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Are you considering joining a law enforcement field? If so, you probably already understand the incredible level of responsibility that comes with it and the many hats you will have to wear. Whether you go into armed security, the police force, or law enforcement for a national wildlife refuge, you will be expected to both carry and know how to properly use a firearm. Although that is just one of the pieces of equipment you will carry or wear, it is different than other types of gear because it requires practice and skill. Below are just two of the ways that law enforcement officers do just that:

Using Reactive Targets – What are reactive targets and why would they be better for law enforcement training that a typical target used at the shooting range? Put simply, reactive targets are targets that are built in such a way that when the bullet strikes them they move or “react” instead of remaining in the exact same position. For instance, some reactive targets are on a swivel or swing which allows them to move provide the officer with a more difficult shot. In the real world, whether a law enforcement officer is shooting at a criminal or a type of wildlife, the likelihood that they stay completely still after a gunshot is heard is very low. So, what are reactive targets? They are targets that provide a more lifelike target for law enforcement officers.

Law Enforcement Safety Training – The training of law enforcement officers looks different depending on the agency they work for. For instance, a federal wildlife law enforcement officer will likely undergo a drastically different training than a person who is employed by a security company hired to protect a local bank. Although the specifics of the trainings may be different, there are themes that are nearly universal. First of all, the safety of the officers is incredibly prioritized. This is done with trainings on how to de-escalate situations as well as to fit officers with the proper body armor they need for their jobs. Body armor is incredibly important and has saved nearly 100 officers in New York City alone since 1978. The chance of an officer dying from a gunshot wound to the chest is 3.4 times higher when they are not wearing the proper armor vest.

The job of a law enforcement officer is difficult and complex. Ongoing training is required not only to ensure the safety of those they are protecting, but of the officers themselves. There were nearly 60,000 assaults on police officers in the last decade and we need to make this decade safer for them. It is important for non law enforcement officers to understand these training requirements to that we can make sure our local, state, and federal departments are supplying what is needed. Don’t just ask what are reactive targets, but go one step further and ask does my local department need something like this? Be apart of a bigger change with the law enforcement in your area. You’ll be glad you did!

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