Training for police, fire and all emergency responders is essential. Training must be challenging, realistic but above all else, safe. Allow me to repeat, safe. Every training related death is a tragedy and in nearly all cases, avoidable. (I would say in all cases they were avoidable but I do not have the research data to support every training related death.)
Last week a University of Maryland police recruit was critically wounded. Prompted by this tragedy, I set out to look beyond the finger pointing and law suits that are sure to come and try to understand how an accident of this type could take place and then to take another look deeper at the nationally recognized training safety standards. The following report by the Baltimore Sun provides excellent background on the incident and is supported by several nationally recognized training experts. Several points in the article seem so very obvious, yet need to be repeated over and over again, forever:
- No gun – even a practice weapon – should be fooled with.
- Never point a weapon at an item or person unless you intend to shoot it.
Missteps in Trainee Shooting Ran Afoul of Standards, Experts Say Baltimore Police Department promises a full reviewBy Justin George | The Baltimore Sun
The director of Baltimore’s police training academy didn’t know that instructors were holding exercises at an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Owings Mills. There were no supervisors on site. A police service weapon somehow got mixed up with a practice paint-cartridge pistol. The gun was pointed at a trainee . . . click to continue
Here are several more detail reports concerning the trainee shooting
- Was It a Joke Gone Wrong?
- Concerns That Training Was Not Fully Staffed When Recruit Was Shot
- Police refuse to release policies in wake of training shooting
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