Every day, thousands of U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center employees drive through the gates to work and are greeted by members of the ERDC security force. However, these men and women are not there just to check employee credentials or sign-in visitors — they have a much more critical role. Their job is to maintain the safety and security for everyone on each ERDC installation.
Security guards from the ERDC Headquarters, the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory and the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory attended the Department of the Army Security Guards Mobile Training Team Train-the-Trainer Course held on the ERDC main campus in Vicksburg, Miss., February 3 - 13, 2020.
The course, the first of its kind at ERDC, was designed not only to train guards in their duties, but also to teach them the skills necessary to pass that knowledge on to their peers.
“It was a multi-pronged approach,” said Rick Maillet, chief of security and law enforcement at ERDC. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters came to us with the opportunity to do some Department of the Army Security Guards training, and we asked if we could do train-the-trainer.”
USACE agreed and Bradley Wilkins, chief of antiterrorism and force protection at ERDC, jumped in and began to organize the session. “He spent months of planning and coordinating with personnel at the headquarters level to make this all possible — including the funding for this event.” said Maillet.
Course objectives comprised of training on military and civil laws and regulations, as well as about policies and procedures, firearm functions and maintenance and the use of non-lethal force. Students also participated in vehicle inspection practical exercises, active shooter drills and Oleoresin Capsicum Aerosol training, otherwise known as “pepper spray.” The capstone of the program was the guards preparing and presenting their own training briefs for evaluation.
“It was the latest and greatest training support package from Fort Leonard Wood — from the Department of the Army Security Guards school house.” said Maillet.
“They will get certificates for train-the-trainer, Department of the Army Security Guards force training and non-lethal weapons training for pepper spray,” he said. “Basically, they end up with three certificates, but we were able to tailor it to us.”
Lt. Col. Michael Harding, ERDC deputy commander, presented the certificates to the graduates at a ceremony held on the last day of classes. “The job that you’re doing — with the professionalism that you execute it — is recognized by the command,” he said.
“These classes are important because the environments change. If we look back at threats 30 years ago, 20 years ago — or even last week — they’ve evolved and changed,” said Harding. “This training is important to help us identify those threats and stay safe.”
“It’s always good to make sure that we keep training our people and bringing all the newest information to them to make sure that they are able to go out there and perform their jobs the best they can,” said William Rowell, lead security guard at CRREL. “The train-the-trainer has given us the ability to take this information and bring it back to our entire guard force to ensure we’re giving them the best training we possibly can to make them the most professional organization possible.”
“This is an important milestone and event in their career, and it means something to the command,” Harding said. “I know I feel safer today knowing that we have trained professionals who not only just completed training, but can share what they learned with their peers.”
Maillet hopes to send more security personnel to this type of training later this year and have another course at ERDC next year. “We’re going to keep it going and get as many people trained up as we possibly can,” he said.