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April 2018 Law Enforcement Newsletter

///April 2018 Law Enforcement Newsletter
April 2018 Law Enforcement Newsletter 2018-04-11T19:50:02+00:00

SIMULATION TRAINING, GUN RANGE DESIGN, EQUIPMENT AND INSTALLATION NEWSLETTER - APRIL 2018

MAIN STORY

Training the School Resource Officer: Responding to the Worst-Case Scenarios in Seconds.

School-based law enforcement, known best as School Resource Officers (SROs), typically must play a “triad” of adult roles: counselor and teacher as well as cop. Yet in a moment of unexpected violence, they must shift from the nurturing and authoritative aspects to become first responders.[1]

A recent event in Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County in southern Maryland shows how an astute, rapid response can save lives. On the morning of March 20, 2018, Deputy Blaine Gaskill, a school resource officer, quickly confronted an active shooter, shooting him in the hand. While the assailant put his gun to his head and died of a self-inflicted wound, Gaskill’s intervention may well have saved multiple lives. "He responded exactly how we train our personnel to respond," St. Mary's County Sheriff Tim Cameron told reporters.[2]

Gaskill, 34, a SWAT-trained officer with six years on the job, had followed guidelines in first trying to de-escalate the situation by entreating the gunman to drop his firearm.[3]

Not surprisingly, in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida attack, SROs like Gaskill seem to be more in demand. A Fox News Poll, taken March 18-21 of more than 1,000 randomly sampled registered voters, found that 69 percent were in favor of putting armed guards in schools.[4]

This increase in attention has been growing for years. School-based policing is the fastest-growing area of law enforcement, according to the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), whose membership has swelled to 3,000 around the globe.[5]

Trained SROs: A dangerous problem of supply and demand.

Meanwhile, supply is struggling to keep up with demand. SROs normally must come from publicly funded police and sheriff departments. Leadership must determine how many of their force they can devote to school duty. Then comes the difficult task of determining how to cover a school system: Which schools can have their own dedicated SRO? Which officers must cover multiple schools and, critically, what is the driving time between their assignments? Which SROs are full-fledged law enforcement personnel with access to active-shooter training and best practices?

Considering an incident can happen anywhere at any time, numbers have yet to become encouraging. A U.S. Department of Education study released in July 2017 reveals the gaps that must be overcome for adequate protection. As of the 2015-16 school year, only 42 percent of all U.S. public schools had full- or part-time security present at least once a week. Looking more closely, one finds that half that number were part time. Only 10.9 percent had a full-time, sworn law enforcement officer, who can be presumed to have rigorous training.[6] According to NASRO, in contrast to a security guard, an SRO must be a sworn law enforcement officer on detail from an agency.

How then does the nation close this gap? Lt. Joe Messersmith of the Dubuque (IA) Police Department has framed the issue clearly: “If we wanted to, we could put a cop in every single school, but that's just not practical because somebody [has to] be patrolling the neighborhoods that these kids are going to be spending the other two-thirds of their day in.”[7]

The answer is obviously that communities require additional funding for staffing. More than five years have passed since the Sandy Hook (Newton, CT) tragedy, when Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association CEO, called for congressional funding to have armed guards in every school. With more than two out of three registered voters now seeking SROs for their schools, change seems imminent, In February, U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) called for increased funding for properly trained SROs.[8]

The STOP School Violence Act of 2018 is a step in that direction. Passing the House and Senate in late March by overwhelming bipartisan majorities, it provides measures to improve school safety infrastructure while strengthening relationships and training among law enforcement and the educational community. It also includes provisions for state grants that can possibly be used for hiring more SROs. In fact, one provision prohibits firearms training. Hence, the extent to which this measure can overcome the gap of trained law enforcement in schools requires further attention.[9]

Virtual Simulation: Customizable active-shooter school scenarios.

A common reaction to school violence among teachers, students and parents is, “We never thought it would happen here.” Columbine, Sandy Hook and Marjory Stoneman Douglas are removed from inner-city streets where violence can be an unfortunate factor in day-to-day life. Yet any school-based arms presence, whether sworn law enforcement officers or security guards, must remain constantly attuned to any sign of an unexpected event that endangers their assigned educational institution.

