I found out today that my department, the police department I chose to work for based on the amazing training program we have, is limiting firearms training to only 93 rounds per officer this year.
That’s less than two boxes of practice ammunition. Heck, my neighborhood Wal-Mart sells 100 round bulk packs of practice ammo in .40 S&W for less than $25.
While I understand that current budget cutbacks and the increase in ammunition prices have put the squeeze on our training dollars, isn’t a police officer’s life worth more than a single $25 box of practice ammo?
There are two basic reasons police officers train with their firearms:
- Police officers train with their firearms to defend themselves and the public from criminals hell-bent on doing violence.
- Police departments conduct firearms training to mitigate the agency’s liability after a shooting has happened.
Neither of these reasons can be accomplished with a mere 93 rounds of training ammunition.
As always, my partners and I have to make the same decision that police officers all over the country are faced with: how much of my own money do I have to spend to ensure that I will win the next violent encounter I find myself in?
It is sad that we are given a firearm and the authority to use it, but no one really wants us to be proficient with it.
The department never really improved. In the years that I spent at this Florida agency, the honorable man who was chief retired and was replaced by successively worse political appointees who were more interested in personal gain than the service of the public. The problems I saw develop in the department were completely disheartening.
The department has been involved in a number of shootings that have all worked out OK for the involved officers. In two of them, the involved officers had a great deal more training than the average patrol cop.
The one where the two officers did not have anything more than the department’s minimum? Well, they shot a whole lot of ammunition and only -eventually- wounded the armed suspect. Good thing he has trying to get killed and not kill them. Otherwise, the incident may have turned out completely different.