One group guards the gates while the other patrols inside of them, but they both have come together to make U.S. Army Garrison Natick a safer place.

In their combined training sessions Nov. 1 and Nov. 5 at a site in Hudson, Mass., USAG Natick police officers and security guards continued to learn how to work as a team.

"This is the second evolution of our active-shooter (training)," said USAG Natick Police Lt. Dave McCrillis, the training officer. "Now we're going to tie in some of the tactical stuff."

In recent training, the police and security guards had gone through classroom sessions and practiced shooting at the range on the move against an armed assailant. At Hudson, they moved together as teams, did threshold evaluations before entering rooms, and practiced entering the rooms.

As the Nov. 1 training day progressed, the movements became more fluid.

"We've got a combination of police and guards," said Lt. James Santoro. "I think it's going well. Everyone's working together perfectly, as we should. We have to train together, because we're in such close proximity.

"The key is training - constantly, over and over and over. It's just like the firearms training. Everything is muscle memory."

Personnel moved between three stations over the course of the days at Hudson.

"Even though they're qualified for the job, we're at different levels," said McCrillis, noting the variety of experience levels. "The biggest point is to have them all together, but it slows down training. It's kind of like the double-edged sword."

McCrillis said the Hudson training simply added the latest techniques to what participants already had learned in the military or elsewhere.

"There's no right or wrong thing to do if you stick to the basics," McCrillis said. "The idea is to give them the drills that they can apply to anything.

"We can't teach them a solution for every scenario, but we can give them the basic drills. The flexibility allows them to apply (the techniques) to any situation."

Matt Langlois, a new security guard at Natick, said he absorbed a great deal from the training.
"It's a lot of different ways of looking at things, because it's a different type of situation," Langlois said. "In the military, you don't really train for this type of situation. You have to go in with an open mind, break some old habits and stuff like that to be able to learn and get something out of it."

Langlois added that the instructors did a good job explaining the techniques.

"For me, there's some new things to grasp and understand and think about," said Langlois, "but I think it all really makes sense when you slow it down and think about the way that we're doing things. I think it makes good sense."

Mike Bren, a Natick police officer, agreed about the benefits of the day at Hudson.

"It strengthens you, because this is something we don't do every day," said Bren, "and with everything going on these days, you need to know how to do it. You're not going to do it perfect, but you should be able to maneuver and do it effectively.

"It's definitely something we need to know. You train to win. If you don't train, you don't win."