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Law Enforcement & Fire Science Students Receive Invaluable Active Threat Training

International Trainers Laud Western Dakota Tech for Top-Notch Training Facility

While many college students utilize Spring Break to relax and recharge before finishing up the school year, four Law Enforcement and four Fire Science senior students participated in rigorous Active Threat Integrated Response Course (ATIRC) training alongside local law enforcement and EMS professionals, at Western Dakota Tech, March 6-8.

Trainers with the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training (NCBRT), based out of Louisiana State University, in Baton Rouge, provided the course funded through a federal grant obtained by Pennington County Emergency Management. When Western Dakota Tech was asked if the specialized training could take place in the college’s new Public Safety Training Center, the college readily agreed asking that students also be given the opportunity to participate.

ATIRC training is designed to improve integration between law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) in active shooter events. The course provides law enforcement officers with key medical skills based on tactical emergency casualty care (TECC) guidelines that can be used at the point of injury (POI) to increase survivability of victims. The training also provides a model framework for law enforcement, fire, and EMS to integrate responses during an active shooter event through the rescue task force concept. (Specifically geared toward getting EMS into an active zone sooner, with the assistance of law enforcement, to prevent additional loss of life.)

The training at Western Dakota Tech included classroom instruction and many hands-on activities including mass casualty incident drills. Along with the eight students who went through the training, several additional Western Dakota Tech students participated as mock shooters, and injured and non-injured bystanders in the realistic mass casualty simulations.

Taking part in high-level training might not be every college student’s first choice of how to spend their Spring Break, but the students said they made the right choice for them.

“This is really good training,” said Law Enforcement student Eric Richardson. “I would give up my Spring Break again to do it. I have learned a lot. It is good to do this with those who currently work in law enforcement, fire, and even dispatch.”

Fire Science student Chance Lockett also viewed the training as extremely valuable. “I really felt a part of the simulation we just did. We were originally going to do our internship over the break, but experience-wise, I think we are learning more in general by doing this,” he said.

Pete Ragnone, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Program Director, and Tom Smith, Fire Science Program Director, were present during the training. Both said the training experience was extremely valuable for their students. They were also pleased to hear the good things the international trainers had to say about the college’s new Public Safety Training Center.

“We conduct training throughout the United States, the territories and internationally, and the facilities here at Western Dakota Tech are one the best, if not the best,” said Brad Parker, NCBRT Regional Training Manager. “A lot of the time we have to use different facilities, in various locations, in a town. Here, everything is in one place - from the classrooms to the areas to conduct the drills. We have everything we need and more. It’s great.”

About Western Dakota Tech

Western Dakota Tech was established in 1968 and is the only technical college that serves the western South Dakota region.

Western Dakota Tech offers programs in a variety of fields, including Business and Computers, Construction and Manufacturing, Energy and Environmental Technologies, Health Sciences, Legal and Public Services, and Transportation Technologies.

More than 96 percent of Western Dakota Tech's most recent graduates are working, continuing their education, or are enlisted in the military.

Western Dakota Tech faculty, staff, and administration focus their efforts on helping students gain the skills and experiences they need to succeed. Through hands-on learning, internships, and industry partnerships, Western Dakota Tech students graduate ready to make a real and immediate contribution to their employers and to their communities.

For information about Western Dakota Tech, call (800) 544-8765 or (605) 718-2565 or send an email to Visit us on the web at

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