A Unique Kind of Training

Bremerton Police Lieutenant Greg Rawlins recently invited me to participate in a very hands-on type of training that each officer goes through about four times a year.

On Monday, I went out to the police’s shooting range and strapped on all kinds of protective gear. I was given an “air soft” pistol that fired Co2-charged white BBs at about 300 feet per second.

The training, he said, was to let officers prepare for an event so rare they’ll likely never have to do it during their law enforcement careers: fire their sidearms.

I got to experience the following scenario for myself.


I entered a small, makeshift “house” — consisting of broken boards and tall barricades mostly — and began to hear a voice at the back.

It was a business owner — AKA a Bremerton Special Operations Group detective — who “wasn’t going back to jail.”

The adrenaline pushed my heart rate up as I called out to have him put his hands in the air. Aside from feeling the rush of what the real experience might actually be like, I knew the air soft pistol he might — or might not — have, is also not very enjoyable to get hit with.

The man suddenly came from behind a barricade and raised his right arm to me.

I fired.

Direct hit.

I was pleased at first, having struck the bad guy, who I thought was about to shoot me.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t holding a gun — rather, it was a cell phone. Oops.

The experience was an eye-opening one that gave me more insight as to pressures of being a police officer. Though they might fire their semiautomatics very rarely, they can encounter highly stressful situations on a daily basis.

What else did it teach me? That I think I’ll stick to covering the cops beat — not becoming one myself.

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