Fort McCoy News April 8, 2016

State Patrol cadets build tactical skills at CACTF

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Utilizing every floor of the "hotel" and another building at Fort McCoy's Combined Arms Collective Training Facility (CACTF) on South Post, dozens of cadets with the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy's (WSPA) newest cadet class completed tactical response training in late March.

"This training includes building- and room-clearing tactics as well as formations to complete the clearing procedures," said Trooper Jason Bakken, WSPA instructor. "(Tactical response) is part of Wisconsin's Department of Justice law-enforcement curriculum the cadets are required to learn to become a Wisconsin state trooper."

Photo: Wisconsin State Patrol Academy cadets practice tactics for room and building clearing at the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility on Fort McCoy’s South Post.
Wisconsin State Patrol Academy cadets practice tactics for room and
building clearing at the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility on Fort
McCoy's South Post.

Cadets were paired as they practiced the tactics in a spacious building that simulates a hotel at an overseas location. They took turns sweeping through sections of the building using imitation plastic weapons, clearing hallways, stairs, doorways, and rooms. Instructors observed and provided guidance.

"This kind of training is paramount for them to learn," Bakken said. By having this kind of training, a lot of officer injuries and fatalities are prevented within the line of duty. "It comes down to the kind of tactics they learned here — these tactics help protect officer lives, whether it's using those tactics on clearing a building or during a traffic stop."

Tactical response training is part of the second of three phases of curriculum the 38 WSPA cadets will experience in their more than 25 weeks of training. Cadets also will train in firearms proficiency, vehicle contacts, emergency-vehicle operation, police pursuits, communication skills, ethics, crash investigations, criminal and traffic law, and emergency lifesaving techniques.

Sgt. Pat Kraetke, also a WSPA instructor, said they also taught cadets tactics related to exterior security at a scene.

"We taught them about bounding overwatch and to set up a perimeter either around a building or around a vehicle," Kraetke said.

Bounding overwatch is defined as a tactic of alternating the movement of coordinated units to allow, if necessary, suppressive fire in support of an offensive forward movement or defensive disengagement. "We teach it so they have multiple options," Kraetke said.

The CACTF is part of the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security and includes dozens of "brick-and-mortar" buildings and numerous ranges. CACTF Manager Matthew Schwark with Advanced Systems Technology said the facility is a perfect venue for the WSPA to complete its training.

Photo: Trooper Kris Perales (right), a Wisconsin State Patrol Academy instructor, provides guidance to cadets during training.
Trooper Kris Perales (right), a Wisconsin State Patrol Academy instructor,
provides guidance to cadets during training.

"The CACTF provides a wide variety of training environments and has a capability to give detailed after-action reviews for those people who train here," Schwark said. "For the State Patrol cadets especially, the multiple buildings we have give them the space needed to complete multiple scenarios and to receive the video coverage of their training to provide instant feedback."

Schwark said they have a great working relationship with WSPA coordinators.

"We have a great rapport with them because we see them all the time," Schwark said. "It's a seamless relationship where we can have things ready for them, and they know what our capabilities are and how those capabilities fit into their training."

Bakken said he likes to see each cadet's skills continue to grow through training like the tactics sessions held at the CACTF.

"As a class, they get better," Bakken said. "Their skills become better and they become more tactically mindful. We teach them tactics that are almost an awakening for them. They go from a (civilian) view at the beginning to a much more law-enforcement state of mind as they progress through the training. They are learning that there are different ways something can operate."

The current class of cadets will complete training in July, and a new class will begin in October. The WSPA has been a tenant activity located at Fort McCoy since 1955.

For more information about the WSPA, call 844-847-1234, option 4, or go online to https://wisconsindot.csod.com/default.aspx?c=wspa2. For more information about Fort McCoy training opportunities, call the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Training Division at 608-388-5038.