September 11, 2012 The anniversary of the deadly 9-11 terrorist attack will always be a somber “where were you when?..” topic of conversation. But for thousands of first responders and volunteers, the eleventh of September is much more; it’s a time for old friends to come together and pause, recollecting what they did at a moment’s notice to help people they’ve never met and hopefully ease some of the pain.
Columbus Technical College criminal justice program director Felix Davila is also a Lieutenant with the Special Operations unit of the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office. Davila assists this elite group with their extensive routine and emergency scenario training. Today Davila and his team were at the Columbus firing range for practice. Four members of the 15-person Special Ops unit recalled being deployed to New York City eleven years ago.
“We loaded up as soon as we could and got there on the 12th. We were performing special duties for five days. It was just chaos,” Lieutenant Davila said. “They took us by boat over to the New Jersey side and we helped with the loading and unloading of supply boats for those at ground zero.”
Davila said they also helped with crowd control and were on hand wherever needed.
“Every year, these guys are together and we pause for a moment of silence and then get back to training. We just have to keep our skills sharp in case our country were ever to come under attack again. These guys are like my brothers. We’ve been through so much together and we just have each other’s backs.”
Besides the training for the sheriff’s department, Davila also recruits his friends to help his students. Members of the Special Ops team regularly come to Felix’s classroom to demonstrate various tactical moves and answer questions about working in public safety.
Under his leadership, the criminal justice program at Columbus Technical College has grown significantly. Felix Davila said he had seven students when the program started some five years ago and there are about 250 students today — all of whom are learning to do whatever it takes to keep this community safe for years to come.