Photo Information

A Marine handcuffs a suspect during the PMO’s active shooter training at the Tax Center Nov. 1. The Marines and civilians received instruction on the various ways to enter and clear a building of an active shooter.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom

Cherry Point police conduct active shooter training

10 Nov 2011 | Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom

Screams of fear and desperation coupled with the loud recurring crack of Airsoft pistols rang out from the Cherry Point Tax Center as military police officers from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s Provost Marshal’s Office conducted active shooter training Nov. 1.

An active shooter situation is when there is a shooter in the area firing his or her weapon. This event causes the contact team to go from clearing room-to-room to direct movement to the shooter. Role players tested the PMO Marines’ ability to respond to an active shooter situation through several realistic scenarios.

“Before this training, if a scenario comes up on the air station PMO would have to wait for a Special Weapons and Tactics unit to show up to secure an area or building,” said Tom R. Biller, the director of training with Marine Corps Police Academy East. “After this training the base’s PMO unit can go in and secure the area before SWAT is called, which means more security for the residents of Cherry Point.”

The Marines of PMO spent the day conducting various scenarios in four-man teams. They were tested on all elements such as movement to the scene, securing suspects and rescuing hostages.

“This training gets the adrenaline pumping and causes the officers to react to things that could happen,” said Biller. “The Marines need to work as a team and learn what not to do in an active shooter situation.”

The scenarios forced the Marines to react quickly to pinpoint all suspects. They must make swift decisions concerning possible victims and be able to formulate a plan to eliminate the hostile situation, said Maj. Terrence E. Fox, the Cherry Point Provost Marshal.

“Each of these scenarios work on the same basic skills,” said Fox. “This training will test their skills against instructors in a safe, secure area where they can make mistakes and learn from them.”

The instructors also taught the officers an important lesson about what they call the “fatal funnel” said Biller.

“Fatal funnels are areas, such as doorways, where a suspect’s fire is directed,” said Biller. “We teach them to move and fight through the funnel.”

Biller said he believes this training will make the air station a safer place.

“This training benefits all residents of Cherry Point,” said Biller. “The families benefit from a safer air station and the Marines benefit by learning a new skill.”

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point