Officer training key to safety
MUSCLE SHOALS-The Russellville Police Department spent time at the Muscle Shoals Police firing range yesterday working on their annual firearms certifications.
Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said all police officers must qualify with Alabama Police Officer Standards and Training (APOST) each year.
Hargett said APOST requires all officers in the state to score at least a 70 to qualify, but his departmental policy is that officers must score an 80 or above.
"Seventy is the minimum, but we want our officers to be above the minimum so they will be well prepared," Hargett said. "It's kind of like a grade in school, 70 is passing but you want to do better than that."
Hargett said that Special Response Team (SRT) members are required to score at least a 90.
The qualification itself consists of a 50-round course where each shot that hits the intended target is worth two points.
Hargett said that should an officer not qualify with APOST, he or she would have to go into remedial training to improve their score for qualifications.
"We all get a little rusty," Hargett said. "That's another reason these qualifications are so important."
Hargett said that while APOST certifications are annual, his department trains with firearms three additional times per year.
"We try to get to the firing range four times a year," Hargett said.
"After the APOST certifications, we do more realistic training so our officers are prepared for different situations that should arise.
"Officers need to be ready for different situations," Hargett said.
"They may need to use their firearms at night, in the rain or with a moving target, and they need to be ready."