The culmination of a three-day law enforcement training in Gold Beach was hectic, chaotic and intense. The simulation exercise was only a role play, but the scene was designed to be scary.
“He’s in there!” shouted a group of students running from inside Riley Creek Elementary School.
Law enforcement officers entered the school – guns drawn – in special formation. Moments later, an assailant is identified and apprehended and the officer begins assisting the victims.
A total of 40 officers participated in the three-day training in Gold Beach over the weekend of Nov. 11-13, including police officers from Brookings, Gold Beach and Port Orford and law enforcement officers from Curry County.
Local law enforcement officers from Curry and Coos County participated in active shooter training with former special operations forces, including a retired Navy Seal, SWAT team member from Chicago, a local retired Marine Corp and others.
“It’s a really big deal and it’s also unusual to have this caliber of instruction at the local level,” said Curry County Commissioner-elect Brad Alcorn.
Alcorn has 34 years of experience with the Fresno Police Department and 15 years with the Fresno Police Department SWAT team. He planned the training with Gold Beach resident and business owner Josh Stout – who also happens to be retired from the United States Marine Corps.
“The training is designed to give officers more confidence in approaching these types of difficult situations. We don’t get that kind of training here in this county. This is the kind of training you would see in big cities with big police departments,” Alcorn said.
Local officers were joined by the Coos County Sheriff’s Department, Reedsport Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Department, Chicago Police Department, Oregon Department of Corrections and the Denver, Colorado Police Department.
The Gold Beach Fire Department, Port Fire Department and Cal Ore Medical Services also participated in the training.
“I have been part of the resolution of two active shooters in my career and there is a big disconnect between law enforcement and the fire/medical component of EMS. This training is designed to improve communication , making the two components work much more efficiently together to deliver the answer,” Alcorn said.
Local law enforcement and retired military officers teamed up with Navy Seal Devin Aiuto, CEO of Method Endeavors, and Trung Nguyen, Chicago SWAT team member and CEO of ‘We Go Home’ to conduct complete the training over the weekend.
Specialized training involved innovative training techniques, including the use of “simunitions” or non-lethal training munitions. This allows law enforcement officers to use their own firearms with safety mechanisms during training scenarios.
“A lot of special missions units in the military use them and we want to incorporate them into all possible formations because it’s more realistic,” said retired Navy Seal Method Endeavors CEO Devin Aiuto.
“Also, law enforcement officers have a better chance of reacting like they would in a real-life scenario,” Aiuto said.
While it’s unfortunate to have to train for real-life active shooting scenarios, that doesn’t make it any less important, Alcorn said. Alcorn described the training as a “valuable preventive measure” at the Brookings City Council meeting on Monday.
“I pray about it all the time. I hope that will never happen. But if so, know that our law enforcement officers are much better prepared today,” he said.