County law enforcement trains for crowd control
jbellmyer@ cecilwhig. com
— A year ago when Baltimore City was beset with rioting in response to the death of Freddie Gray, Cecil County law enforcement was called on to help.
“None of our departments other than Maryland State Police were prepared,” said Sgt. Joseph Appleby, with the Perr yville Police Department. “They had no training and no equipment, so unfortunately we had to tell them we can’t send anyone to help you.”
However, Appleby spent the last 13 of his 28 years with MSP as the tactical operations training officer. Not long after having to refuse the request for backup, all the departments gathered and took action.
“They decided we’ve got to be able to do something whether it be in Baltimore City or here,” Appleby said Thursday.
So in March, he began training officers from the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office and the municipal departments from Elkton, Perr yville and Rising Sun. Nearly 100 have been certified in what Appleby calls “the dynamics of crowd control.”
Cecil County paramedics are also taking the training.
Nearly 100 officers have been certified since March in tactical crowd control. A class of 28 took a continuing education course Thursday at Rising Sun High School.
In a session held in the gymnasium at Rising Sun High School, the sergeant ran 28 officers through formations that would be used in a typical situation in an urban setting. Each officer was outfitted in additional gear, including a helmet with a face shield and neck protection, gas mask, shin guards, a baton and a large clear plas-
tic shield with either “Police.”
“Most of these officers have already had some form of training,” the sergeant said. “This is just a continuation of that.”
He ran them through the formations including one he called “Testudo,” calling to anyone who may have been a Univer-
emblazoned “Sheriff” or
sity of Maryland graduate that would be familiar with its terrapin mascot. They then learned how to become a turtle shell of protection for the potential of rocks or other projectiles being dropped from above.
“They are preparing for the inevitable,” said Al Miller, Perr yville police chief. “Without this training, we’d be running around confused.”
Appleby said the training is applicable in any number of situations and locations.
“We do gas mask drills, arrest team drills, rescue team drills,” he said.
As they stood in formation, Appleby reminded the men and women, “We are always outnumbered.”
Then he added, “everything we go to, we’re outnumbered; a riot, a domestic, a party. That’s the nature of law enforcement. Tactics will always prevail over numbers.”
Miller said Appleby conducts the training on behalf of the town department.
“It’s on our dime. That’s what law enforcement is. We share resources,” the chief said.
However it won’t be entirely free. Appleby said the cost to outfit each officer with proper equipment is around $ 700.
Sgt. Joe Appleby from the Perryville Police Department shows his Thursday morning class how to position themselves behind their shield during a crowd control operation.