Law enforcement agencies receive tactical training
|Wellington City Police Officer Marcus Bott and Carbon County Sheriffs's Deputy Mike Adams participate in last weeks active shooter training.|
More than 100 law enforcement officers from the local area converged at the Carbon County Events Center last week to train for how to approach a full scale public shoot out.
The law enforcement officials received active shooter and first responder training from the Salt Lake City's special weapons and tactics officers involved in last year's tragic Trolley Square shootings.
"Salt Lake is very different in a lot of respects from Price," said Sgt. J. Scharman of the Salt Lake City Police Department and gang/SWAT team. "But there is the potential for something like what happened at Trolley Square to pop off anywhere and it is important that all law enforcement is ready."
Scharman was joined by Detectives Aaron Broomhead, Brendan Call and Brett Olsen, who were also involved in the shooting.
Scharman led the Salt Lake SWAT contact team into Trolley Square on Feb. 12, 2007 as gunman Sulejman Talovic wreaked havoc inside the shopping mall with a shotgun, pistol and a backpack filled with ammunition.
Talovic reportedly fatally shot five people within the mall and wounded four others before being killed by area police.
Talovic's rampage was reportedly brought to a halt by off-duty Ogden Police Officer Kenneth Hammond and Sgt. Andrew Oblad of the Salt Lake City Police Department who engaged Talovic before SWAT arrived.
"It is important that SWAT officers have some idea how the massive amount of stimuli is going to effect them in a live shooter situation," said Scharman.
Sgt. Scharman discussed the fact that the SWAT team's tactics and formations are very sensitive and would not be disclosed.
However, Scharman pointed out that the event at Trolley Square validated a lot of the existing protocols.
One issue brought up by the Salt Lake law enforcement representatives during the presentation was the amount of skill demonstrated by Talovic.
The Salt Lake City law enforcement represenatives cautioned local officers to never underestimate a situation or a shooter.
"He was really quite smart," said Olsen, who led the presentation. "He was backfilling and reloading his weapon at an astonishing rate. He was also very efficient with transitioning from the shotgun he was using to his handgun."
Talovic's intelligence was matched by his viciousness, according to the Salt Lake law enforcement representative.
"He was shooting people at a distance and then going up and finishing them off," explained Olsen. "It really was like he thought he was playing a video game."
|Price city police officer Brandon Sicilia leads a bystander out of one of the mock scenarios presented by the Salt Lake City Gang/SWAT unit. |
The training officers also reported the logistic problems they encountered at the mall.
"If you were to pick the biggest nightmare of a building to clear and secure it would be Trolley Square," said Olsen.
The officers reported that since the time of the shooting various layout problems and safety issues within Trolley Square have been addressed.
Time or rather the lack of time a massive crime can take to play out was major a focus of the training.
According to the SLC officers, it took Talovic only two minutes and 46 seconds to shoot eight people.
"Once law enforcement came onto the scene no one else was shot," said Olsen. "But by that time Talovic had fired 39 rounds and killed five victims. He had 93 more shotgun loads in his backpack along with 38 more rounds for the revolver."
Officer Scharman then solemnly laid out the events that lead to Talovic's death. Scharman reported that the first four shots he put into Talovic's back did not seem to phase him and the perpetrator turned to face the oncoming SWAT contact team.
"I know it sounds clichÃ¯Â¿Â½ but when he turned to face me he was smirking and very pale, he was pleased with himself. His eyes were alive but the rest of him looked dead already," explained Scharman.
As Talovic turned, shotgun in hand, Scharman's team issued a total of 14 rounds into the shooter before he went down. What Scharman stressed about this situation was that his team addressed the shooter until he was stopped.
"Police officers are trained to stop the threat, so we do not usually go directly for a head shot. We are trained and train other officers to apply deadly force, when necessary, until the threat is completely alleviated," said Scharman."
Following the presentation on both days, local officers were presented with role play situations that would mimic a live shooter scenario.
One such setup involved a domestic abuse situation including a wife and her children being harassed by a drunk husband carrying a weapon.
Officers were grouped into contact teams and charged with disarming the suspect and securing the area. Following each run the officers were debriefed by an SLC SWAT members allowing them time to discuss what had worked and what had not, what had gone right and what could have been done better.
Local police went from less complicated scenarios moving their way up to more and more complex situations. The day culminated with a full scale public shootout.
"I would like to say that all officers associated with the training were very attentive and receptive to the material," said Scharman. "I was really impressed by the local officers."
Price Police Chief Aleck Shilaos was also very positive concerning the training.
"It went very well," concluded Shilaos. "It was a very practical training and it got all state, county and city organizations in the area on the same page."