The challenge of training SROs and other armed personnel is that they work at a remote location from a training facility, yet need to participate in a complex active-shooter scenario that directly relates to their setting. Meggitt Training Systems answers this challenge with the FATS® 100P, an immersive virtual training system with customizable scenarios and easy portability. The 100P delivers advanced functionality, including enhanced graphics, for both instructor and trainee. SROs can even blend their individual school imagery and floor plans with scenarios. Organizations have a choice of using one of Meggitt’s carefully crafted school scenarios or taking advantage of integrated video authoring that allows the instructor to create, edit, score, load and run customer videos locally filmed in familiar locations. The filming can be as simple as video from a cellphone.

Because SROs must respond quickly and accurately, the 100P delivers weapon-handling and shot-placement analytics along with marksmanship automatic coaching tools. Indeed, one might expect this kind of functionality from a much larger platform. Yet, portable and light, the FATS® 100P can go to school settings via a rugged hand-carry case the size of a large range bag. One person has the ease of transportation, set up and operation.

The value of the 100P goes beyond the active-shooter scenario. A key part of SRO training is judgmental use-of-force training. Toward that end, the 100P employs customizable high-definition video scenarios to produce dynamic escalation and de-escalation. The SRO must survey and react to verbal cues, facial expressions and overall body language to quickly assess a situation and interact with individuals using proper verbal commands and perishable skills training

Where virtual and real-world threats meet.

The 100P scenarios, whether chosen from Meggitt’s library or self-authored, incorporate whole-task training that facilitates the transfer of skills learned during simulation into real-world situations. Similarly, the lightweight 100P can also support up to six weapons that might be used by an SRO: Meggitt’s realistic BlueFire® (Bluetooth, untethered) weapons, Dvorak or laser insert weapons, Tasers® and chemical spray.

Simulation has additional benefits to physical preparation. Training contributes to the mental preparation necessary for the terrifying situations of “lockdown” and “code red.” The speed of an event is relatively incomprehensible except in retrospect. At Great Mills, only seven minutes transpired between the assailant’s initial attack and Gaskill’s confrontation. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting lasted six minutes. Sandy Hook (Newton), the worst school massacre, was over in five minutes.

Clearly an SRO must be able to respond instantly, but with the presence of mind to gather situational awareness and take the right action. Only training can make that possible.

The bottom line: More officers. Better trained.

Rep. Comstock sums up the issue: “As I have talked with local law enforcement and Mo Canady, Executive Director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, it is apparent that school resource officers are an important part of the solution to stopping school violence that can be expanded in our schools as well as schools around the Commonwealth and the country. Many schools still do not have the benefit of SROs. These important officers not only protect our schools, but are also the eyes and ears for local law enforcement to make sure that those who want to harm our children are stopped before they are able to perpetrate a crime.”

For more information on how Meggitt Training Systems can help your SRO program, please email MGTTS-LEVirtualSales@meggitt.com.

1 A discussion on switching roles can be found in “School Officer: A Job With Many Roles and One Big Responsibility,” by Stephanie Saul et al, New York Times, March 4, 2018 at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/04/us/school-resource-officers-shooting.html retrieved on 3/28/2018.
2See https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/27/us/maryland-school-shooting-cause-of-death-trnd/index.html retrieved on 3/28/2018.
3See “A Hero Thwarts a School Shooting in Maryland,” by Jack Crowe, National Review Online, March 21, 2018 at https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/03/blaine-gaskill-hero-officer-stopped-maryland-school-shooting retrieved on 3/28/18
4For complete poll results, see http://www.foxnews.com/politics/interactive/2018/03/25/fox-news-poll-results-325.html
5For more information on NASRO, visit https://nasro.org
6For a more thorough look at the statistics, see Crime, Violence, Discipline, and Safety in U.S. Public Schools: Findings From the School Survey on Crime and Safety: 2015–16, First Look, U.S. Department of Education, July 2017, which can be found at https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2017/2017122.pdf
7For the full story on Dubuque’s attempts to provide SRO coverage, see http://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Patrolling-Schools-How-School-Resource-Officers-incorporate-into-school-safety-plans-477902143.html
8Rep. Comstock’s statement, which contains a comprehensive discussion of SROs can be found here: https://comstock.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/rep-comstock-calls-increased-funding-school-resource-officers
9For details on the Act, see https://www.campussafetymagazine.com/safety/stop-school-violence-act-security

 

Practical information on designing your range

SEVEN PITFALLS TO AVOID WHEN BUILDING YOUR RANGE FACILITY

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

Bullet Traps and Terminal Ballistics

Many users of bullet traps do not know what to expect from them. Under estimates and over estimates are common and both can prevent the best utilization of the traps. When particles of lead are found on the floor of a new range, these questions always arise: "Is this trap safe? Is it installed properly? Is it an efficient trap? How close can we shoot? What safety precautions should be taken?"

