JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. —
A vehicle barreled past the gate guards and sped toward the McGuire-side flightline, the driver’s intent unclear.
Within seconds, a call to action buzzed across the hand-held radios.
Tires screeched as response vehicles maneuvered and altered course to seek out the suspect. Blue and red lights flashed while sirens blared as the defenders blitzed down the road to challenge the offender.
Within minutes, the suspect and passenger had been cornered by four patrol cars. Security Forces Airmen and U.S. Navy Masters-at-Arms fanned out in the grassy field running alongside the airfield and bellowed commands through a loudspeaker.
“Driver, step out of the vehicle or we will release the K9 unit!”
The driver was uncooperative and the dog was set upon him, biting his padded arm and taking him to the ground with ease.
Following, it was the passengers’ turn to exit the vehicle. Initially cooperative, the passenger made an attempt to fight back as the defenders closed the gap with handcuffs ready. In a flash, the passenger hit the floor, unprepared for the speed and finesse of the takedown. He was completely pacified by law enforcement.
The situation was under control and the training had been a success.
“In a real world scenario we want to take suspects down as soon as possible so they do not have the opportunity to fight,” said U.S. Navy Master-at-Arms 2 Matthew Patrick, 87th Security Forces Squadron. “It prevents the situation from escalating; it’s for our safety and for theirs.”
Spontaneous training like this is not uncommon for the 87th SFS, said Patrick. The on-the-fly drills are designed to ensure the force is ready to perform a quick and safe response to a variety of situations around the installation.
“The craziest situations are sometimes the smoothest because that is what we train for the most,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Ackerman 87th SFS law enforcement desk sergeant. “When things hit the fan you need to have the team on the same page – all ready to go.”
The interoperability of the 87th SFS provides unique insight into how other branches conduct law enforcement - bringing new ideas to the table.
“I really believe that we’re all doing good things here,” said Patrick. “I am happy that I am working with the Air Force. We’re all together, and I think that’s better for everyone.”