Shot in the dark
RED BAY – The Red Bay Police Department held their low-light firearm qualifications earlier this week to help them prepare for situations that occur in the evening hours or in low light.
"The large percentage of shooting involving police officers occurring at night," Police Chief Pat Creel said.
Police are required to undergo yearly firearm qualifications, but qualification standards vary from each department. Red Bay has their officers qualify with their firearm every few months with a low light.
Each officer fired 50 rounds of ammunition to a target at various distances. The officers were given 2 points per round that hit accurately on the target. A-post requires that all officers have a score of at least 70, but Red Bay requires their officers to shoot at least an 80. SRT members are required to score a 90.
In addition to the regular low-light qualifications, the department went through combat type training in the dark. The combat training is realistic training, which is essential so that the officer is ready for any situation that might arise, Creel said.
"Police training is going more and more toward reality based training," Creel said. "It gives the office a realistic setting because shoots do not occur in the daytime while the sun is shining."
During this week's training, the officers ran through different drills to familiarize them with different targets, Creel said.
"There might not always be one target during a situation," Creel said. "Some targets you may need to be shot while others may not."
Firearms training is essential to any police department because an ordinary day can become extraordinary in the blink of an eye.
"You can't just stand there and punch holes in paper," Firearms instructor Scotty Chandler said. "You have to have realistic training in order to be prepared."
Red Bay is dedicated to having prepared officers on the street. Creel said that the department has written for a grant to receive simunitions, which work through the office pistol but only fires plastic-type pellets.
"If we get the simunitions, we will be able to do more realistic training," Creel said.
He said that the pellets expelled from the simunitions are much like paintballs, only there is not paint. The officers will have to wear safety vests and other equipment during the drills.
Creel said that it is unknown whether the department will get the grant, and there is not time table as to when the grant will be announced.