With steel traps, most bullet particles found on the floor do not come from the bullet trap. The majority of lead particles found on the floor of a gallery range are created by bullets striking target carriers, target holders and target transport systems. Even the shaving of lead by revolvers must not be overlooked as a source of particles. We often hear a range officer proudly proclaim that nothing whatsoever escapes from their trap. That can only be interpreted in one of two ways. Usually it means they're satisfied that nothing dangerous escapes from the trap. The other interpretation is that the range receives so little use they're not aware of escaping particles. Unfortunately such remarks create an erroneous idea about bullet trap performance. When one expects 100% efficiency and discovers a piece of lead the size of a half-dollar at the firing line, alarm is understandable.

It is now possible to build a bullet trap so no lead particles can return towards the shooters from the bullet trap. Meggitt’s GranTrap™ is one such bullet trap. The trap is made from heavy steel support sheets which support the loose GranTex, rubber particles about 1/2-3/4" in size, and is covered by a thin gum rubber curtain on the top. This patented design allows all bullets to enter the soft trap surface and be totally contained in one piece in the soft rubber media. This means no bullet particles can breakup and return towards the shooters.

Range operators should be concerned with three (3) kinds of particles: backsplatter; ricochet; and "floor sliders". The latter is also called "skidders", "bounders" or "skippers". The term "slider" is also applied to bullets that are fired into the walls, ceiling or floor, and travel along these surfaces, leaving long streaks. In this discussion the term "slider" relates only to returning bullet particles. Backsplatter and ricochet particles travel under the initial energy imparted to the bullet. In contrast, floor sliders travel chiefly from gravitational energy. Except at very low velocity when a bullet hits an impenetrable object point blank, it is entirely broken up into particles that go off in a 360° pattern. As the impact surface is tilted away from vertical, more and more of the mass continues in the approximate direction that the bullet was originally traveling. In a steel bullet trap, these are the large pieces of lead that result.

However, some of the bullet particles leave a 360° cone pattern, and are the particles that make up the backsplatter. The exact amount and pattern is a function of many variables including the bullet alloy, the angle of the plate and the velocity of the impact. Let it suffice that the measure of ballistic efficiency is the relationship of the quantity of large massive pieces as compared to the quantity of fine dust and small shavings in the lead debris. For shooting range considerations, ricochet is considered to be any rebounding particle that is capable of inflicting property damage or bodily harm. Thus, a backsplatter particle could be considered ricochet if it traveled in the direction of the shooters, and if it contained sufficient energy to do harm.

Fortunately, the greater the energy in a particle, the greater the tendency for it to follow the originally aimed path of the bullet, i.e., in the direction of safe containment. The lower the energy in a particle, the more likely it is to behave as a billiard ball, and after a series of rebounds to get back to the firing line. Most people are surprised to learn that it is the relatively low velocity particle that can be the potentially dangerous ricochet.

By providing surfaces that will interrupt those particles traveling in a direction that could conceivably get back to the shooter, backsplatter particles are prevented from becoming ricochets. In an escalator trap, these surfaces are the sidewall fairings, the floor fairings and the diversion plate. In a venetian blind trap, the principal method is the anti-splatter edge along the leading edges of the impact plates. The closer these backsplatter interrupting members are located to the areas of bullet impact, the more backsplatter they will catch.

Unfortunately, in practical use the anti-splatter edges themselves receive a proportional share of the incoming bullets. Thus, instead of being the principal backsplatter eliminating feature, they become backsplatter and ricochet generating problems themselves.

The longer travel those backsplatter particles make, the larger proportion will pass over the various members intended to stop them. A very wide trap will result in more backsplatter particles escaping than a narrow trap. However, even in a five or six point trap, bullets fired into the lower extreme right or left side will result in noticeably more backsplatter escaping than those fired into the center or anyplace higher up on the trap.

