Fort McCoy News Oct. 23, 2015

Law-enforcement teams hold weeklong training

Public Affairs Staff

Law-enforcement officers from four Wisconsin communities combined for a week of training at Fort McCoy in early October.

Officers from the Dane County Sheriff's Department Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team of Madison and the Middleton, Fitchburg, and Sun Prairie Special Events Team (SET) practiced law-enforcement tactics, techniques, procedures, and scenarios at several Fort McCoy ranges and training areas.

Range Officer Mike Todd with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security said training by law-enforcement personnel has grown in recent years because of increased capabilities added to Fort McCoy's overall training complex.

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Members of the Dane County Sherriff's Department Special Weapons and Tactics team and the Middleton, Fitchburg, and Sun Prairie Special Events Team practice law-enforcement tactics and scenarios while training at the Range 36H Shoot House at Fort McCoy.

"Many of the law-enforcement personnel who come here for training are seeing continuous improvement in capabilities," Todd said. "Through word-of-mouth advertising, the good word about that improvement is spreading, and more and more personnel are coming to Fort McCoy to train."

Detective Pat Kelly of the Dane County Sheriff's Department helped organize the training for both teams. He said Fort McCoy is an ideal place to train the teams.

Fort McCoy affords a lot more flexibility to conduct the training, Kelly said. "The training facilities here are the best in the area, and we are just fortunate to be only two hours away (in Madison)."

The teams trained extensively at the live-fire shoot house at Range 36H on North Post. The facility includes a color video-camera system with after-action review capabilities; front, back, and side doors for multiple entry and exit opportunities; and a mechanism to set breaching tension on the doors.

"One of the scenarios we practiced (at the shoot house) included practicing an officer rescue," said Kelly, who said he's been training at Fort McCoy for 13 years. "We also practiced search-warrant and several other related scenarios. The facility is perfectly set up to do (the scenarios)."

Kelly said the teams built on their maneuver skills at Range 6, which is the Infantry Squad Battle Course. The course offers target sets and maneuver area for a squad-size team, such as the Dane County SWAT or the multiple-city SET.

"We worked on forest and rural movement," Kelly said. "It's training that takes us outside our normal routines and builds important skills for all the team members. Range 6 was perfect for this kind of training."

The teams also trained in multiple medical-support and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD)-related scenarios at the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility (CACTF) complex on South Post.

Dane County Deputy Sheriff and EOD Technician Bob Richardson said the shoot house and the CACTF worked well for the team training, especially for EOD scenarios.

"Here, we can get some fabulous training done," Richardson said. "What we can do here are the types of things we couldn't do anywhere else. I've been coming here for 15 years and, as a bomb squad (member), what we can do here is phenomenal.

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Officers bring out a simulated victim after completing a training scenario.

"The training here never gets old, and it's never repetitive," Richardson said. "It's always challenging training that makes us better."

Officer Dave Hall with the Sun Prairie Police Department and a member of the SET said it's his third year training with the Dane County SWAT team.

"This year has been great training," Hall said. "(Our trainers) are patient and willing to teach us what we need to do. As an SET, we normally don't participate in actions as deep as the SWAT folks, but we do often combine to serve low-level search warrants. Through our training here, we are building that teamwork to do those missions."

The combined-team training also will help everyone do better at their jobs, Kelly said.

"We're here for a whole week, so we get a lot of immersion as a team," Kelly said. "Normally we train two days a month in the county, which is two eight-hour days. Here, we have a good team-building experience where we work some longer days, we're together constantly, and can focus on some more unique training environments."

Kelly said the Range Operations staff at the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) as well as those who helped his team complete training were very helpful.

"Everybody here in Range Scheduling and throughout is just incredible to work with," Kelly said. "Also, for all the facilities that have been added on here over the years, it's been a huge value added to our training. This is simply a great place to train for us.

"And, because of the capabilities and people who work here, you are only limited by your imagination on what kind of training you can do," Kelly said.

For more information about training opportunities at Fort McCoy, call the DPTMS Training Division at 608-388-5038.