In response to concerns about school shooting, Jacksboro Police Department Sgts. Houston Gass and Banning Sweatland realized the need for additional safety and accuracy training for emergency service providers. Host Larry Kortkamp sits down with 2018 Law Enforcement Today Magazine Citizen of the Year Award recipient Sgt. Gass to discuss the Emergency Operations Proving Grounds, or EOPG now used to facilitate that training. Often responders are dispatched from different organizations, so learning how to work together better saves lives and shortens the duration of the crisis.
Classroom and situational training helps responders remain calm even in chaotic scenarios.
“If we’re not the cool kids in the room, everyone else will panic … you must know you’re going to win …” ~ Houston Gass
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You can’t picture yourself defeated. If you do, you will die. This type of training helps the mind have an expectation of getting out alive. There is a serious lack of training between disciplines, so working together to get students, businesses and patrons, and church members to safety is a huge step in the right direction.
Much conversations surround this topic today. An armed assailant is dangerous no matter what type of weapon that may be wielded. Situations are fluid and they always change, so keeping people calm helps stabilize erratic behavior. Emergency responders are not always police officers and fire departments, they can also be school teachers.
Firearms courses for pistols and long guns are used for each situation. Working together in unison is the best opportunity for everyone making it out alive. Felony traffic stops, sniper operations – EOPG is teaching curriculum our first responders need to work through.
- 3600 acre firing range
- 25,000 sq ft building for simunation training
- Special forces backgrounds
How do they get the word out? Training flyers go out to local police departments, EOPG.org, and word of mouth. The Not All Heroes Wear Capes Annual Event is a fundraiser that helps them gain attention from the communities they want to serve.
Houston started his career in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Later as a police officer, he was shot in the face during a violent offender event. Firefighters came to his rescue, and he talks about it in great detail. 21 surgeries in 27 months covered facial reconstruction, neck reconstruction, new teeth – he had only been married 6 months when this happened and they had combined their families.
First responders that have been injured in the line of duty are human beings just like us. Medic, fire, police – when these things happen, this group of people are left picking up the pieces an often left to recover in loneliness. Sgt. Gass wants us to know what they go through so we can be supportive, and not every injury is visible.
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