Approximately 70 members of the 133rd Engineer Company, Wyoming Army National Guard, began their November drill weekend a little differently, by being exposed to pepper spray. That began 20 hours of training for members of the Wyoming National Guard Response Force.
In addition to learning about the spray, or oleoresin capsicum, and its effects, they also became proficient with the expandable baton, learned use of force concepts and how to use Tasers effectively.
The training was conducted by members of the 153rd Security Forces Squadron, Wyoming Air National Guard, and the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy.
“The goal is to meet the NGRF requirement of having soldiers that are ready in the instance that we have to support law enforcement,” said Tech. Sgt. Chance Walkama, with the 153rd SFS and the NGRF training leader. “To do it the most effective way is to get those members training from the law enforcement academy that is going to be identical to the people they will be assisting if they are called upon.”
The NGRF is trained to deploy quickly and has six validated missions: site security; presence patrol (show of force); establishment of road blocks and check points; control of civil disturbance; weapons of mass destruction civil support team force protection and security (being able to operate in a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive environment); and assisting in protection of selected sites in support of a lead agency.
“This training is certified from (Peace Officers Standards and Training), put on by the academy, and basically certifies that these individuals can use the non-lethal OC which is oleoresin capsicum, baton and Taser,” said Walkama. “Then they’ll gain perspective in the use of force of that by having a four-hour use-of-force class. They are seeing, they are reacting the same way law enforcement will be versus in a deployment. This is going to give them the same street-wise perspective that would benefit law enforcement better.”
Jesse Curtis, basic program supervisor at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy, lead custody control instructor for the state of Wyoming, and one of the two use-of-force instructors in the state, taught the basic expandable baton portion of the training. He led the soldiers through a myriad of scenarios they could encounter if called upon as peace officers.
“They will have another set of options to control people who are resisting in a reasonable manner, using strikes, managing range, and using locking concepts, particularly when dealing with violent individuals, provided they continue training,” said Curtis.
When the training wrapped up Sunday afternoon, the soldiers received certificates of their 20 hours of law enforcement training and will be POST certified, provided they passed the hands-on training and a written test. And more than a few enjoyed the training and would be willing to participate again.
“I like this sort of stuff,” said Spc. Morgan Buckendorf, 133rd Engineer Company. “I’ve never done any stick fighting. I’ve done jujitsu and some MMA so some of the blocks, hand blocks, I knew but other than that, it’s all pretty new to me.”
And if Buckendorf is needed, Walkama is sure she’ll be ready.
“When called upon they’ll have the tools to be able to not only defend themselves but support their community in the best way possible, and be able to justify any use of force that they might have to use.”