Donald A. Promnitz/The Madera Tribune
Madera Police Det. Hector Garibay opens fire during a mock vehicle stop as part of the Madera Police’s Summer training session.
It was only a matter of seconds after Madera Police Det. Alicia Keiser approached a suspect’s truck that the driver became hostile. Soon, the suspect drew his gun on the detective, and Keiser made her way to the cover of her vehicle. After a brief exchange of gunfire, the suspect lay in the dust, shot down by Keiser.
Except the suspect wasn’t dead or wounded, nor was he even a suspect — and the rounds in their guns were made of paint.
The suspect that had opened fire on her was fellow Madera Police detective Hector Garibay, as part of an exercise on how to respond to a hostile vehicle stop.
Keiser was joined by the other detectives of the Madera Police Department, and by members of the Special Investigations Unit, at an old, country house in the south end of Chowchilla, Tuesday evening.
They were conducting their quarterly training for the summer.
Tuesday was their turn, while Monday was preparation day, and Wednesday was given to the weekend patrol officers. Training will conclude Sunday evening, after the exercises are completed by the officers on the weekday shift.
For their training, Madera Police were subjected to procedures and simulations which included vehicle stops, K9 exercises, mock ambushes, and weapons training.
“We try to make our training as realistic as possible,” said Madera Police Sgt. Josiah Arnold. “We have a pretty high expectation for our officers.”
According to Arnold, there were just as many drills in which officers were expected not to shoot, and handle the situation diplomatically, as there were to shoot back.
“We did an ambush situation where we are called to a report of a suspicious person, said Keiser. “And you’re ambushed by a gunman, just due to the recent increase in ambush deaths, and attacks that we’re seeing.”
In recent months, police across the country have been subjected to ambushes, due in part to tensions with law enforcement. The most notable case of this was the Dallas sniper attack last month. In another incident, a police officer in San Diego was shot to death during a pedestrian stop while he sat in his patrol car on July 28. His seatbelt was still buckled when the shots were fired. His partner, who was severely wounded in the attack, was recently released from the hospital.
With practice and training, however, Keiser is confident that she and the other members of the Madera Police Department will be ready for whatever is thrown at them.
“Training is always very important as an officer,” said Keiser. “We train the way that we would fight, and if something were to occur, the more training the better, like anything you do. The more you train, the better you are at it.”