Minnesota National Guard and Norwegian Home Guard Soldiers conduct domestic operations training with local law enforcement
June 28, 2016 (CAMP RIPLEY, Minnesota) — Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard’s 34th Red Bull Infantry Division and the Norwegian Home Guard received training from local Minnesota law enforcement officers during a three-day domestic operations training event on Camp Ripley, June 24-26, 2016.
The training event, meant to provide both Minnesota and Norwegian Soldiers with an understanding of inter-agency cooperation between law enforcement and the military, consisted of basic instruction in crisis negotiation, active shooters and hostage rescue.
“We were asked to participate in this training exercise, which I consider an honor,” said Washington County SWAT team member Chris Rheault who is a crisis negotiator and also a full-time Woodbury police officer. “This training provides everyone an opportunity to share tactics. Although we’re instructing the training, it really provides us with an opportunity to all learn from each other. These Soldiers have different experiences and teach us just as much as we can teach them.”
During part of the training, Soldiers listened as Rheault explained his first-hand account of the 2012 Demetrius Ballinger hostage negotiation that took place at the Red Roof Inn in Woodbury. The Soldiers, wanting to know more, asked a number of relevant questions about the incident which resulted in a young man’s 33-year prison sentence for attempted murder and sexual assault.
The first day of the exercise, the Soldiers received basic instruction in crisis negotiation, active shooters and hostage rescue. On the second day, the law enforcement officers went into further detail about hostage rescue negotiations. The final day consisted of a large-scale culminating exercise where troops were able to put their training to the test.
“The training has been fantastic,” said Norwegian Home Guard Troop Commander Odd-Arild LongstA�yl. “It has added great value for our organization. This facility provides multiple scenario training at the drop of a hat. Back home we may be asked to guard installations or clear buildings. This facility lets us train in those tasks and do it in a manner that is safe for my men.”
LongstA�yl went on to explain that in his district in Norway, the Home Guard is often called upon for a variety of domestic events, so it’s important for his team to train to work with local law enforcement. In his mountainous region of Norway, his team typically works with the Red Cross and Mountain Rescue to find people who are lost in the mountains, but there are times when they may need to provide additional security for civilian installations as well.
“It’s important that there are people among us in our communities who can react to these possible domestic issues. And, now, we will have people who are ready to react because of training events like this,” he said.
Minnesota National Guard Sgt. David Patterson, a military policeman with the 34th Military Police Company, said that although the military and the civilian teams do similar things, like clearing buildings and room searches, each organization seems to concentrate on different details.
“In the military, we train on certain tactics and techniques that we might use in a wartime situation,” said Patterson, an MP with the National Guard, and also a senior deputy for Stearns County Sheriff’s Department. “Here, we can cross train. The law enforcement response teams open our eyes to things we may not concentrate on. They offer us options we can use to solve crises without the need for the amount of force we may be used to in the military.”
Several law enforcement agencies participated in the training event including police officers who are a part of SWAT teams from St. Cloud, East Metro and Morrison, Sherburne and Washington County Sheriff’s Offices. Many of the law enforcement officers volunteered to be a part of the training event.
Several Soldiers from around 34th Red Bull Infantry Division participated in the event as well Soldiers from a few other Minnesota National Guard units.
The Minnesota National Guard has partnered with the Norwegian Home Guard units for the past 43 years. The Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange is the longest-running military exchange partnership between any two nations. The yearly exchange promotes good will and sharpens military readiness between the nations, as well as provides opportunities for cultural understanding among its participants.
by Master Sgt. Ashlee J. L. Sherrill
34th Red Bull Infantry Division Public Affairs