DeFuniak Springs Police are required to pass a qualification course semi-annually in order to carry their firearms. This year is no different except that the officers have now completed an additional intensive training for their newly acquired and issued AR-15 Semi-Automatic Rifles.
Officers routinely train to use handguns and shotguns, but using a semi-automatic rifle requires the same intense classroom and range training used in the military. On October 19th and 20th DeFuniak Springs Police Officers were trained how to use the AR-15, a military-style weapon that police across the country are using and carrying in their cruisers more often. Officers started out in the classroom for instruction on the use, breakdown, and re-assembly of the weapon. They proceeded to the range for qualifications and to hone their new skills as they learned to shoot the new weapon from various distances, standing, crouching, and prone positions. This weapon is an outstanding piece of life sustaining equipment because it is very accurate and has very little recoil. The rifle, which weighs about 8 pounds, provides DeFuniak Springs Police Officers with far greater range than the pistol or shotgun they normally carry. After successful qualifications, each officer was issued one of the newly acquired AR-15’s.
“In the world we now live in, we have to be as armed as the criminals,” said DeFuniak Springs City Marshal Mark Weeks. “It is an unfortunate sign of the times, but police officers must be equipped with and trained to use these types of weapons to protect the community. This is an additional crime fighting tool that will give us another option if an officer or citizen comes under attack,” said Weeks.