GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — On June 10, U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria’s Directorate of Emergency Services and Upper Palatinate Polizei participated in a joint active shooter training event within the Grafenwoehr Training Area. Eleven DES Soldiers and 16 local Polizei, from Eschenbach, Auerbach and Vilseck, attended this partnership event to build on their relations and optimize teamwork.
While daily collaboration is nothing new between the two parties, this event worked to exchange knowledge and experiences in the special case of an active shooter scenario. If a situation calls for it, the teams worked on preparedness and the ability to integrate harmoniously.
“We work together every day and are in regular contact, since we share common service areas that we are both responsible for,” said Werner Stopfer, head of the police inspection in Eschenbach.
According to the teams, this was the first joint active shooter training event between German and American law enforcement participants on GTA. At this special training event, the German and American law enforcement organizations exchanged knowledge on different tactics, techniques and procedures in the case of an active shooter situation, and they trained together to ensure complementary response in actual operational situations.
“These joint training events are great for our law enforcement branch within DES, as well as to build partnership with our German law enforcement counterparts,” said DES Director Maj. Dale Trakas. “We learn from them, and they learn from us.”
During three stages — the crawl phase, the walk phase and the run phase — participants went through different scenarios to understand each other better and developed ideas on how to optimize their teamwork. In the crawl phase, the different tactics of each organization were shown and exercised. In the walk phase, both parties worked together adjusting to the new teammates. And in the run phase, teams exercised with training ammunition to get accustomed to each others working style and German training weapons.
“In our field of work, communication and good relationships are important,” said USAG Bavaria Chief of Police Robert Beaty. “You can’t expect good work, if you have nothing to build on.”
As COVID19 restrictions lift, both parties indicated that they look forward to more trainings on more frequent basis.
“This is the first of an initial series of training that I’d like to see between us — to build that partnership and develop our relationship — in order to make sure that we can respond appropriately to any type of incident,” Trakas said.
To continue good working relationships and ensure that everyone is on the same page in case of emergency — especially with occasional language barriers — Soldiers and Polizei alike agreed that training exercises like this are beneficial for all parties.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to come together, get on the same accord and build our training,” said Staff Sgt. Henry Smith, 18th Military Police Brigade. “It’s something we can build on and continue to move forward with.”