Fort Wainwright and Fairbanks Police Department train on tactical skills

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KXDF) The Fort Wainwright Special Reaction Team or SRT, trained this week with the Fairbanks Police Department’s SWAT team and went through the basic SWAT course. Fort Wainwright has an approximately 13 person team with Department of Army civilians, soldiers from Fort wainwright and airmen from Eielson Air Force Base.

The Fort Wainwright Special Reaction Team or SRT, trained this week with the Fairbanks Police Department’s SWAT team and went through the basic SWAT course. (Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)

Wednesday had the agility portion of the course where the teams had to go through an obstacle course on Fort Wainwright. Charles Mansfield, SRT Commander with the Fort Wainwright Police Department, says teamwork is crucial to what they do. “Everything that we do is with a team… you have to know what everyone’s doing, really your life [relies] on your team members,” said Mansfield.

Mansfield says the course is five days long, with 50-60 hours, spending several days at the range. With many of the drills getting the team to get used to their team members firing weapons around them. “Being so close to each other and having weapons fired over your shoulder, next to you, right behind you, it builds confidence and it builds trust in the team,” said Mansfield.

One new team member Cassandra Rodriguez says it has been a tough week mentally and physically but she is learning a lot about the team. “Just with the last two days on the range, I could tell that they have a good groove together, they communicate very well, move very well together, so I’m learning slowly going into it, but it is a really good team,” said Rodriguez.

Gregory Foster, Lieutenant with the Fairbanks Police Department, says because FPD shares jurisdiction with Fort Wainwright military police on the military installation, they train together so that they can work together. “If we encounter any type of high risk situation that exceeds the capabilities of your standard patrol unit, that’s when SWAT is called in. Could be a hostage rescue situation, could be a barricaded subject, person in mental health crisis, where we’re trying to get through that initial response to a long term solution, talking the person down, whatever it may be,” said Foster.

Foster says in a training environment, FPD and Fort Wainwright SRT get to share lessons learned and talk about tactical issues they have faced in the past.

“Our goal is to never be used, but in the event something comes out that we have to, by this, the community, the leadership, will have the confidence to know that we’re fully trained and able to take on any mission that they give us and restore order back on the installation,” said Mansfield.

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