CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

August 3, 2013

Cullman PD employs shooting range to better weapon uses

By Lauren Estes
The Cullman Times

— As the first group of officer’s completed the active shooter training session last Thursday, participants described feeling more prepared, aware and confident in handling detrimental situations.

The Cullman City police department utilized their shooting range for the second, six-hour day of the active shooter’s training course on Thursday. Training Sergeant Jason Mickle led the group of investigators and patrolmen through the outdoor scenario session. Officer Chris Nichols said he obtained a skill through this session that the department had not worked on prior to the course.

“We worked on running with our weapons today and that was a type of training technique that I had never had worked on,” Nichols said. “Of course, none of us ever want to handle a school shooting, but it’s something that could happen and we need to prepare for it.”

Mickle said teaching the technique of running with a weapon is a tool that needs to be exercised in case it is necessary in dangerous circumstances.

“It’s one of those things that we haven’t really covered in the past (running with a gun), but if people are in danger, if it’s a life-threatening situation,  officers will have to get to a location immediately,” Mickle said. “We let officers know that in certain situations, they might have to respond to a call by themselves. They may want to move across an open area quickly, so we give them tools to do that. If we’re going to ask them to do those kinds of things, we need to give them training on it. That’s why were down here today.”

Officer Jack Springer has been with the department for over 30 years and said he took a lot of safety techniques from the course which makes him feel better prepared as an officer.

“I really think it’s benefited us, and personally, I’ve got a lot out of it,” Springer said. “Shootings are unlikely, but they are not impossible. You have to be prepared for it; It could happen to us just as easily as it could happen to anyone else. I’ve grasped a lot of safety techniques, a better understanding of an officer presence, and know to be confident in doing what you’re supposed to do.”

Mickle said for many of the officers, this was the first time they had completed some of the active shooter techniques.

“A lot of the officers have never did that (running with a weapon) before so we’re just giving them options for different ways to handle the situation,” Mickle said. “Safety is key. We want to protect the public, protect the area surrounding us, and also to protect ourselves in this kind of situation. We ran it dry a several times to let them get the feel of how it might happen and then we did a couple of sessions where they are firing their pistols and stopping the active shooter.”

The key components of the course that he emphasized included communication between officers and accuracy with situation, particularly with shooting.

“The biggest thing that we need is the ability to move, shoot, and communicate,” Mickle said. “We have to do all those things congruent with one another so we can have the ability to engage a perpetrator if we need to and do that in a safe manner, not only for ourselves, but for the public in general. We’re going to do some two man team tactics so they just shoot around in close proximity with other officers because we want them to experience that in training. We don’t want the first time that happens to them is in a real gunfight or real situation, so it inoculates you to work in close quarters with other officers and the gunfire is proximal.”



Lauren Estes can be reached at laurene@cullmantimes.com or 256-734-2131, ext. 137.