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New Tool Gives Waterville Officers a Better Shot at Firearm Training

ERICA STAPLETON

“Drop the knife! drop the knife!”

Real-time reaction to a potential real-life scenario – all part of a new training program at the Waterville Police Department.

It’s called Laser Shot – officers are put in a position they might encounter in the field.

Unlike working with targets at the range – this gives officers a realistic shot at judgment calls.

“This you’re actually listening to someone and seeing the emotions coming from them,” explains Chief Joe Massey.  “Trying to take in everything that’s important also watching for any threats that might happen. The last thing we want an officer to do is to end up firing on someone that is really not a threat.”

In the wake of several high-profile officer-involved shooting cases, this department wants to make sure officers are well-trained when it comes to use of deadly force and threat assessment.

“The officer is looking at a line of five suspects,” explains Sergeant Lincoln Ryder, one of the course instructors. “He’s determining if any of them are deadly force threats and if they are deadly force threats he’s engaging them appropriately.”

From simulations to skill assessment, this program also let the instructor work individually with officers based on their needs.

“When we work with officers their skill develops and their confidence develops that makes them hopefully safer on the streets when we’re actually out there in those real life scenarios.”

“They’ve done it virtually and hopefully that translates to success in the field.”

The Department says this training is open to other area agencies, as well.

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