Officers test their aim

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-Law enforcement officials from agencies all over Craighead County are undergoing special training.

Monday, three days rifle training began at the Craighead County Sheriff's Department.

Captain Justin Rolland with the Craighead county Sheriff's Department says this type of training is designed to prepare them for emergency situations.

"This training is designed to hopefully give these officers a skill set," Rolland said. "It will hopefully help them better prepare themselves in a violent confrontation with gunfire. We're actually concentrating on long rifles, using their patrol rifles they're issued."

Reserve officer for the Bay Police Department, Matthew Clairday, says additional training is vital to the safety of any officer and those they work to serve.

"It helps us with any type of scenario," Clairday said. "Like I said, practice makes perfect. The more training we can get, the better we are to protect our fellow workers, the public and any situation we come across."

Rolland says they're working on not only an officers response to a scene, but the familiarity of their weapons.

"This particular training is very crucial in training officers," Rolland emphasized. "We've learned valuable lessons throughout history involving officers being confronted with violent suspects who are armed with weapons other than handguns. So, therefore a lot of departments are going to long rifles and .556 caliber. So, what we're doing over this 3 day period, not only are we trying to give officers a better skill set to prepare themselves for those confrontations. We're also touching on weapon maintenance and how to keep their weapons functioning properly."

Patrolman Keith Milam, also with the Bay Police Department, says he and fellow officers are thrilled to get the opportunity to go through this specialized training.

"I think the training out here is great," Milam said. "I think the sheriff's department is doing an awesome thing by letting a lot of the small towns come out and take part in this training due to the fact that a lot of times we don't have the manpower of the funding to be able to put on training such as this. So, I think it's a very valuable piece of training that we can have to learn how to use these rifles and the way they were meant to be."

Milam also stated that rifle use is becoming more and more common as a choice of weapon with law enforcement agencies.

"The rifle is a big part of what we do," Milam commented. "It's a lot more accurate than what our handguns are. And a lot of times departments go without any kind of formal training on using their rifles. And so, we've learned there have been studies done that these rifles are less penetrating around people and in residential neighborhoods than what a handgun round would be. So, it's a big key that we learn how to use these in the way that they were intended to."

Rolland says if any officers want additional training to familiarize themselves with their issued weapons or practice in dealing with emergency scenarios, the Craighead County Sheriff's Department is eager to meet the task.

"What we're trying to emphasize is training, training, training," Rolland said. "We're trying to bring the officers this type of training, as well as any officer that isn't that familiar with the weapon that they're issued to come out. Contact us and we can set that up with our training officers and we can conduct that type of training here at the sheriff's department."

For more information about the Craighead County Sheriff's Department, log onto this website.

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