The three day training held on the Chino Valley High School campus was a combination of classroom learning and real life scenarios, where officers from seven Arizona agencies will encounter, engage, and apprehend several "bad guys" being portrayed by other officers and a few local civilians. The campus was closed for the exercise, and while no students or faculty were involved in the training, school district safety team members and a few representatives of the local media were invited to observe.
Among those participating alongside the CVPD were members of several Arizona law enforcement agencies including Window Rock PD, Yavapai Apache Tribal Police, Sedona PD, Pima Community College Police, and the Arizona Dept. of Transportation.
"This type of training gives us an opportunity to work with live fire where we shoot with sim-rounds," said CVPD Lt. Vince Schaan. "Our officers go to the range all the time, where we shoot at a piece of paper, but here, we shoot at a real person, you see the effects when you hit somebody."
Schaan said the sim-rounds are fired like a real bullet, exploding on impact with a small amount of paint to register a hit. While considered safe, those participating in the drills were equipped with safety gear including body armor, helmets, goggles, and protective padding.
The firearms used, both handguns and rifles, had been modified to only fire the sim-rounds.
Joe Deedon of Tac*One said the drills provide a consistent level of training for law enforcement, and his company uses real life incidents as a blue print for their exercises.
"We are doing a lot of isolation drills here, designed for smaller departments," said Deedon. "This helps the officer think and act on their own."
Deedon said that in recent shooting incidents, such as Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting in July, 2012 and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. on December 14, 2012, most of the casualties occurred in the first two minutes.
"We're saying 'Hey, you're waiting for 40 minutes, you may have to act by yourself'", said Deedon. "Pre Columbine, we waited for three major SWAT teams to get there, and then we had a hundred cops standing out there for 45 minutes waiting."
Deedon is a veteran of the Jefferson County (CO) Sheriffs Dept, one of the responding agencies to the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. Deedon, who was not with the department at that time, is no stranger to the type of events that his company simulates in their training.
"I came on right after Columbine, but a lot of the people that I came up with on patrol and my supervisors were all responding deputies and SWAT guys then," said Deedon. His personal experience includes responding to the Platte Canyon High School hostage situation in 2006, and the Deer Creek Middle School shooting in 2010.
Even though this weekend's simulation was well supervised, with all the safety precautions followed, "bad guy" and CVHS alum Logan Beck said he couldn't keep his heart from racing and the adrenaline pumping.
"It's a real rush," said Beck. "Fake or not, these bullets hurt. This really shows how much training these guys get and how good at their jobs they are. It sure makes you think different about the shootings you hear about in the news."
CVUSD administrators' and district safety committee members Julie Bryce and Carolyn Reeder were on site to observe the training, and were impressed with the intensity level of the exercises.
"This is very important for our campus, to show us what we need to improve on for the safety of our students and faculty," said Bryce, adding that the upcoming school bond, if approved, will provide much needed dollars for safety and security upgrades for the district.
Tac*One also conducts training for school districts and private companies, information is available at www.taconeconsulting.com .
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