There are those instance when criminals pluck up the nerve to point their weapon at sworn officers of the law, who may find themselves in a situation where they're threatened by not one but maybe two or more firearms from offenders.
In situations such as these, shotguns play a critical role in the protection of a law enforcement officer's life, and Monday evening officers with the West Point Police Department trained for the first time with their new shotguns, issued to them through a grant, that all officers will possess while on duty.
Last October, the West Point Police Department was approved for an $8,000 Edward Byrne Memorial Local Law Justice Assistance Grant through which brand new Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun with synthetic stocks were purchased along with several bullet proof vests. West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley said the Remington brand is popular in the law enforcement community and the Remington shotguns are reliable weapons. The grant funds, awarded through the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, had to be expended within a year.
In each patrol unit, custom shotgun racks have already been installed.
Monday night, WPPD Firearms Instructor Bob Moore trained officers on different techniques for the shotgun, such as how to properly load the shotgun with buck shots or slugs, proper stance, how to position their weapon and how to aim. Personal safety is the number one reason for the use of shotguns in law enforcement, Brinkley said, and it's vital that each officer know how to use the shotgun.
“When officers are at risk from multiple violators who are threatening his life, a shotgun is much more useful because it has more fire power than a regular sidearm,” Brinkley said. “Whereas with pistol he has to be very accurate where he places his shot, but with a shotgun it's basically point and shoot. Also, shotguns tend to be a whole lot more intimidating because of the size, so it's really useful to gain control of an unruly situation when the threat rises to the level of deadly force.”
Currently WPPD officers re-certify once a year in firearms, but Brinkley said soon the department will begin training in firearms twice a year – one for day shoot qualification and one for night shoot qualification. Training in firearm usage at night is important, Brinkley said, because the majority of fire fights occur in low light situations. Proficiency in shotgun utilization is just as important as it is for officers to be skilled in the usage of their regular sidearm, he said.