POMEROY — Officers train to be prepared in any situation, although the hope is that they will never need that training.
Each month, deputies with the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office complete a training on a different aspect of their job, whether at the shooting range, in a meeting room or — as was the case on Monday — a former car dealership.
Monday’s training was also different as it included other agencies, who given a particular situation, may be called to help alongside the sheriff’s deputies.
Deputies, officers from the Pomeroy Police Department, Meigs County EMS personnel and firefighters, spent Monday afternoon at the former Mark Porter building in Pomeroy working through different scenarios in which the officers may encounter.
Chief Deputy Charlie Mansfield, who has spent more than 30 years training officers, explained that the training is not only important to know what to do in a particular situation, but to help the officers to remain calm with their heart rate down in the situations. He said that as the heart rate goes up, a gun shot would become less accurate, meaning an active shooter who has thought out the plan and may be calm could be a more accurate shot than the officers. By training for the situation, it can help the heart rate to stay down and therefore make the shot more accurate.
The first scenario was a deputy and the Pomeroy officer responding to the building for a call of individuals inside the building. The deputy was the first to respond, with the Pomeroy officer soon after. The deputy was to check the doors of the building and, upon finding one, made entry. In the lobby of the building, the deputy made contact with the first suspect, speaking with him about why he was there. As the officer approached, a second suspect was able to fire a shot which injured the officer. The Pomeroy officer who had arrived outside radioed to dispatch for a call of shots fired.
As the responding officers worked through the training, some entered the building clearing room by room before locating the suspects. Other officers remained outside monitoring the building should a suspect attempt to exit.
As the scenario played out, the suspects were able to take down a responding officer as he exited his cruiser, as well as injuring another responding officer.
Eventually, deputies were able to take down the two subjects.
After the building was cleared, a deputy escorted EMS into the building to evaluate the injured officers and suspects.
Once the scenario was completed, those involved sat down to review what had happened, what worked well and what could be improved upon.
The suspects, who were also deputies, and others involved had cameras attached to themselves or their weapons so that the footage could also be reviewed in an effort to find out what worked well and what should be done differently.
The second scenario staged a meeting with an active shooter.
Chief Deputy Charlie Mansfield explained there would be a difference in responses to the two situations as in the case of the active shooter in the second scenario, statistics show that every three seconds a person in the building or a hostage would be shot, making a quick response increasingly important.
Mansfield explained that since the department does not have a dedicated Special Response Team, the entire agency trains for these type situations.
The office recently acquired patrol rifles which the officers have become certified in using. Those rifles were used in the training scenarios on Monday. The guns were made possible by funds from the federal government.
These situations, and others for which the officers train, are not something with which they come into contact often, if ever, but it is better to be prepared.
Reach Sarah Hawley at 740-992-2155 ext. 2555 or on Twitter @SarahHawleyNews