CHARLESTON, S.C. (NNS) -- Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Charleston welcomed eight new NWS police officers who graduated from Navy Law Enforcement and Physical Security Training Police Academy Nov. 6.
Although some of the students in the academy had prior police experience, the Department of Defense (DoD) and United States Navy require the students to learn the fundamental knowledge that the intensive instruction provides.
"A Navy master-at-arms may have many years experience in only nuclear security or some other specialized field, but not have the well-rounded experience required to function as a DoD police officer," said William Scheer, NWS Charleston Security Department deputy security officer. "This is why every new employee, despite level of experience, will go through our academy."
"You never stop learning. I did security in the Navy as a 9545 [physical security specialist] for six years and what I learned then helps a lot, but this course adds crucial knowledge and realism," said student Robert Cureton.
Superior Training for Superior Response (STSR) was chosen to provide realistic combat and tactical experiences to students.
"We use blank guns to add realism in every scenario. Our Hollywood props, like blank guns and flash-bang grenades, give these officers a unique experience that activates the 'fight or flight' response and my team trains them to embrace the fight," said Sgt. Tim Brooder, STSR instructor and Goose Creek Police Department police officer. "We are teaching these students to stay and neutralize a threat when they hear gunfire."
Students performed drills and responded to scenarios in a building specifically modified for their training. The building provided students with opportunities to experience realistic situations, like entering into a potentially hostile room with many points of likely opposition.
"I didn't know what to expect before entering training building 48, so the Airsoft rounds and explosive sounds from blanks made it very real. I wasn't expecting to see an AK-47 [assault rifle] with blanks, so it scared me and that made me think and react as trained," said Cureton.
During the final day of tactical training, students individually encountered staged scenarios of domestic violence where instructors' roles would range from combativeness to seemingly docile disposition.
"It's all about seconds: quick identification and quick reaction. This training enables them to fine-tune those responses and keep those around them and themselves safe," said Brooder.
The graduates are now equipped with many tools to subdue threats.
"This specific tactical training class incorporates a lot of what they learned in the past few weeks: [Oleoresin Capsicum] OC spray, hand-to-hand combat, verbal skills, ASP baton, and other tools, including the use of deadly force if necessary," said Brooder.
The knowledge gained by the students exceeds the normal training received by state police officers and surrounding academies.
"I'm not just looking for minimum training standards. I'm looking for robust training that includes tactical training, radar familiarization, gang training, and weapons training, to name a few," said Scheer. "The training is some of the most dynamic training that officers can take. The inclusion of many skillsets makes it very well-rounded."
For more news from Naval Weapons Station Charleston, visit www.navy.mil/local/nwscharleston/.