Northwest Career and Technical Center Public Safety and Fire Department students visit Swanton Border Patrol | Schools

ST. ALBANS — Students from the Public Safety and Fire Services program at the Northwest Career and Technical Center toured the Swanton area of ​​U.S. Customs and Border Protection Feb. 9.

Dominick Bessette (’22) said the students arrived at school earlier than usual in order to board the bus in time for departure. Upon arriving at the border facility, the group toured the premises to view the vehicles, ATVs and snowmobiles used for border enforcement and day-to-day operations.

Students were also able to see the holding cells and the inner workings of the complex, including the handling of individuals crossing the border illegally.

NWCTC’s Public Safety and Fire Services course is designed to meet the needs of students who wish to become not only border patrol agents, but also career or volunteer firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, fire inspectors and police.

The trip to the Swanton border facility was just one example of the program’s opportunities for hands-on training emphasizing ethical behavior.

Bessette said that after touring the facility, students had the opportunity to participate in more hands-on activities, such as using Border Patrol’s state-of-the-art shooting simulator, which cost more than $380,000.

The students used a modified Glock handgun fitted with a CO2 cartridge to mimic the bounce of live ammunition fire.

Bessette was the first student to have had the chance to try it.

“It was a little weird,” he said. “You know it’s not real, but it feels extremely real.”

Bessette said that while using the simulator, the students went through several scenarios, including assisting an officer during an arrest and even participating in a shooting practice. The purpose of the simulation was to help students anticipate what might happen next and how to react accordingly, keeping in mind the proper procedure.

After the students completed the exercises, they were shown their reaction times and overall performance. The officers asked the students follow-up questions, including asking them to explain what they did and why they did it.

“They asked us what we saw the first time, then we saw it again,” said Ryan Campbell (’22). “The amount of stuff I missed was quite significant. Then I saw that other people had missed the same stuff, but once you see it again, you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. deceived”, but you must be specific with your story and what you saw.

After an exciting and informative day, the students boarded the bus and headed back to school.

“It was really fun, and I’m glad we went because it’s not something everyone can do,” said Skyye Lebeau (’22). “It was a very special opportunity, and I’m glad they were able to give it to us.”

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