NH guardsmen train with civilian law enforcement

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Charles Johnston
  • New Hampshire National Guard

One of the latest COVID-19 support requests for the New Hampshire National Guard features 90 soldiers and airmen training with civilian law enforcement.

Beginning earlier this week, the instruction is being overseen by the state’s top law enforcement training professional, John Scippa, director of New Hampshire Police Standards and Training. It runs through Sunday, April 19.

“Upon direction from the governor, NH Police Standards and Training was directed to work with NHNG units, both Army and Air Force, to give soldiers and airmen a foundation of skills to help law enforcement here in New Hampshire,” Scippa said.

Due to social distancing considerations, the training is being conducted almost exclusively through online videoconferencing.

Each morning, 35 airmen from the 157th Security Forces Squadron login from Pease ANG Base, while 55 soldiers from the 237th Military Police Company login simultaneously from the Edward Cross Training Center in Pembroke. Academy staff sign on from their facility in Concord to conduct a three-way virtual classroom.

The uniformed attendees, seated at least 6 feet apart, are given lectures, shown videos and participate in extensive Q&A. Topics vary from arrest laws and effective communication for law enforcement, to use of force.

“The intent is at the end of the seven days, we’ll be spun up and ready to go and be prepared to support any kind of law enforcement mission, if we get called to do so,” said 1st Lt. Ryan Smith, a platoon leader with the 237th.

Though guardsmen are more accustomed to traditional military training assemblies, they’ve learned to acclimate to distance learning—a new normal for millions across the globe.

“It is a little different,” Smith said. “But we’ve kind of overcome, adapted and we’re plugging away.”

Master Sgt. Anthony Brown, a flight chief with the 157th, said the online training is enhancing his unit’s readiness to serve the community.

“We’re here to help in any humanitarian, domestic operations, or anything the governor would call us up for,” Brown said.

The week’s culminating event finally breaks participants out of the classroom for a pistol qualification course at the NHNG Training Site range in Center Strafford.