LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn kicked off the 2017 Hometown Job tours by joining the “boys in blue” at the Saginaw Township Police Department.
“I’ve always been an avid supporter of law enforcement and I was excited to get a chance to spend a day on the job with our Saginaw Township officers,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “The job that these men and women do is one of the most difficult professions in the United States, especially with the pressures many of our officers are currently facing. I wanted to show people not only how difficult their jobs can be, but also what makes it rewarding.”
After getting into his freshly pressed uniform and having it OK’d by Lt. Rick Herren, Horn began his day on the job as a Saginaw Township police officer. All new recruits with the department start with two days of administrative training regardless of their previous law enforcement experience. After being briefed on what would typically happen for a new recruit coming in, Horn was able to fast-forward to the second phase, saving lives.
“These officers place a great deal of importance on saving lives,” Horn said. “Even when an officer needs to use force, their immediate reaction once the threat is eliminated is to provide care until emergency medical personnel arrive.”
The formal training began with CPR and AED familiarization. The most important thing to recognize is the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest, and which treatment is to be applied to the victim. Traditional CPR does not help in the event the heart stops beating and therefore is no good in an arrest situation. Similarly, using an AED on someone who is suffering a heart attack is equally ineffective.
“The depth of CPR training is intense. I couldn’t imagine providing CPR in a real-world event,” said Horn. “It requires incredible motor skills and calm, rational thinking — neither of which occur naturally under such stress. They had me run up the stairs prior to administering CPR to simulate the stress of a real life scenario. I was winded at the end of the experience but the techniques to remaining calm during an emergency have really stuck with me.”
After completing the training and practicing with a few scenarios, Horn then moved into the training room where they would work on various tactics officers use to subdue threats and get unruly suspects to comply. From arm bars to wrist locks and batons to Tasers, the team demonstrated various ways they utilize the body’s pressure points and joints to create a safe advantage in order to de-escalate a dangerous situation. And because police officers must experience the effects of a Taser before they are able to use it, Horn spent a “long, long five seconds” getting tased. The group spent a great deal of time covering de-escalation methods because situations can change in an instant and officers must be able to identify these changes and react appropriately based on that split-second of what they see.
“A police officer’s presence can and will change the course of a situation,” Horn said. “The problem is, and what I found most stressful during these exercises, is that it is entirely unknown how the officer’s presence will change it. Most of the time, someone will calm down and fall in line at the sight of an officer, but occasionally others erupt in violence. It’s nearly impossible to determine which way it will go.”
The last leg focused primarily on firearm safety and scenarios when such use of force would be necessary.
Herren, who also serves as the department’s firearm instructor, guided Horn through the basic principles of firearm safety and marksmanship. The senator began on the department’s simulator where he was able to fire simulation rounds at the on-screen target. Next, Herren placed Horn on a simulator that digitally portrayed real-life scenarios, forcing him to give verbal commands and use various degrees of force. The software changes the direction of the situation based on the officer’s verbal commands and actions. When the simulation is complete, it gives trainees a debriefing at the end highlighting where they could improve.
“When you watch officers go through the simulator it seems more like virtual reality, or a movie,” Horn said. “When it’s you that’s in there, though, it changes everything. After my first scenario was completed, my heart was racing and I had worked up a sweat because of how intense it was. I did not expect that at all.”
After Horn finished the basic fundamentals of firearm training, the team wrapped up the day with live-fire drills at Saginaw County’s training center. Beginning with non-lethal beanbag rounds that are primarily used during riots and violent protests, the group worked their way up to practicing grouping shots at various distances with a department-issued sidearm. The importance of tight grouping is paramount in a self-defense situation because officers must make sure rounds land on the intended target and only the intended target. There is no room for error.
“I have always stood proudly behind the men and women in blue and this Hometown Job only increases my respect for what they do,” Horn said. “Out of all the jobs I’ve done so far, this one has impacted me the most personally. Lt. Herren taught me that every situation is just a problem to be solved and to utilize all the tools and solutions you have at your disposal. I would like to thank the entire staff at STPD, especially those who directly helped with the day’s instruction. I also owe Chief Pussehl a thank you for graciously lending me some of his officers and allowing me to spend the day in his department.”
For video of this and previous tours, click here.
Horn’s Hometown Tours feature various communities in the 32nd District. If you are interested in having Horn visit, please contact his office at (517) 373-1760, toll-free at (855) 347-8032 or by email at [email protected].
Editor’s note: A print-quality copy of each photograph is available by visiting www.SenatorKenHorn.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.
PHOTO 1 CAPTION: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, conducts a routine traffic stop on the Saginaw Township Police Department’s training simulator.
PHOTO 2 CAPTION: Under the watchful eye of Det. Scott Malace, State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, performs CPR on one of the department’s training dummies.
PHOTO 3 CAPTION: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, stops for a photo outside Saginaw Township Police Department with the team of officers that helped complete the first Hometown Job of 2017.