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Park Rangers Learn SWAT Team Techniques

By Rebecca Vogt
Published On: May 18 2012 06:34:35 AM MDT
Updated On: May 18 2012 06:45:55 AM MDT
WEST GLACIER, Mont. -

Glacier National Park Rangers teamed up with the Flathead County SWAT Team for an active shooter training session in West Glacier.

"One of the most volatile situations in law enforcement to respond to is a person actively shooting citizens," said Ranger Eric Gabriel, "And we want to be prepared for that and we want to work with our cooperators so we can seamlessly attack that problem when or if it should arise."

The exercises mimic situations like Columbine as well as the fatal shooting of a park ranger in Mount Rainier National Park earlier this year. SWAT team members say it's all about thinking ahead.

"It's probably the largest part of what we do," said SWAT commander Dave Leib. "If we're not mentally prepared to respond and enter a building and know what we're going to do when we get there then we're behind the power curve right there."

Another key component is asserting leadership in hostile situations.

"The people that are on scene who are panic stricken or threatened are going to look at them," Lieb continued. "They're going to be looking for someone in authority, someone in uniform to take control of the situation."

Rangers say they can handle the responsibility, but also know that help will always be on the way.

"You can't do it alone," said Gabriel, "No agency in this day in age can do it alone. So we have great cooperators and through our combined efforts we can take on the problems that we face."