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Sunday, April 14, 2024

ECSO completes ballistic shield training

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EDDY COUNTY — The Eddy County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) has completed its department-wide training on a new addition to its tool chest: ballistic shields.

The compact, bullet-proof shields are designed to protect deputies responding to active shooter or other violent situations in which gunfire may be eminent. They can also be used to shield civilians while being evacuated from dangerous situations to safety.

Every deputy on patrol will be issued a shield, and the ECSO thanks Rep. Jim Townsend of Artesia for his assistance in locating funding for the shields’ purchase.
The shields will also aid the ECSO with its existing Operation Hard Target active shooter/community safety program.

“As most of you are aware, we began training our deputies and the public on active shooter response/tactics and how to be a hard target for violence back in 2018,” said Sheriff Mark Cage. “Lt. Kane Wyatt currently administers our program, and it has been very successful.”

All county employees are now required to receive Operation Hard Target training, and the ECSO has held several open classes for the public that were well attended.

“The beauty of active shooter response training and tactics is that they are fairly universal and consistent agency to agency so that we can rely on each other to be on the same page when responding to these situations,” said Cage. “Although the schools within the city limits are the city police’s primary jurisdiction, we will always be there to back up and assist as needed.”

The program is sponsored by ConocoPhillips and recognized by the New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association and National Sheriffs’ Association.

“As your sheriff, I worked to have county policy changed after the school shootings in Uvalde [Texas] to allow deputies to drop off and pick up their children at public schools in marked units to provide a larger law enforcement presence during school hours,” said Cage. “They are also encouraged to take breaks and write reports in school parking lots for visibility as well.”

Operation Hard Target is currently being applied at two of the ECSO’s adopted schools: Jefferson Montessori and the Prep Academy, which approached the ECSO with a need for School Resource Officer support.

“Again, we’re very excited to add these protective shields as one of the many facets of Operation Hard Target!” Cage said.

Brienne Green
Daily Press Editor

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