Colorado Springs

Aim, Fire, Ready? How law enforcement balance firearms training with other duties

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The decision officers make to draw and shoot their weapons in a dangerous situation is not an easy one. 

Before officers even start duty, they get about 80 hours of intensive firearms training. 

Once they join an agency, the state of Colorado requires 24 hours of training per year, but that is all training, not just firearms.
Canon City Police Chief Daric Harvey will tell you, finding that balance, is a challenge by itself. 

"Firearms training isn’t really our every day job. Our every day job is not meeting the public and talking to people and interpersonal skills and our gift of gab is used much more than our firearms skills but they’re both equally important," said Chief Harvey. 

Training sessions also take time, money, staff and other resources, which can also provide challenges for agencies to train. 

To get a perspective on a nationwide scale, though, we spoke with David Harvey, the deputy director of the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement and Training.
Realistically he says it would be hard for any officer to say they are ready for every situation they may face. 

"I would dare say you could probably speak to any post director or any academy director and they will tell you they don’t train enough. They don’t get enough hours," said Harvey. 

"Some academies have more resources than others and some are very creative in how they do that and some have limits but I think they do as good a job as they possibly can," said Harvey. 

In reality, even the best trained officers could still find themselves in situations that are unpredictable and challenging, but they will also tell you that they will do the best they can. 

"A person who is willing to stand in front of that danger to protect the public and in some cases unfortunately sacrifice their lives we have to honor that and those people," said Chief Harvey. 

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