PANAMA CITY, Panama. – The Missouri National Guard visited counterparts in Panama to share law enforcement and emergency response experiences.
Clouds hung low over the mountains near the Panamanian Police Force training post. Lt. Col. Rebecca Segovia, Director of the State Partnership Program and a group of Missouri National Guard professionals in the fields of law enforcement and military operations began setting up their classrooms for the day. Master Sgt. James Brown from the 140th Regional Training Institute and Sgt .1st Class Daniel Hopkins from the 229th Multifunctional Medical Battalion prepared to demonstrate law enforcement non-lethal tactics and started the day with some ideas and concepts on the use of force.
“These guys are all law enforcement officers so they have some basic ideas of law enforcement survival techniques, but we talked about some things that we utilize in our decision making process regarding the use of force continuum and their role within it,” said Brown.
He also explained that currently the Panama Police Force have a few non-lethal weapon capabilities, it’s just the extent that they have trained on those techniques is limited. Later, Brown demonstrated close range subject control and strategies used with different systems in baton techniques that military police officers use.
From the classroom to a simulated city street environment outside, police officers trained first hand in the use of law enforcement techniques in a civil disturbance. During the exercise, the Panamanian police officers held their line against the opposing civil disturbance force as they moved their element through the crowd and extracted the leader. Though it was a chaotic exercise, they were successful for their first try with this technique.
Maj. Jeff Ford, the future operations officer for the Missouri National Guard said he came to Panama to engage with their Panamanian partners and share some techniques and procedures on furthering the Panama 911 call center.
“I look at it very much like our operations center,” said Ford. “They are receiving requests from civil authorities for support, and they are actioning those requests so they’re controlling their forces on the battlefield just like we control ours out of our Joint Operations Center - so, again, just passing some techniques and procedures and some lessons learned that we’ve encountered through our numerous disasters and just passing them along to our Panamanian brethren.”
Nadim Garcia, the deputy director of police in Panama, hosted the Missouri National Guard group for lunch and gave his perspective on the program.
“The combination of the Missouri National Guard with the Panamanian Guard, our first goal was to bring that relationship between the two nations together. Besides this, getting from you, we can also provide information that can be valuable to you,” said Garcia. “It will increase the level of professionalism of our men and women and it brings up a good, healthy experience to the whole program.”
The Missouri National Guard holds many events with the Panamanians both in Panama and in Missouri. These events range from 911 call centers to Law Enforcement training, vehicle maintenance, emergency response, aviation capabilities, the United States Justice System, Counter Drug Operations and the Department of Education.
The Missouri National Guard and Panama will continue as state partners to grow together. For more information about this program, please visit http://www.moguard.com/spp.html
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