Officer safety: Tactical training seminar taking place in Shelby County

Published 1:18 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2016

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Staff Writer

The Alabama Tactical Officers Association held its opening ceremony for a week-long tactical training seminar on Monday, Oct. 17, at the Shelby County Exhibition Center in Columbiana.

During the opening ceremony, tactical officers from across the state gathered in the exhibition center to listen to two speakers, retired NYPD officer Dennis Healy and Jason Falla of Redback One.

Healy, who was at both of the World Trade Centers during 9/11, discussed the growing problem of protesting in the country for tactical officers and how they should handle those situations in the proper way.

“Jason (Myrick) and I decided protestor tactics would be important to discuss at this year’s conference because of what has happened over the last two years in this country,” Healy said. “You may think that it will never happen in this state, but you’re only one tragic event away from having to deal with this issue. Our job is to ensure constitutional protection and assure people have their first amendment right to peacefully assemble.”

They also got to walk around to several different booths and look at different kinds of gear including gear from conference sponsor Covert Armor.

The booths featured items such as combat weaponry, silencers, knives, bullet proof vests and plates, shields, flashlights and medical emergency packs.

Jason Myrick, president of the ATOA, is a big reason this SWAT training seminar is in Columbiana.

“We used to spread the conference around the state, but Columbiana offers a very unique setting for us,” Myrick said. “It offers not only this exhibition center, but the training facilities in the area are tremendous. It’s centrally located to make it easier for officers to get here from across the state.”

Throughout the week, the tactical officers will go between several different training facilities around the area using the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Training Center, 4-H Training Center in Columbiana, Double Tap Training Grounds in Calera, Calera Police Department Range, EMA Training Center in Calera and Brock’s Gap Training Center in Hoover.

They’ll use each of these locations to go through 28 training tracks, which will take them through several SWAT and rescue courses.

“We have a wide variety of courses that will include a lot of shooting with the tactical courses and sniper courses.” Myrick said. “You name it and we’ve pretty much got it. There will be some pretty cool stuff going on.”

The large array of courses will include a Woods and Wounds concept course that will simulate a dangerous situation in the woods, which will include gunfire, theater blood and smoke.

“They really add the stress into each training session so these guys can train in a realistic environment,” Myrick said.

Other classes will include a typical SWAT armored vehicle rescue, night vision operations, tactical rope access, a precision rifle clinic, performance gun fighting, patrol lifesaving and much more.

“We exist for the enhancement of training and safety for all officers,” Myrick said. “We were conceived by SWAT team guys, but we need to start pushing this tactical stuff on patrol guys because we are calling on them to respond to active shooter situations and terrorist situations. This training could help them not put themselves in bad situations like we have seen recently across the country.”

Just this year alone, there have already been more than 100 officers lose their lives and that is something Myrick and the ATOA hope to help fix.

The tactical conference will continue through Thursday, Oct. 20, and will last anywhere from 8-10 hours in length each day.