MARSEILLES, IL (07/11/2017) (readMedia)-- The Marseilles Training Center hosted more than 100 first responders across 10 agencies including the Illinois National Guardsmen, for an active shooter exercise, July 11. The exercise was meant to simulate responses amongst local agencies in the event an active shooter were to attempt to harm civilian and military personnel on an installation.
"Today we had a multi-staged event for an active shooter across multiple buildings with a multi-agency event response and the first at the Marseilles Training Center," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 John P. Chepulis of Chatham, Illinois, State Provost Marshall with the Joint Force Headquarters based in Springfield, Illinois. "Illinois Army National Guard started its own active shooter exercise program after the first active shooter incident that took place in Fort Hood. We started at Camp Lincoln in 2010, but in 2015, the Chattanooga shooting changed the way we viewed the vulnerabilities of our installations."
Chepulis said it was important to bring all the state agency partners together inside the installation in a community effort to ensure the safety of life and dispel any fear of agencies coming together.
When assigned the Force Protection Officer at the MTC, Sgt. 1st Class Anthony M. Jackson of Villa Park, Illinois, started the planning for this event about one year ago.
"I wanted to incorporate an active shooter exercise at Marseilles because it had never been done before," said Jackson. "It started by getting involved with the law enforcement community in the surrounding area to establish our goals as to what were to happen if they bring officers on the installation if this event were to take place in real life."
For Jackson, putting together the exercise was important. As a member of Jackson's former Illinois National Guard unit, Company G, 634th Brigade Support Battalion in Joliet, Illinois, Hasan Edmonds, was arrested for supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – a known global terrorist organization - and posed a potential insider threat to those around him.
"We had an insider threat and it's sad to know he was one of the Soldiers in my platoon so that led me to believe that this is something we should all be worried about," said Jackson. "I don't want that to happen so I find that implementing security measures reduces that threat significantly."
Jackson said it was important to ensure all the local organizations come together more often to improve communication and work as a cohesive unit. Overall, he said he was pleased with the how the event went.
Chepulis agreed the event met its stated goals.
"For the size, the scope and how far we are displaced from our headquarters, it went spectacular," said Chepulis. "Initial feedback is that this exercise is going to get high reviews, it'll give us opportunities to review our practices and make them better, and establish best practices moving forward."
He said the National Guard actively wants the local community to be involved in their training sites and to continue to work together in the future. For members of some local agencies, Tuesday's event really helped evaluate their agency's response practices.
"I know firsthand that this training is important," said Sgt. Phil M. Wire of Utica, Illinois, an officer with the Conservation Police and company first sergeant with Company B, 634th Brigade Support Battalion based in Joliet, Illinois. Wire was also in the same company as Edmonds. "I had the opportunity to observe my officers and we all take this training seriously. It was a good event and it opened people's eyes so we can continue to be better."
The training will take place across the state every year, and will return to Marseilles in the next few years.
Cutline One: Officers from the LaSalle County Sheriff's office, Illinois State Police and Marseilles Police, walk tactically down a hallway during an active shooter exercise at the Marseilles Training Center, July 11. The multi-agency event simulated three active shooters at the installation to view, analyze and improve the communication and operations of all agencies involved should the MTC experience an active shooter incident. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Christopher A. Garibay, 139th Mobile Public Affairs).
Cutline Two: Trooper Aaron J. Hollenbeck of Streator, Illinois with the LaSalle County Sheriff's office, scans the hallway ahead of him as he makes his way through the Marseilles Training Center Armory during an active shooter exercise, July 11. More than 100 first responders, Soldiers and civilians took part in the exercise. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Christopher A. Garibay, 139th Mobile Public Affairs).
Cutline Three: Trooper Matt A. Dalton of Mendota, Illinois with the Illinois State Police and Trooper Brian K. Underwood of Marseilles, Illinois with the LaSalle County Sheriff's Office secure a room during an active shooter exercise at (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Christopher A. Garibay, 139th Mobile Public Affairs).
Cutline Four: First Responders from the Marseilles Fire & Ambulance team triage casualties during an active shooter exercise at the Marseilles Training Center, July 11. More than 100 first responders, Soldiers and civilians took part in the exercise. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Christopher A. Garibay, 139th Mobile Public Affairs).
For high resolution photos, please contact the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office at email@example.com
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