The 1194th Engineer Company (Vertical) Ohio Army National Guard joined forces with the special response teams (SRT) of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Ross Correctional Institution (RCI) of the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections for civil disturbance training on February 6-7, 2010, in Chillicothe.
Lieutenant Colonel Bernardino C. Capriato Jr., 1194th battalion commander, said, “The reason for continued training is that you never know when we’ll be called upon. This training helps build a relationship and camaraderie among the National Guard and state and local agencies, making it easier to work together and subdue any possible threats.”
Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Tiffiany Coriell, a trooper at the Ironton Post, helped plan and implement the training. “Strong and resilient relationships with state and local support agencies are critical to readiness,” she said. “It was enlightening to see how agencies on the civilian side of the house provided real world solutions to the problems associated with unruly crowds.”
The 171 soldiers of the 1194th were instructed by members of both special response teams in the best ways to control the two most common types of riots: the prison riot and the civilian riot. The ultimate goal of any riot control procedure is to protect life and property. Soldiers were instructed in the proper methods of securing, searching, and arresting rioters, as well as tactics of crowd dispersal. Several rules of engagement were discussed. Correctional Officer Chris Kemper, an RCI SRT team leader, reminded the soldiers, “Cohesiveness is key, being able to trust the guy to your left and right,” while Staff Lieutenant Steve Rosta, the Patrol’s SRT tactical commander added, “Never give a command that can be understood, always give a command that cannot be misunderstood.”
Charlie Heiss, public information officer for RCI said, “This was a large scale, logistically challenging exercise in which relationships were formed, and a foundation built for further multi-agency training.”
Topics covered in the two-day training included:
• Search, Apprehension and Detention
• Riot Shield and Riot Baton Techniques
• Less Lethal Camp Sherman Range Demonstration
• Civil Disturbance Formations and Tactics
The training culminated with a mock riot. Units from RCI SRT and approximately 12 members from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Auxiliary acted as rioters. Members of the Patrol’s SRT critiqued, monitored and acted as safety officers during the event. The mission for the 1194th was to control, subdue, disperse and arrest rioters. Lieutenant Jared Hoffman of the 1194th said, “The training was excellent, realistic, and battlefield tested and I look forward to implementing a plan to make this an annual training event.”
Company Commander Captain Adam Sagraves agreed that the training provided by the special response teams exceeded accepted standards. “It is imperative that the Guard is prepared to deal with issues like civil disturbances on the home front and this training is a means toward that end,” he said.
The 1194th completed the weekend with an awards ceremony for the special response teams. Shannon Smith of Life Ambulance was also recognized for providing lunch and organizing medical support for the entire training weekend. Lieutenant Michael Gore, commander of the Patrol's Ironton Post and Tpr. Coriell’s post commander, received the Patriotic Employer award for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve from the Department of Defense. Lieutenant Gore said, “Coriell spent countless hours of her own time to ensure that her unit would receive the best training possible.”
Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Capriato and Captain Sagraves commended Staff Sergeant/Trooper Coriell for creating, organizing and implementing the training.
In reviews of the training, the soldiers of the 1194th indicated the training was successful and recommended three full days of tactical training next year as opposed to the two days they received. Soldiers also indicated that they felt better prepared to control a riot situation and work alongside special response teams.