This past week, the WTA sponsored me to attend a three day course held by The Illinois Tactical Officers Association (ITOA) entitled MacTac- Multiple Assault Counter Terrorist Action Capabilities. The goal of this course is to introduce small unit tactics to the patrol officer,so that we will better be able to engage in fire fights with multiple offenders as a unit using a long gun.
Using the examples of Columbine and Fort Hood, authorities and found that the longer you allow an armed threat to persist, the more lives will be lost. What we need to do in law enforcement is to put pressure on the shooters and take them out of their decision making loop to end the threat. It’s been found that less than 10% of the shooters will engage with the police in a gun fight, choosing instead to end their own lives. What this class is designed to do is get first responding officers into the gunfight as fast as possible.
The first day of the class we were taught a little of infantry 101 and how to get to the fight trough traveling formations such as the ranger file and column and the wedge. We then practiced tactics such as the bounding over watch- where one of us moves while the other provides cover and then we were drilled in flanking, where one element engages the offender while the other officers moved off on angles to get a better firing position. Ultimately, we were then able to swarm the offenders trough better tactics and superior firepower
The second day of the class we got to drill these tactics on scenarios such as vehicle stops, patrolling neighborhoods and building clearing. The first two days took place in an abandoned and fenced off neighborhood across from the Great Lakes Military Base. There was no shortage of blanks being fired as any number of gunmen continuously popped out to challenge our tactics and communication skills.
The third day we went live with simulations at the Lake County Fairgrounds. We get to put rounds on offenders in such scenarios as routine vehicle stops and pursuits, bank robbery calls and even got to rescue an officer down under fire. An RPG rocket even made an appearance! One of the sayings of the class is “It's not real until it happens”. It's one thing to read about it or watch on a video, but it's quite another when you confront an arm defender coming out the back or your engaging an armed gunman and all the sudden, a civilian runs runs into your line of fire.
And what would a tactical class be without some mnemonics? In this one, we talk of the 4As – to assess, announce, assemble and act. Then we went to the 4Fs – of find ‘em, fix ‘em, flank ‘em and then finish ‘em. Throughout the class it was drilled into us that movement equals life in a gunfight, so always be maneuvering for a better firing position.
This is the second of five classes ITOA sponsors as part of their Tactical Patrol Officer Training Plan. A big thank you to Lt. Ed Mohn of the Libertyville PD for extending the invitation to the WTA and hosting me. I hope everybody isn't depending on the departments training to get us through the upcoming G8 summit. The WTA and the ITOA are some good organizations to look toward for training and guidance in the coming months in that regard.
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