Editor’s note: This is an additional story in a series that will follow the Fairborn Citizen’s Police Academy. Look for the installment each week until the course ends.
FAIRBORN — Gun ownership is accompanied by rules that are meant to keep individuals safe, both officers who patrol the streets and those who keep firearms in their homes. Fairborn police officials covered these rules, as well as the use of Tasers and firearms during week six of the Fairborn Citizens Police Academy.
“Handle all firearms as if it’s loaded,” Fairborn police officer Bill Titley said. “If you treat every single firearm like it’s loaded all the time, it eliminates every other problem.”
At least once per year, Fairborn officers undergo the same firearm safety presentation. Rules include always treating all firearms as if they are loaded, keeping firearms pointed in a safe direction, avoiding placing fingers on the trigger until the user is ready to fire, being aware of the target and surroundings, not attempting to catch dropped firearms until they hit the ground and securing them within homes.
“If we’re engaging someone with a firearm, [we have to make] sure we’re aware of our target and what’s behind it,” Titley said. “Just because we have a shot on someone who is trying to shoot other people or hurt us, if there’s people behind them we have to be aware that our bullets could go through them or miss them. We have to make sure to train everyone not to look at just the target.”
Officers suggest keeping all household members educated about firearms, as doing so will help to eliminate mystery and curiosity. As individuals keep firearms in their homes, they should be kept inaccessible from inexperienced users and in a consistent fashion.
“Your firearm should be kept in the same place in the exact same condition all the time,” Titley said.
Keeping firearms stored under pillows is a bad idea, according to officers. Instead, they suggest having a three-step process when it comes to accessing firearms. If an individual were to suspect that they were about to become a victim of a crime in the middle of the night, the process for retrieving a firearm should include getting out of bed, accessing it and having a light source attached.
“Now you’re consciously awake before you access that firearm and start doing something inside your house,” Fairborn police officer Jim Hardman said.
Use of Tasers
A Taser works by interrupting the messages in the central nervous system and causing neuromuscular incapacitation. Fairborn Operations Sgt. Mark Stannard described getting “tased” as similar to a vigorous workout. It must be shot within a certain range in order to have an impact.
Week seven of the Citizens Police Academy will target use of force scenarios and self defense.
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532 or on Twitter, @wnvickers. For more content online, visit our website or like our Facebook page.