The sound of gunshots filled the air at Tuesday night's meeting on the DPD Citizens Police Academy. Fortunately, that was part of the plan.
The Citizens Academy's Week 8 class focused on the different firearms used by DPD officers, and participants got a chance to try out each one at the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office firing range. After a safety briefing by Lt. Chris Crossen and Officer Chris McDonald, two of the agency's firearms instructors, academy members took aim with the Sig Sauer .40 caliber handgun, a department-issued shotgun, and also the AR-15 rifle.
Bullet holes riddled paper targets by the time the night was done, thanks to some tips from the firearms instructors. Before stepping onto the firing line, students were given a full briefing on each gun as well as tips for how to fire them. As they tested their skills on the guns, each student was under watchful eye of a firearms instructor and even academy participants who had never before fired a gun were able to hit their targets.
Now that each academy member knows what it's like to shoot the different weapons used by DPD officers, it's time to learn when it's acceptable to use the weapons. In an upcoming class, Citizens Academy students will study the use of force, including deadly force, including department policy and case law governing the use of force. As part of that class, students will use a simulator to experience different law enforcement scenarios where they will have to make decisions how to handle the situation, including whether to use force.
Below: Scenes from Tuesday night's Citizens Academy class (to see more pictures, click here to see a photo gallery from Tuesday night's class on the DPD Facebook page)