by Scott Prater
In an effort to raise awareness about its capabilities, the 50th Security Forces Squadron hosted a Crime Prevention Day event at the Schriever visitor’s center May 27.
McGruff the Crime Dog showed up to greet attendees and take photos with children from the base housing area, the 21st Space Wing military working dog unit showed how its canines help apprehend suspects, and members of the 50th SFS brought a weapons display for attendees to study. Staff Sgt. Armando Ozuna, 50th SFS, also explained the capabilities of the Taser non-lethal weapon, which has just been introduced to the squadron.
“We put on this event to kick off the crime prevention program,” said Staff Sgt. Lauren Young, 50th SFS, NCO in charge, resource protection and crime prevention. “We’ve always had a Crime Prevention program, but up until recently we haven’t had a base housing area, and the big population of people living on base. So with the base housing area growing we’re trying to promote the program and make people aware that they can contact us if they ever see something suspicious.”
Sergeant Ozuna, the only certified Taser instructor in the 50th SFS, said security forces members at Schriever will soon be training with the new non-lethal weapon over the next few months. He explained that the hand-held device shoots two probes, with connected copper wires, into a target. It holds 50,000 volts when the wires leave the Taser, but drops down to 1,200 volts when the probes enter the target – and it delivers a five-second “ride.”
Security Forces members must complete a training course in order to bring the Taser on a patrol.
“The course is a four-hour block on how to use the Taser, what it’s all about, the nomenclature and the different cartridges used,” Sergeant Ozuna said. “Then training attendees can take a voluntary exposure, which includes the five-second ride and three drive stunts: one in the chest to simulate a charging perpetrator, another in the forearm and another on the hand.”
Staff Sgt. Jesse Herwick, 21st SFS MWD trainer, followed Sergeant Ozuna’s Taser lecture by leading attendees through a military working dog demonstration. In collaboration with several of the unit’s dogs, 21st SFS MWD officers demonstrated their techniques for apprehending or controlling suspects. With some 21st SFS officers posing as suspects, the dogs chased, guarded and chomped down on their suspects, who wore protective gear to guard against injury.
“The dogs’ main mission is drug and explosive detection,” Sergeant Herwick said. “We also do psychological and physical deterrence, meaning we do bite work if suspects run from us.”
The 21st SFS MWD holds 15 dogs, all of which have deployed, and Sergeant Herwick said the dogs become extremely important in deployed areas, where dogs often find weapons caches and improvised explosive devices.
“Locally, it’s pretty rare for us to find explosives, but we find narcotics on occasion,” Sergeant Harwick said. “We’ve also been called to work bomb threats in schools and every summer we do some joint training along with Fort Carson, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs Police Department, Fountain PD and Castle Rock PD.”
Dogs and trainers in the program all attend a joint military service dog training school at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
Overall, Sergeant Young was happy with the turnout for the event.
“It seemed like the base housing community had a good time,” she said. “I think people who attended gained a new appreciation for what we do here in security forces.”
She reiterated that anyone who witness suspicious activity on base to report it to 50th SFS at 567-5641. For more information about the Crime Prevention program, call 567-3490.