges4Bring several parties together to provide training and facilities where everyone benefits. Using this concept, the author was able to bring a group of municipal, county, and federal Special Operations officers to a military base along with a National Guard unit where they could all work together. How did we do it? The answer is simple. Many military bases allow law enforcement to utilize their bases, including their ranges. The main issue is how to schedule time on those ranges. As many military units are deploying, those units receive priority for scheduling range time, and rightfully so. Since many of these military units provide LE-type missions, who better to support them then law enforcement—and law enforcement agencies need to have training that can only be provided at a military base. For example, in this case the agencies needed to shoot big-bore rifles at long ranges. Recently, this action has been limited to military ranges because many private ranges have been shut down or are not available due to cost.

The author was able to bring the above mentioned parties together and facilitate their training. Keep in mind that although the missions and operating procedures of the participants were different, the basics were the same.

Strategic Partnerships
The training provided during this event was in the use of .50 caliber rifles. The commonality was in the skill sets in which they trained: safety, marksmanship, teamwork, communications, equipment, and legal issues. Understanding deadly use of force is an area not localized to law enforcement but is also vital to military units.

instructor31The ability for law enforcement to work with military and vice versa is something that has been practiced over the years but seldom discussed. The concern of the military being involved in law enforcement or law enforcement involved in the military is one that is unfounded. The military and law enforcement communities are both very clear on their jurisdictions and the boundaries they can or cannot cross. Both law enforcement and the military are discovering that their missions may be different, as well as the laws that govern them, but all parties are held to high legal standards, and they all understand that such topics as positive target identification, justification, and excessive use of force are as important as basic marksmanship. This understanding can enable law enforcement and the military to find common ground for joint training.

Any instructor realizes that course content is always a big concern, especially with professionals for students. The ability of these professionals to cross over as students and work as teams and coaches for one another can, however, create a positive outcome.

As a result of this type of training, a group of law enforcement officers and National Guardsman were able to learn, practice, and understand some very complicated skill sets. They were able to do this by using a basic American concept—Cooperation. As American citizens we are capable of supporting one another and learning from one another. The only limits are those we impose upon ourselves.

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