82.1 F
Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, August 14, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesSt. Croix Officers Get Fast and Furious Shooter Training

St. Croix Officers Get Fast and Furious Shooter Training

Officers in teams of two approached the building where "hostages" were being shot.St. Croix police officers received a trial by fire Friday as the department conducted an active shooter emergency response training exercise at the abandoned Ralph de Chabert housing complex in Estate Richmond.

In teams of two, officers practiced storming an apartment building and neutralizing a gunman who was shooting hostages.

The training was organized by the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency and led by instructors from the Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education at Louisiana State University.

Irving Mason, VITEMA training coordinator, said that people may not associate counterterrorism training with his agency, but it is an essential part of their mission.

Advertising (skip)
Advertising (skip)
Advertising (skip)

“A long time ago, VITEMA’s mission was about hurricanes and earthquakes, but since 9/11, we’ve moved away from that,” he said. “It doesn’t make a difference if it’s terrorism, it it’s an earthquake, if it’s hurricanes or tsunamis.”

Inside the apartment complex, one of the instructors wearing a bright yellow safety vest and a thick mustache briefed his actors on the scenario. A handful of officers from the SWAT team had been recruited to play the roles of gunman and hostages, and the instructor was imploring them to put their hearts into their performance.

Swear, scream, cry, he told them. Make it as real as possible for the officers coming through the door.

A voice over the radio announced that the officers down the street were ready to begin.

“Start the music!” the instructor yelled, and the hollering began. The instructor took out his revolver and fired a few blanks toward the floor, alerting the officers outside that there was a shooting in progress.

The two officers hurried into the building, slid around a corner, and came up behind the shooter who did not have enough time to turn before a flurry of hard plastic bullets sailed into his protective vest. The officers checked the hostages, secured the room, and then it was over, hardly 30 seconds after it had begun.

The hostages then returned to their original places, the gunman dusted himself off, and they ran the scenario again and again, all afternoon.

The instructor, who asked not to be named, said that speed was the key to resolving these scenarios with the fewest numbers of casualties.

“If you look at these past incidents, you really need to get to the shooter within five minutes. That is when most of the action happens,” he said. “You are going against people who do not expect to come out alive. You really have to be aggressive.”

Lt. Arthur Hector, territorial training director for the VIPD, explained that training for dealing with active shooters was important, because in a real world scenario, police would not have much time to plan.

“Normally, if there is an armed perpetrator, police can hold back and wait for a SWAT team to arrive,” he said. “But in an active shooter situation, the first responder has to neutralize the threat as quickly as possible to minimize casualties.”

Hector said that while the exercise may conjure images of the recent massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the training was not directly in response to that incident.

“This is something that was being looked at from before, because that may be the last incident, the most recent, but we saw a trend of incidents going on for a good while,” he said.

Hector said that it was important to keep an eye on what is happening in the states, because problems that start there often trickle into the territory, citing the rise of organized gangs as an example. He said he wanted his officers trained in active shooter scenarios because he believes it’s inevitable that such an event will eventually happen in the territory.

“It’s not a matter of if – it’s a matter of when,” he said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

Host Adisha Penn recaps the week's biggest headlines while Consider the Source correspondent Christopher McDonald sits down in the studio with Education Commissioner Nominee Dionne Wells-Hedrington. ... See MoreSee Less

Load more

Officers in teams of two approached the building where "hostages" were being shot.St. Croix police officers received a trial by fire Friday as the department conducted an active shooter emergency response training exercise at the abandoned Ralph de Chabert housing complex in Estate Richmond.

In teams of two, officers practiced storming an apartment building and neutralizing a gunman who was shooting hostages.

The training was organized by the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency and led by instructors from the Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education at Louisiana State University.

Irving Mason, VITEMA training coordinator, said that people may not associate counterterrorism training with his agency, but it is an essential part of their mission.

“A long time ago, VITEMA’s mission was about hurricanes and earthquakes, but since 9/11, we’ve moved away from that,” he said. “It doesn’t make a difference if it’s terrorism, it it’s an earthquake, if it’s hurricanes or tsunamis.”

Inside the apartment complex, one of the instructors wearing a bright yellow safety vest and a thick mustache briefed his actors on the scenario. A handful of officers from the SWAT team had been recruited to play the roles of gunman and hostages, and the instructor was imploring them to put their hearts into their performance.

Swear, scream, cry, he told them. Make it as real as possible for the officers coming through the door.

A voice over the radio announced that the officers down the street were ready to begin.

“Start the music!” the instructor yelled, and the hollering began. The instructor took out his revolver and fired a few blanks toward the floor, alerting the officers outside that there was a shooting in progress.

The two officers hurried into the building, slid around a corner, and came up behind the shooter who did not have enough time to turn before a flurry of hard plastic bullets sailed into his protective vest. The officers checked the hostages, secured the room, and then it was over, hardly 30 seconds after it had begun.

The hostages then returned to their original places, the gunman dusted himself off, and they ran the scenario again and again, all afternoon.

The instructor, who asked not to be named, said that speed was the key to resolving these scenarios with the fewest numbers of casualties.

“If you look at these past incidents, you really need to get to the shooter within five minutes. That is when most of the action happens,” he said. “You are going against people who do not expect to come out alive. You really have to be aggressive.”

Lt. Arthur Hector, territorial training director for the VIPD, explained that training for dealing with active shooters was important, because in a real world scenario, police would not have much time to plan.

“Normally, if there is an armed perpetrator, police can hold back and wait for a SWAT team to arrive,” he said. “But in an active shooter situation, the first responder has to neutralize the threat as quickly as possible to minimize casualties.”

Hector said that while the exercise may conjure images of the recent massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the training was not directly in response to that incident.

“This is something that was being looked at from before, because that may be the last incident, the most recent, but we saw a trend of incidents going on for a good while,” he said.

Hector said that it was important to keep an eye on what is happening in the states, because problems that start there often trickle into the territory, citing the rise of organized gangs as an example. He said he wanted his officers trained in active shooter scenarios because he believes it’s inevitable that such an event will eventually happen in the territory.

“It’s not a matter of if – it’s a matter of when,” he said.