By Brandon OConnorJanuary 22, 2020
Story and photo by Dave Conrad
West Point Garrison Public Affairs Officer
West Point's new elementary school opened last week giving students and faculty a modern facility and the latest tools to improve their education experience. While the move to the new building is complete, the old building is still providing excellent opportunities for the rest of the garrison.
West Point Directorate of Emergency Services and its partners in state and federal law enforcement and emergency responders, are taking advantage of the empty corridors and rooms to conduct realistic response training that would be otherwise unavailable.
"Offering actual facilities for training our Military Police, fire department and our external law enforcement partners is crucial and helps engage our mutual aid partners while incorporating them into our emergency response plans," West Point's Protection and Anti-Terrorism Officer Matthew Cassidy said.
While the building is empty of students, it's a perfect opportunity to practice first response tactics, techniques and procedures in the same type of environment they might be called upon to protect in an actual emergency.
The school and first responders are all working to ensure that the students at the new facility are completely separated from the training taking place in the old building.
"The trainers will arrive after 8:30 a.m so they don't impede on students arriving or being dropped off, also there will be no "Hollywood" style training taking place-all training will take place inside the old building, and no lights, sirens will be used outside," Cassidy said. "Outside of the schools, the kids might observe police vehicles in the parking lot and maybe some personnel in their gear moving from the lot to the school or even taking a break, but they won't see any of the training events."
West Point will host the following training this week:
• Today-FBI/New York State Police-Breaching training, with paintball rounds, flash charges-2-8 p.m.
• Friday-New York State Police-Breaching training with paintball rounds, flash charges-9 a.m.-3 p.m.
• Monday-New York State Police Night vision training with flash charges, paintball Rounds-1-9 p.m.
• Wednesday-Jan. 31-MP Company-Close Quarters training with paintball rounds, flash charges-9 a.m.-3 p.m.
The Fire department will use smoke machine(s) daily from 1-3 p.m. Jan. 14-30 and during the evening Jan. 27-30.
While the students and faculty at the elementary school won't observe any of the training, they'll still have some opportunities to talk with the trainees about their jobs, and how their training is improving safety here at West Point.
"Last Thursday, many of the students had the opportunity to pet some of the police dogs that stayed around after training was complete and received a K9 card-similar to a baseball card," Cassidy said. "The New York State Police officers that support West Point year round gained valuable training experiences."