BOSSIER PARISH (KYTX)- Operators with the Bossier Sheriff's Office Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT) returned home Thursday with good results from four days of Mock Prison Riot training and competition May 4-7 at the decommissioned West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, WV.
The seven-person team, composed of Lt. Daniel Talley, Deputies Leighton Becker, Joshua Sexton, Larry Weaver, Chad Gauthier, Robert Thompson and Chris Pulliam, placed 10th overall in a competition that had 1,100 participants with teams from 32 states and 13 countries. Lt. Mark Lyons also served on the team as the logistician and videographer.
"This was our first time as a team to compete," said Lt. Talley, team leader, "and we did well and got to network with a lot of other people. This is a team that started a year-and-a-half ago, and we went up there to do our best, but we weren't sure what to expect since it was our first time." The training and competition was physically and mentally demanding, and the team did well.
There were a total of 15 teams who competed in the overall competition that consisted of five single events of hostage situations, riots, officer down, obstacle course and shooting.
A Super SWAT Challenge was added as a sixth event, and it had 30 teams competing.
Even though this was the Bossier Sheriff's Office team first time to compete, they bested five other veteran teams who had competed at the Mock Riot Prison before. The team's best single event was shooting, where they placed 6 out of 15.
Talley also said his team was praised by the instructors for their tactics and professionalism. "They told us ‘you guys did everything sound, and your team has dedication'. They also said ‘you guys looked professional in your uniforms'. This just goes to show the discipline and professional attitude our guys have.
Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington says this is another example of how the agency's motto of ‘CPR' is so important. "Our commitment of CPR - Courteous, Professional and Responsive - is something we strive for each and every day in Bossier Parish," he said. "It's refreshing and encouraging to see such commitment displayed elsewhere by our deputies, even in a training and competition environment. I am proud of the team's accomplishments and success."
"The training and competition gave us a better understanding of how larger agencies work in how they deal with various jail scenarios like hostage situations and escapes," said Talley.
"Things are different in the mindset of training," Talley said. "It's no longer just a riot line with shields and batons…things are more thought out, there is more technology, not only to keep officers safe but to keep inmates safe."
The CERT Team at the Bossier Sheriff's Office comprises 16 operators who volunteer to train at least once a week. They serve full-time positions on the shifts at the Bossier Correctional Facilities as the resident expert special operations team who responds if an emergency or crisis situation happens in the jail.?