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Security Forces train to Defend

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Senior Airman Cameron Chilcote, 21st Security Forces Squadron unit scheduler, demonstrates the ‘dry stun’ aspect of a X26 Taser during a training course on Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 7, 2016. After the probes have been fired the X26 Taser is still capable of administering 50,000 volts of electricity through direct application which is referred to as a dry stun. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Senior Airman Cameron Chilcote, 21st Security Forces Squadron unit scheduler, demonstrates the ‘dry stun’ aspect of a X26 Taser during a training course on Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 7, 2016. After the probes have been fired the X26 Taser is still capable of administering 50,000 volts of electricity through direct application which is referred to as a dry stun. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Airman 1st Class Mekah Baker, 21st Security Forces Squadron patrolman, practices his 45 degree, reaction side strike during the practical application portion of the Baton and Taser training course at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 7, 2016. Baton training emphasized the officers need for balance between gaining control of a subject versus causing harm. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Airman 1st Class Mekah Baker, 21st Security Forces Squadron patrolman, practices his 45 degree, reaction side strike during the practical application portion of the Baton and Taser training course at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 7, 2016. Baton training emphasized the officers need for balance between gaining control of a subject versus causing harm. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Tech. Sgt. Brett Marzo, 21st Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog trainer, attempts to talk down a hostile subject in a simulated scenario during Baton and Taser training at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 7, 2016. Trainees are taught to attempt to talk down a situation before resulting to force to subdue an uncooperative suspect. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Tech. Sgt. Brett Marzo, 21st Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog trainer, attempts to talk down a hostile subject in a simulated scenario during Baton and Taser training at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 7, 2016. Trainees are taught to attempt to talk down a situation before resulting to force to subdue an uncooperative suspect. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Airman 1st Class Mekah Baker, 21st Security Forces Squadron patrolman, fires a Taser during the practical application portion of the Baton and Taser training course at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 7, 2016. Trainees were taught how to adjust the use of a Taser to deal with resisting subjects in a various situations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Airman 1st Class Mekah Baker, 21st Security Forces Squadron patrolman, fires a Taser during the practical application portion of the Baton and Taser training course at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 7, 2016. Trainees were taught how to adjust the use of a Taser to deal with resisting subjects in a various situations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Isaac Lopez, 21st Security Forces Squadron trainer, demonstrates proper baton technique during the practical application portion of the Baton and Taser training course at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 7, 2016. Lopez went over basic strikes and angles in order to apply the proper amount of force in a hostile situation without causing undo injury. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Isaac Lopez, 21st Security Forces Squadron trainer, demonstrates proper baton technique during the practical application portion of the Baton and Taser training course at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 7, 2016. Lopez went over basic strikes and angles in order to apply the proper amount of force in a hostile situation without causing undo injury. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE Colo.- -- They’re the first to greet you when entering a base, they stand ready and willing to defend at a moments notice, they’re the men and women of the 21st Security Forces Squadron. Charged with maintaining the security of the entire base, they undergo continual training to be able to handle any situation that might arise. Training such as the baton and Taser class held here on 7 July.

From a domestic dispute to an active shooter or a gate runner they need to be prepared to meet any and all threats, but with what force? Use-of-force training emphasizes de-escalation and flexible tactics in a way that minimizes the need to rely on force all together, particularly lethal force.

“How they act is how you react,” said Airman 1st Class Kyle Cromwell, 21st Security Forces Squadron member.

Cromwell explained that the emphasis in training is on using “Verbal Judo” first, attempting to talk down a situation before moving on to a use of force. When a use of force is required it should be equal to the aggression and only enough to cause the behavior to subside.

There are three non-lethal weapons that Security Forces members are authorized to carry; pepper spray, a Taser or a baton.

Security Forces members who are issued the pepper spray as their non-lethal have to be exposed to it during training. The requirement is so they will understand its effect and know what to do should they be standing downwind from a spray plume or an attacker uses it on them. It is highly possible for an individual to fight through the irritation of the pepper spray and continue being aggressive, causing an officer to have to escalate their use of force.

Next in the non-lethal arsenal is the tactical extendable baton. When using the baton the emphasis is on aiming for large areas of muscle such as the thigh or upper arm.

“You don’t aim for the head or the knees,” said Cromwell. “It’s potentially a deadly blunt object so you only aim where you’ll cause no significant damage, just enough to gain compliance.”

Finally there is the Taser, this weapon fires two electrodes that latch directly into muscle fibers in order to administer a five-second jolt of 50,000 volts, causing them to contract uncontrollably. According to the website of TASER International, an Arizona company that provides electronic devices for use in law enforcement, a Taser incapacitates a person by high jacking the reins of the central nervous system.

“When going through the training instructors advise getting tased yourself,” said Cromwell. “It’s so you can understand the pain someone is going through, so you’re not abusing your power or causing undo harm. It’s definitely a once in a lifetime experience cause you only want to “Ride the Lighting’ once.”

It is the job of Security Forces to protect, fight and defend, their training provides them with the tools to do so. Through it they achieve the mental and physical toughness that allows them to protect their fellow Airmen every day.

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