For the second time this year, township police are completing firearms qualifications to practice using weapons issued by the department.
“So, we qualify twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring,” said officer Anthony Gatto, who participated in the qualifications. “Everyone from the newest officer to the chief of police has to do it. We use our department-issued firearms, including our pistols and shotguns, if you’re issued one.
“We also have patrol rifle qualifications that happen during the spring and summer months, but only people issued rifles use them,” he added. “Basically, you have to shoot from a series of different ranges and positions starting from 25 yards to one yard. (We do) some crouching, some standing and some shooting around cover.”
The officers line up and aim for designated targets as they train together. An instructor is also on standby to provide tips and offer instruction on how to properly handle a firearm and what to take into consideration with regard to safety.
“We take our training very seriously,” the department notes on its Facebook page.
Officers were also given proper safety equipment to wear during training, including bulletproof vests and earmuffs to protect hearing.
The police department has also posted pictures of its fall firearms qualifications on Facebook to give residents a taste of what officers in training do and to demonstrate that each of its officers, regardless of rank, knows how to properly handle a firearm.
Officers who pass will be qualified to carry a firearm and to handle it in public. The department also hopes the qualifications can be used as a recruiting tool to highlight the bonds between township officers.