Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
The Special Weapons and Tactics teams from the Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Indio and Cathedral City police departments joined up with the Combat Center Provost Marshal Office’s Special Reaction Team.
The Lower Desert teams make up a consolidated group called Desert Regional SWAT.
The teams went to Range 111 for a live-fire experience they couldn’t duplicate outside the Combat Center.
“Live-fire isn’t something we typically get to do,” said Palm Springs Police Department Sgt. Bryan Anderson, team leader, Desert Regional SWAT.
This iteration of training isn't the first time Desert Regional SWAT has trained with the guys from SRT. The group from the Combat Center has gone to several locations to train with area SWAT. The team looks to train with them on a monthly basis.
“We’ve usually trained with simulation rounds, and we’ve trained in Camp Pendleton,” said Andrerson. “But, this is the best training that we’ve had.”
The visiting police officers weren’t the only ones who benefited from the day’s events. SRT learned new SWAT techniques and shared ideas with their local counterparts.
“We gain a lot from the SWAT guys just being here,” said Marine Sgt. Matthew McCaskill, commander, Combat Center SRT. “They have a lot more experience out there with hostages and barricade situations.”
A Desert Regional SWAT sniper also came along to test out SRT’s sniper range.
“It’s a pretty nice range out here,” said PSPD Sgt. Frank Browning, sniper. “The range has drop-down targets, so I know right away if I hit it or not.”
The teams practiced breaching drills at one of the Military Operations on Urban Terrain towns. The unfamiliar location kept the Desert Regional SWAT team on their toes.
“It’s good for the SWAT teams to practice in a place they haven’t before,” said Kennith Charles, SRT member. “It gives them something like what they would get in the real world. It’s something different so they have to adapt to the situation.”
Desert Regional SWAT ended the day with a debrief about how their training went and the role the new location had in what they learned. General consensus from the police officers was that they enjoyed the day and are eager to train here again.
“We really appreciate what the Marines do here,” Anderson said. “It’s an honor to train here beside them.”