GMCSO SWAT Personnel Survive Rigorous WMD/MAZMAT Tactical Course Taking Top Honors

June 26, 2007 By Government Training Institute

Three MCSO SWAT Personnel returned home Sunday (6/24/07) after attending a three week tactical course that tested their physical and mental endurance to the limit. The MCSO team was only the second from Oregon to have attended this rigorous course and at this session we were the only team to have all our members pass the course. If that wasn't enough, our SWAT Sergeant also took top honors in firearms/marksmanship. The Sheriff's Office is very proud of their accomplishment and our citizens will be better served in the event of a major terrorist event because of their hard work and sacrifice.

What they had top endure and what they learned is illustrated below:

During the month of June 2007 the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office sent SWAT Team members to a rigorous advanced SWAT training course in Boise, Idaho, as part of a Department of Homeland Security Grant. Unlike ordinary tactical training, this training focused specifically on tactical operations in Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive environments, and the unique challenges that these environments place on tactical law enforcement operations.

Deputies were required to don stifling chemical suits and gas masks, as they were instructed in dynamic entry and breaching operations by the Government Training Institute instructors. The Government Training Institute is a private corporation which provides advanced tactical training for both military and law enforcement agencies. Many of the Government Training Institute instructors are former Army Special Forces soldiers with extensive combat experience in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the techniques they teach have been proven and refined through actual combat.

Deputies quickly learned how the chemical suits designed to protect them also severely restricted their ability to see, move quietly, and communicate effectively. Several techniques to mitigate these problems were learned, however little can be done about the physiological effects of wearing the chemical suits while conducting physically demanding activities. It was common for students to loose a couple of pounds of water weight in a one hour training session, which required students to learn how to carefully monitor their blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and water consumption before and after every training event.

Instructors video taped students from overhead catwalks as the students maneuvered through a large, indoor "shoot house", engaging paper threat targets with precision shots, and carefully avoiding the unarmed targets. The after action critiques were blunt and to the point, as instructors reviewed the videos with students. Those with fragile egos need not apply here.

The deputies who attended felt that the training, while physically and mentally demanding, was extremely valuable, and helped make them better prepared for a potential terrorist threat.