It’s not for everyoneMay 17th, 2012 at 4:44 pm by Jaclyn Bevis under COPS 101
If last week’s Driving Course was exciting, I’m not sure what to call this week.
I guess we’ll start with what the Civilian Academy had on the schedule. (I don’t think when I read this, I was entirely sure what was in store for me.) During week six of our Civilian Academy with the Terre Haute Police Department, the schedule mentions firearms safety, Taser electronic devise usage, and shooting practice.
To start, I knew going into this week that I’d be experiencing lots of “newness”. Before the academy, I’d never shot a gun. I don’t imagine I’d ever even held a gun. I knew that would be interesting. The Taser topic was a whole different story.
I made mention during our introductory meeting that I’d be willing to volunteer for a Taser demonstration. I didn’t forget that, but I assumed it wouldn’t even be possible. Well, I won’t leave you wondering anymore. It IS possible. It is VERY possible.
Without further ado, you can see the video here. I’ll preface by saying this is not one of my finer moments. Below, I’ll explain why I shared this with you, as well as why I willingly volunteered for this.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not a requirement for training of police officers who carry the device. It is offered, and according to the Terre Haute Police Department, some officers agree to it. They say those who are stunned seem to respect the power of the device a great deal.
After thinking about it, the Taser is an extremely important part of our police force. When an officer is attempting to apprehend a suspect, a Taser can be a very useful tool. If you think of hundreds of years ago (and even several decades ago), officers utilized other types of instruments to obtain obedience from a suspect. With the device, police have the option to stop a suspect and impale them without causing medical concerns. (The debate of Tasers can be read about online, but THPD stands by the unit as a safe and valuable tool. Many police departments around the country share the same thoughts.)
To protect both the individual being stunned, as well as the officer, every single officer given a Taser does go through a great deal of training. They have a million things to think about when utilizing the device. Distance from the suspect, obstacles between the officer and suspect, and a concern for secondary injuries (an individual does fall to the ground when stunned) are just a few of the thoughts an officer must manage.
As to why I did it, well I guess some would say I’m an idiot. I’ll call it adventurous. I figure it’s the only time in my life when I’ll be offered the opportunity, and if I’m training as a police officer would, I should take every opportunity I can to learn what they know.
The video pretty much tells all. If you have questions about my experience, you can look on the News 10 First at Five page where I talk with News 10s Susan Dinkel on News 10 First at Five about my experience. Or feel free to ask me questions on my News 10 Facebook Page.
Shoot, Don’t Shoot
I said this week had several firsts. While it may sound less exciting than tasers, I had also never shot a gun before the academy.
We went through one part of firearms training that is similar to what officers train in annually. It’s called a “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” scenario. It’s held at a training house at the training center of the Terre Haute Police Department. We used a simulation gun. (I don’t know guns, so bare with me.) It’s a Smith & Wesson, but it doesn’t use actual bullets. The officers said the bullets do cause quite a bit of pain and shoot at speeds of more than 100 mph. Before you ask, no I did not volunteer to be shot with the simulation gun, but in my defense, this was never offered.
In this exercise, we went through the house one at a time just like officers would to “clear” a house. Here, you can see my run through the house. The concept is pretty basic. Shoot the individuals that appear to be a threat. Do not shoot anyone who doesn’t look to be threatening. (In short, shoot at anything with a gun but no badge.)
To toot my own horn, I shot at all of the right people, and I know I hit the final one in the chest and mouth. You can watch my face to decide for yourself if that was just luck or maybe I have a real knack for this.
Next week, we’ll be with the Special Response Team doing similar work. Needless to say, I’m excited!!! Who knows what could be next?