Not so obvious, however, is the effect of the overtrap fairing. If the overtrap fairing is relatively short because of a low ceiling or ceiling baffle system, very little backsplatter results from the high shots that hit it. If the overtrap fairing is as long as it frequently is in a high ceiling range without a baffled ceiling system, it is inevitable that many bullets will hit its upper surfaces. This will result in backsplatter, some of which may end up on the floor. However, using an environmental bullet trap like the GranTrap equates to a range that is particle free from backsplatter and ricochets from the bullet trap. The bullets will not come back out of the soft rubber media and return towards the shooters. This is the safer design to consider. Click here to learn more about Meggitt's wide variety of bullet traps.

 

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FAQ

Q. What virtual weapon training solutions offered by Meggitt Training Systems are available for law enforcement and commercial customers?

A. Meggitt has four weapon options available for use with the FATS® 100LE or FATS® 100P virtual simulation training systems. They include:

  1. Meggitt's patented BlueFire® weapons for the most realistic, tetherless simulation weapon available. The true-to-life form, fit and function of a BlueFire® weapon requires the student / trainee to properly load the weapon for duty. The instructor can monitor performance and weapon status in real time, observing remaining round count, magazine status, slide position and chamber loaded (with safety and cant of weapon for certain weapons.
  2. Reliable, durable tethered weapon solutions are ideal for stationary marksmanship training and feature realistic recoil for accurate instruction. It allows for small or large groups to train simultaneously.
  3. Meggitt systems are compatible with Dvorak Instruments patented recoil insert kits.
  4. Third party dry fire laser inserts are also easily adaptable into Meggitt's systems.

No other simulation company provides as many weapon solutions as Meggitt Training Systems. Contact your sales representative today or visit MeggittTrainingSystems.com for more information on virtual training simulation systems.


Q. As a range instructor, I need a virtual weapon that allows students to train on malfunction “jams” and reloading drills. Can you help?

A. Yes. Prior to beginning a training session, students must properly load their Meggitt wireless BlueFire® weapon. This requires the student to clear the weapon, insert the magazine, and then rack the slide. Meggitt’s patented BlueFire® weapons allow you to program jams or initiate jams in both marksmanship and judgmental training modes. When the jam is initiated, the student must “tap and rack” the weapon to place it back into ready condition. This real-world conditioning provides seamless weapons handling skills, helping students react effectively when engaging in live, hostile situations.

 

DID YOU KNOW

 Per a recent study, a common criminal sprints approximately 22 feet per second per a 2 second interval; thus the training-designed and real life engineered 11 feet per second speed setting on Meggitt’s XWT GEN4 wireless target retrieval system! successfully passed the ballistic and environmental performance criteria set forth in the Government’s Performance Specification for the Naval Surface Warfare Center. The bullet trap evaluation was so successful the indoor range was certified as full automatic fire and .50 caliber capable as the bullet trap contained all rounds that were fired at point blank range as well as at acute angles of fire.

 In partnership with PoliceOne.com and PoliceGrantsHelp.com, Meggitt Training Systems offers law enforcement agencies free grant assistance. The team at PoliceGrantsHelp.com helps keep law enforcement informed of available grants that can be used to fund the purchase of live fire range equipment and virtual simulation systems.

 

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UPCOMING SHOWS

TACOPS West 2018
May 9-11, 2018
Westgate Las Vegas Resort
Las Vegas, Nevada
Booth# 104
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CANSEC 2018
May 30-31, 2018
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Ohio Tactical Officers Association 2018
June 6-8, 2018
Kalahari Resort and Convention Center
Sandusky, Ohio
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NSA Annual Conference and Expo 2018
June 16-19, 2018
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
New Orleans, Louisiana
Booth #543, 642
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PA Chiefs of Police Conference 2018
June 17 - 20, 2018
Kalahari Resort and Convention Center
Pocono Manor. Pennsylvania
Booth #222
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Police Security Expo 2018
June 26-27, 2018
Atlantic City Convention Center
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Booth #534
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LACP Summer 2018
July 11 - 12, 2018
Hilton Convention Center
Shreveport, Louisiana
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This newsletter covers just a few of the ways that Meggitt’s simulation and live fire products are improving training for defense forces, law enforcement agencies and commercial gun ranges around the world. In upcoming newsletters, we’ll introduce you to new technologies and products. For more information, contact MGTTS-LESales@meggitt.com.

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