Sheriff’s Department and Airmen train during Active Shooter exercise

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Stephen Hudson
  • 169th Fighter Wing/Public Affairs
Deputies from the Richland County Sheriff's Department partnered with the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Security Forces Squadron for an active shooter exercise, August 20.

Training for a worst-case scenario is something civilian and military law enforcement agencies must do to protect civilian and military populations.

"The last thing you want to do is show up and exchange business cards during a real-world activity," said Lt. Col. Paul Laymon, commander of the 169th Security Forces Squadron. "Here is the opportunity for us to work with the folks who would respond with us and assist with defending the installation."

The day's scenario played out with simulated attacks at multiple sites across the base, testing the response of both the on-base defenders and the responding deputies.

Laymon said Security Forces Airmen practiced tactics, procedures and techniques during the exercise with the Sheriff's Department. Nearly 50 deputies took part in the training which included Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians, K-9 Teams and a Special Response Team.

"We have specialties that they don't have and they have specialties that we don't have," Laymon added.

The training was another successful partnership between the two agencies. The Sheriff's Department has a memorandum of agreement with the South Carolina Air National Guard and trains at McEntire regularly.  The Security Forces Squadron has held several active shooter exercises on base in the past, however this was the first time the S.C. Airmen and the Sheriff's Department has trained on an active shooter scenario together.

"Swamp Foxes are always prepared. What we do is work on defense in depth, and that is why we bring in Richland County to assist us," Laymon said.

There will be a follow-on scenario sometime later this fall, offering another opportunity for both agencies to train together again.

"We have to be prepared well in advance of these types of situations. We have to understand the personnel on the base and the personnel we have at the Sheriff's Department, Richland County Major Chris Cowan said. We are going to be here very quickly if something happens."

Cowan said it is extremely important to communicate and be prepared for any worst-case scenario and this active-shooter training was key in exercising the combined capabilities of the 169th Security Forces Squadron and the Richland County Sheriff's Department.