Defenders on ALERRT

  • Published
  • By Tech.Sgt. Javier Cruz
  • 14th Flying Training Wing

Defenders from the 14th Security Forces Squadrons recently completed Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT), Level 1 Active Shooter Response Course July 26, 2023, in partnership with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Monroe County SWAT members.

“The techniques we’re teaching are proven, they’re basic enough to where any experience level can respond together as a small team to deal with an active shooter incident.” said Captain John Bishop, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office director of training. “The goal is to isolate, distract and neutralize the active shooter utilizing the tactics we’re teaching and save as many lives as possible.”

The ALERRT course participants ranged from experienced law enforcement members such as Monroe County SWAT, School Resource Officers (SROs), police cadets and newly assigned 14 SFS Airman Leidy G. Zarate, Security Forces Patrolman.

“I’ve been at Columbus for a little less than a month, yesterday was my first day on the job.” said Zarate. “We’re learning step-by-step how to clear buildings to find the active shooter and neutralize the threat to save as many people as possible.”

Training began with classroom instruction and review of previous active shooter incidents from the perspectives of law enforcement and facility cameras. Unit cohesion and teamwork was the focus of the classroom training day.

“In Mississippi, we train very hard statewide on a simple set of tactics.” said Bishop. “This means we can all respond together no matter where we work in the state.”

On the second day of training, students encountered simulated active shooter scenarios utilizing non-lethal training ammunition. Their response time and ability to make critical decisions under high stress were put to the test.

“You want to get there as quickly as possible but as safely as possible, time definitely matters especially when you have people that are injured.” said Bishop. “During the force-on-force portion of the training, the live simulation rounds help solidify and really lock down the tactics they’re learning. It hits home you know, if you get shot or you shoot one of the role players. Force-on-force really just makes it more realistic and it’s going to help prepare them for the worst-case scenario.”

The program originates from Texas State University and has trained more than 146,000 first responders across the nation in ALERRT operations and tactics to respond to active attack situations, according to the official ALERRT Texas State University website.

The ALERRT Training Center at Texas State University was created in 2002 as a partnership between Texas State University, the San Marcos, Texas Police Department and the Hays County, Texas Sheriff’s Office to address the need for active shooter response training for first responders. In 2013, ALERRT at Texas State was named the National Standard in Active Shooter Response Training by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).