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DPS: Officers undergo gun-safety training

GUN-safety training is provided to all police officers, according to Department of Public Safety public information officer Jackie Rae Shepard.

Following a recent incident in which two civilians were injured when a police firearm was accidentally discharged, DPS said it has launched a public education campaign on firearm safety.

Academy police cadets receive at least 40 hours of weapons training and have to pass a written examination before they undergo hands-on training which includes weapon safety, Shepard said.

She added that accidents resulting from human error are preventable and DPS supervisors emphasize safety to both new and veteran officers.

Police Sgt. David Hosono, officer-in-charge of armory and DPS shift supervisor, said weapons training covers applicable rules and regulations.

He said firearm training also covers the fundamentals of marksmanship, weapon manipulation and safety.

“Rule number 1 is you have to treat every firearm as if it were loaded,” said Hosono who helps train new cadets in firearm safety.

“Never point the weapon at anything you don’t intend to shoot. Straight trigger-finger at all times. Be sure of your target and what is beyond your target and the surroundings.”

Safety rules should be at the forefront of all police officers’ minds all the time, he added.

Police officers are considered 24-7 law enforcers “so it’s not just when they are on duty that they might have to exercise their authority as law enforcers — at all times the firearm should be with them,” Hosono said.

“But if they are under the influence of alcohol or prescribed medication that might impair their physical or mental ability then they are not supposed to be in possession of a firearm.”

Shepard said each police officer receives a firearm which includes a gun lock box, and they are also trained on what to do prior to storing the weapon.

Officers can secure the gun directly in the lock box, Hosono said. “Some officers even take it one step further. They get a trigger lock to secure the gun trigger,” he added.

“Securing their firearms is not just my obligation, but it’s also the supervisors’ obligation, and the officers’ obligation as well because we are public safety officers,” Hosono said.

The police officer who owned the firearm that was accidentally discharged has resigned from DPS, and the person who accidentally discharged the firearm has been arrested and charged in Superior Court.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/101242-dps-officers-undergo-gun-safety-training

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