Vaughn and Mark,
I am not sure if you two remember me or not but I am the one who's church hosted the Intruder Response training led by Vaughn at my church here in Columbus, Ohio and 3 friends and I came to the state prison in Moundsville, WV for the 2-day low-light engagements class in 2008 that was taught by Mark. I attended the low light class with John XXXXX, Tony XXXXX and Jon XXXX.
I want to tell you two about an incident we had in which we used some of the low-light strategies/techniques to not only protect ourselves, but it kept us from having to shoot a mentally ill person who had several edged weapons as well as a lighter and an aerosol can.
Tony XXXXX, another officer and myself responded to this call. We were told ahead of time that a 21 year old man with a history of mental illness had a knife and had tried to barricade himself in a room after telling family members he was going to kill himself. This man has attempted suicide in the past as is known to be violent with everyone he comes into contact with, especially police.
Tony, John XXXXXX and I have had plenty of opportunity to practice and implement many of the low-light techniques and strategies we have learned through many building searches, force-on-force scenarios and our active shooter training. John XXXXX and I also attended Strategos' Active Shooter instructor class in 2008 and we have emphasized flashlight work in that training as well. After any of the 3 of use our low-light training we usually talk with the other 2 and compare notes. But, this is the first time any of us have used it such a violent setting.
Tony posted at the doorway with his pistol while the subject was sitting on a bed and waving a knife. The subject had tried to barricade the door with clothes, blankets, pillows and several drawers from his dressers. We could only get the door open a few inches. The subject was also throwing objects at Tony.
Since the subject was stationary and not coming at Tony, Tony put his pistol light on strobe to disorient the subject while he sprayed OC in the subject's face. We don't have Tasers or similar devices so our less-lethal choices are limited, especially at a distance.
As is common with OC, the spray did not take affect right away and the subject still did not comply. The subject dropped the knife and then picked up an aerosol can and lighter. He tried several times to create a pseudo-flamethrower and spray it in Tony's direction.
Were very concerned about being burned or the subject setting the room/house on fire. I pushed on the door some more and since Tony had been using the strobe on his light, I chose to keep my light on constantly in his eyes and shot more OC into his eyes/face.
The OC finally took affect enough to cause the subject to drop all of his weapons and we safely secured him.
Thank you for what Strategos teaches and the positive impact that it has on law enforcement. We hope to train with you all again in the future. Be safe and we pray that Strategos continues to do well.
On October 19th, 2009, my partner, Marc and I, attended your Training class held at the campus of Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO. Both of us were extremely pleased with the information we received from your class. We were particularly impressed with the instruction in the modified prone and rear guard positions. Having had a few years training in Special Operations, neither of us had ever heard or have ever been taught anything like this.
As we talked the next night at work, we thought of ways to get the current training sessions to include these newly discovered maneuvers, which we both felt were beneficial to officer safety and conflict resolutions.
Unfortunately, our brain storming ideas were cut short due to our much loved criminal friends. Five subjects, who were all armed, engaged in an armed "car-jacking" and after spotting the car and a lengthy pursuit, all but one subject exited the vehicle, still in possession of those firearms.
As we exited, one subject decided he did not wish to go to jail and turned toward Marc and I pointing his pistol at us. I fired upon him striking him several times, however, he continued running. At first, I thought I missed him, but later in the investigation, we observed several blood droplets where I thought I shot him the first time. As he ran into to a dark driveway, toward the rear of the house, I followed.
This is where you come in. I would have normally just made a quick peek and went full speed after him; however this time, our recent discussion must have still been in my head, because as I peeked around the corner of the house, using the modified prone, I had just been taught by you and your instructors, there was the [suspect], turned facing the front where I would have come around, pointing his pistol at eye level, waiting for me.
Because of the decision to peek low, whether using the modified prone or not, I was able to observe him before he could adjust to me and I was able to end the threat by firing several more rounds, ending the threat.
In all, four of five suspects were captured and three handguns recovered.
I would like to offer a heart felt thank you to you and to all of your training staff who opened my eyes to something new. As I explained in our closing statements during the training, our department is sometimes stubborn to learn new things, resulting in the same old ways being taught to the troops. With just this one idea, (that of peeking low-using surprise), I feel that I avoided an unnecessary injury or end to my life.
I look forward to training with you in the future and I, along with my partner, are going to keep trying to spread the training we learned from you guys.
P.O. Curtis Burgdorf, 6500/304
Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department
“I loved everything about the training. Very well planned, well laid out, great curriculum. I would love to have other officers I work with participate in this training. Everybody could benefit from this training.”
Creve Coeur, Missouri
“Todd, thank you for your hard work and dedication! You have honed your craft and have a special way of instruction that commands attention and respect yet still remains a fun and exciting environment to learn. Looking forward to future instruction.”
Florissant Valley FPD, Missouri
“The multimedia was just enough, the curriculum and presentation were great, you met all of the training objectives. You must keep the practical exercises, they are a great learning experience for all students and role-players.”
Medical Operations Officer,
7th WMD CST, Missouri
“Fantastic information and great delivery. The practical exercises could not have been better. This is a course that every agency [with a working dog] should attend.”
Firefighter-Paramedic, K9 SAR
Florissant Valley FPD, Missour
The class you taught on 7/14/05 was fantastic. I realy learned alot about low level shooting. The hour you spent with me on flashlight tactics was awsome. Thank you. I never thought I could shoot a shotgun with my left side.
Deputy John E Swistak
Palm Beach County Sheriff Dept.
First off, I want to thank you for a great week of training! This was the first time that I had been to a training of this level since I left the military. The tone for the week was set early and the professionalism never dropped. It was rewarding and refreshing to train with the quality of the individuals involved with this class.
When my department had asked me to become a firearms instructor, I didn't even consider some of the aspects that were taught in the Strategos course. But now I have the tools and knowledge to "twist the arm" of my administration to create realistic, valid, and SAFE firearms training.
Thanks again and you can be sure that I will include the Strategos name in all of my classes.
Tactical Firearms Instructor
I just want to thank you for Coaching such a GREAT CLASS, I fell I'm a better Police Officer for taking it, I had a great time and I hope I can help you in future classes because this will only help me to be a better Firearms Coach, keep up the great work and THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!, Please tell Todd and Paul it was an honor to having them on the range.
Vernon "Dutch" Becker
I just wanted to drop you a line or two to offer again my sincerest thanks for an educational experience like none other in my career.
Last Tactical Firearms Instructor's Course was truly a life saving experience, not just for me and the other members of the class, but for those we will pass our knowledge and experiences off to. I have not received training in such a high paced, well thought out and planned, organized and effective manner. The days were long, but each second was worth the time and effort. I can't thank you enough for bringing these skills to us. Your organization is definitely saving lives one round at a time. Keep up the good work, I look forward to your next seminar in my area.
Loran F. Freeman,
Independence Missouri Police Department
Thank you so much for the wonderful training experience last week. I want you to know that I really learned a lot and I have been practicing with the long guns. I appreciate the attention Charlie was able to give me. You do a wonderful job of training and I have recommended you to several people already. Please be sure to let me know the course schedule ongoing as my husband and several of my instructors want to attend your class. I can tell you I'll be back for more!! I received my certificate and it sure was worth the work. Stay safe and happy shooting!!
Patricia A. Stoneking
Target Master Shooting Academy, LLC
NRA Certified Training Counselor
Bonner Springs, KS 66012
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