Protectors: building superior forces

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Lannon, 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron patrolman, demonstrates baton training on another 27 SOSFS member at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., March 21, 2012. Security forces members conduct training throughout the year to maintain certifications, qualifications and mission readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Lannon, 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron patrolman, demonstrates baton training on another 27 SOSFS member at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., March 21, 2012. Security forces members conduct training throughout the year to maintain certifications, qualifications and mission readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Lannon, 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron patrolman, simulates confronting a suspect while preparing to draw his weapon on another 27 SOSFS member at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., March 21, 2012. Training conducted by security forces members helps legally justify tactics and necessary force used on the field and in deployed locations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Lannon, 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron patrolman, simulates confronting a suspect while preparing to draw his weapon on another 27 SOSFS member at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., March 21, 2012. Training conducted by security forces members helps legally justify tactics and necessary force used on the field and in deployed locations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Lannon, 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron patrolman, demonstrates suspect take-down and detention after firing his tazer at a geared up 27 SOSFS member at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., March 21, 2012. Safety of trainers and trainees is always a priority when conducting exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Lannon, 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron patrolman, demonstrates suspect take-down and detention after firing his tazer at a geared up 27 SOSFS member at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., March 21, 2012. Safety of trainers and trainees is always a priority when conducting exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- *This feature is second in a series of 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron highlights at Cannon.

Being a member with the 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron doesn't just mean driving around in a patrol car handing out citations all day. Air Commandos with the 27 SOSFS at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., go through rigorous, physically-taxing training to maintain mission readiness.

"We instill our troops with a combination of training and techniques that are routinely utilized out in the field," said Staff Sgt. Wesley Barton, 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron military instructor. "While some of the training may never fully be implemented, we still provide as many fundamentals as possible."

Members of the 27 SOSFS must endure specialized training for every weapon they carry on duty. It helps familiarize the security forces troop with that weapon and combats legal issues that may arise if weapons are used in real-life situations.

Exposure to a weapon is not enough to certify as training. Classroom time, tests and field exercises are part of the full spectrum that encompasses certification.

"We have to be able to justify use of our weapons and tactics from time to time for legal purpose," said Barton. "If an officer draws their weapon on someone in the field, training helps explain why they felt the need to do so."

Local police officers occasionally offer training on base for security forces personnel. While civilian law enforcement focuses more on the penal code, military members focus more on tactics while also enforcing base regulations.

"We train on everything from weapon firing to tazer, identification card checks to riot control," said Senior Airman Mary Spencer, 27 SOSFS instructor. "We make the training as true-to-life as possible. If you aren't treating everything as if it were real, then you're wasting your time and the trainers."

Security forces personnel certainly don't waste any time. They spend around 400 hours per year refreshing and re-evaluating troops.

"The highest protection we offer Air Force Special Operations Command at Cannon is to the aircraft on the flightline," said Barton. "We have been entrusted to ensure the safety and security of all members within the Cannon community. The last thing we want is to send out unskilled or untrained troops, so we take every measure we can against that possibility!"