Week 16 was a very entertaining week as we wrapped up our time at the gun range and went through our most intense scenarios. On Tuesday morning, we gathered at the range for a full day of work with different types of guns other than our duty weapons and to take our written test on gun safety and nomenclature required by POST.
While it was very fun to shoot different types of guns that we would not normally have access to, it is more important that we learned how to safely handle them. On patrol, we will come across a variety of different weapons for a variety of different reasons. The best tool we can utilize in those situations is our knowledge on how to make those weapons safe. It was incredibly useful to learn how to unload and disable each gun we handled.
After everyone passed the written portion of the POST test, we spent the second half of the day in an exciting competition to determine which recruit was the best shot. The test was simple; knock down all of the steel targets while completing different reloading skills before the person next to you did. The competition was set up much like a tournament, allowing each of us two losses before we were knocked out.
While the best shooters moved on, the rest of us stood around cheering on our classmates. After a couple hours of intense matches, the finals consisted of Recruit DeVito (from Lakewood Police) and Recruit Saari (from JeffCo). While they both have proven to be incredibly strong shooters, Recruit Saari just edged out Recruit DeVito for the win and title of Top Shot.
As we walked to our cars and tried to warm up, we all had smiles on our faces. The day not only proved how far we have come since beginning at the range, but also showed just how strong our comradery has grown. On a side note, Agent Marshall showed us all that when we struggle shooting the steel targets, sometimes you can be just as successful by throwing a rock.
On Wednesday, we mixed up our usual schedule by taking one of our academy tests. After learning that everyone passed, we began class lecture on vehicle searches. Lessons on searches and seizures are some of the most important we can have. Incorrectly searching can lead to violation of 4th Amendment rights resulting in loss of evidence and possibly loss of a case. I am once again thankful to be receiving the high level of instruction that is consistent throughout the academy.
Thursday brought us a tough day as half the day was spent in high-risk scenarios. In these scenarios, we faced the possibility of weapons, hostile suspects, and dangerous situations. We were challenged physically as well as mentally to utilize everything we have learned in arrest control to safely and effectively solve each problem.
It is easy to see that everyone has progressed and become much more confident in dealing with these types of problems. The second half of the day was spent either practicing searches on cars or using paintball rounds to compete against each other at the gun range. While shooting the fake rounds at one another created a rush of adrenaline, it was awesome to see everyone maintain their resolve and stick to the tactics and fundamentals we have learned.
For the end of the week we practiced high-risk traffic stops. First moving at a slow crawl, by the end of the lecture we were all confident in the different positions and commands needed to successfully complete a high-risk stop. As a treat, the class was able to watch as the K-9 unit showed how extraction from a car is made by using one of the dogs. The one thing I am sure about after watching the dog remove a volunteer (in a safety suit of course) from a car is that I am glad the dog is on my team. The four-legged fearless animal is a well-trained tool that makes our job safer and easier.
Sixteen weeks down, only six left!!!