Officers are locked and loaded

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Officers from all over the state will be "locked and loaded" for the next three days at the Craighead County Sheriff's Department.

Wednesday Tactical Officers Survivor School kicked off with a bang. T.O.S.S. is a 3 day intensive course on weapons.

Sheriff Jack McCann says it's one of the best training courses an officer can go through. "Each officer has to fire 1,000 rounds of handgun ammunition," McCann said. "Also, a lot of shotgun ammunition. It's to teach them techniques of how to handle the weapons and survival techniques."

Senior Instructor for T.O.S.S., Tom Long, says officers can never receive enough training. "You're constantly trying to update officers," Long said. "Bringing them the latest news. Every year we evaluate what happened that year and what can we do different this year. And so, training is constant. There is never a time when you can say okay my guys are well trained and we can all sit back and relax because something will happen and teach you that you need to address it this way. So, law enforcement is very progressive and constantly looking to see how can we do our jobs to better serve the public."

Sheriff McCann says the training officers are receiving is invaluable. "It's weapons training," McCann said. "Getting familiar with your firearm. Learning the different things you can do with it. If you're in a shootout, you're probably not going to be able to just stand there and shoot. So, they get practice shooting while kneeling and squatting and just different positions. It makes a difference between life and death."

Long says this program has been coming to Craighead County for the past 15 years. "What we're always trying to do is reinforce an officers combat skills," Long said. "Tragically, nowadays, officers are involved in a lot of gunfights and as such we are always monitoring those. What did we learn from that. We monitor officer fatalities. What is happening to officers in these shootings and how can we readapt training to help them meet the future needs that they're going to have."

Long says there are a number of law enforcement agencies that don't get their officers the advanced training they need.

"Evaluate your officers abilities," Long said. "Oftentimes you'll find agencies that aren't nearly as progressive as Craighead County has been for years. Some departments are just satisfied to meet the basic requirements that the state may require their officers to do. And those basic requirements are really not guaranteed to keep their people alive when it comes down to it."

T.O.S.S next class will be just outside of New York City, in a couple of weeks.

For more information about Tactical Officers Survival Training, log onto this website.

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