Fort McCoy News Dec. 8, 2017

State patrol cadets build skills in DAAT,

weapons marksmanship at McCoy

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Repeated drills and constant reminders to keep their eye on target were just a couple of actions the instructors at the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy put 40 cadets through during their eighth week of training at Fort McCoy in mid-November.

The Wisconsin State Patrol Academy, or WSPA, cadets were training in defense and arrest tactics (DAAT) as well as firearms familiarization and marksmanship. The training is part of the second of three phases for the cadets, who started their training Sept. 25 and will finish March 30.

Cadets complete 1,064 hours of training over 26 weeks, said Sgt. John Heffernan, academy program director. "All of the phases are important," he said.

Cadets with the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy practice defense and arrest tactics while training at the academy Nov. 15 at Fort McCoy.
Cadets with the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy practice defense and
arrest tactics while training at the academy Nov. 15 at Fort McCoy.



Instructor and Trooper Justin Arnold with the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy instructs cadets on defense and arrest tactics at the academy Nov. 15 at Fort McCoy.
Instructor and Trooper Justin Arnold with the Wisconsin State Patrol
Academy instructs cadets on defense and arrest tactics at the academy Nov.
15 at Fort McCoy.

During the first phase, cadets received introductory training on becoming troopers and in nonemergency response. Phase two is the emergency-response training phase, and phase three focuses on investigations.

"We have post-phase training where we teach things specific to the state patrol that are not necessarily required by the (Wisconsin Department of Justice) Training and Standards Bureau," Heffernan said. "Additionally, the patrol adds hours of training in each phase to give extra instruction in areas of priority for the patrol, such as traffic crash, traffic law enforcement, and speed enforcement."

During the DAAT instruction, cadets learn tactics, techniques, and procedures on when and how to use physical force to control people. The techniques learned are psychomotor skills that involve use of both brain and muscle and are completed through practical application, said Inspector Dave Cahoon, master DAAT instructor.

"This training helps them to be able to defend themselves and others," Cahoon said. "When they train in these techniques and tactics, it also gives them confidence."

Cahoon said confidence is critical for troopers in everything they do, and DAAT is just one set of skills being taught to build a well-trained trooper.

"The training is a building block for the scenario-based training to be completed later," Cahoon said. "That training is critical because it is training under stress, which is very critical for us."

Being calm and cool also is important for cadets during firearms training. The pistol the cadets train with is a .40-caliber Glock 22.
"Instructors stress marksmanship and the fundamentals of shooting," Heffernan said.

Cadets also learn how to combat shoot, fix malfunctions on the weapon, how to use cover with the weapon, and how to shoot from barricades. They also learn how to shoot from the inside of a squad car, and essentially how to be combat-effective with the weapon.

Cadet Anna Waterman of Amery, Wis., said the shooting and DAAT training were among the toughest training regimens she had learned up to that point.

"This week so far has been the hardest week," Waterman said. "But even though it has been the hardest, I do my best to stay positive and learn everything they are teaching us to do."

Cadets fire a .40-caliber Glock 22 during the weapons familiarization and marksmanship training.
Cadets fire a .40-caliber Glock 22 during the weapons familiarization
and marksmanship training.



Cadets load pistol magazines prior to taking their turn to complete weapons familiarization and marksmanship Nov. 15.
Cadets load pistol magazines prior to taking their turn to complete
weapons familiarization and marksmanship Nov. 15.

Waterman said she wanted to become a trooper ever since she participated in an internship with the state patrol when she was in college at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Through each phase of training, she said on some days her goal is to just get to lunch break and then regroup and continue on.

"I have to stay positive and true to myself," she said. "I know I can do this and that I have to work hard to (continuously) get better."

Cadet Jacob Anderson, a native of Sparta, Wis., said everything the cadets have been trained on is challenging, but it's worth it — especially with DAAT training.

"I like that they push us to be the best that we can be," Anderson said. "The officers here tell us there is a reason behind everything they tell and teach us. I believe them, and I want to make sure that I'm fully prepared when I hit the road as a trooper in the future."

In 2014, Trooper Erica Ballweg-Larsen was going through the same training as these cadets, and she remembers how difficult it was. She is also a training officer supporting the current cadet class.

"Every bit of training time here is valuable," she said in a 2014 article in The Real McCoy. And in 2017, the training is still just as valuable.

"We want these cadets to get the best training experience they can receive," said Ballweg-Larsen, who is one of two female training officers supporting the class — an academy first. "I remember how tough it was and at every turn you have to stay motivated."

Heffernan said the cadets will continue to be challenged throughout the rest of the training. Anderson said he looks forward to the challenge.

"This is all preparation to make us good troopers," Anderson said. "I look forward to being that trooper."

The WSPA has been a tenant organization at Fort McCoy since 1955. Its complex covers more than 50 acres of the installation.

For more information about the WSPA, call 844-847-1234, option 4, or go online to https://wisconsindot.csod.com/default.aspx?c=wspa2.