Editor’s note: If you are, or know of a victim of domestic violence, please call the Family Advocacy – Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate at 385-209-1811 or state of Utah LINKline at 800-897-5465.
HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Earlier this month, 75th Security Forces Squadron Airmen took part in a field training exercise to learn techniques and best practices when responding to incidents involving domestic disputes.
“The ultimate goal was to provide our less experienced patrolmen with simulated, hands-on training by putting them into completely unknown situations, which is something security forces deals with all the time,” said Master Sgt. Corey Thornburg, 75th SFS non-commissioned officer in charge of training.
The instruction included a half-dozen different scenarios, each beginning with a patrol being dispatched to respond to an incident. Upon arrival, the patrol would encounter role-players engaged in a simulated dispute ranging from a heated argument to domestic violence.
Tech. Sgt. Jaclyn Fessler, 75th SFS criminal investigator, led much of the training with her colleague Staff Sgt. Correy Lee. She said domestic responses can be one of the most dangerous calls a Defender can be faced with and patrols need to know how to respond to them.
“It’s important for Defenders to have the confidence to safely respond and assume control over a situation in order to guarantee safety for the victims and ensure justice is served for the offender,” Fessler said.
When a patrol arrives to a real-world scene, “they often have little to no information to go on,” Thornburg said. This requires them to determine a number things such as what happened, who the victim is and who the suspect is, if children were involved or present, and if there were any witnesses.
While the training provided the squadron’s Airmen with a realistic environment to practice de-escalating situations, Thornburg said it also gave the unit’s seasoned Defenders an opportunity to share personal experiences about the threats and other variables that can be encountered during a domestic response.
First sergeants and representatives from Hill AFB’s Family Advocacy team also participated in the training to explain the critical role they have with an incident. In addition, some of the base’s leadership attended to witness the simulations to see how security forces handles difficult situations.
Senior Master Sgt. Shaun Comley, 75th SFS first sergeant, said the training was valuable in that in reinforced for his unit’s Airmen the importance of remaining calm, gathering all the details, and knowing how to collaborate with Team Hill’ support agencies.
“Early intervention is critical when it comes to domestic disputes,” Comley said. “I encourage Airmen to seek help from our Air Force’s support agencies prior to a situation escalating to a point where security forces has to intervene or violence occurs.”