Area law enforcement deserves training site
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:00 AM
It might not wind up located on 100 acres along Old Laurens Road, but we would have to agree with the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office that a good law enforcement training facility is warranted somewhere. In fact, we would like to see such a facility be established and shared by area law enforcement agencies.
Capt. Dale Kittles, who is in charge of the sheriff's office training, discussed the possibility of the sheriff's office acquiring land that was set aside as part of the Greenwood County Airport's master plan to establish a training facility.
It would not, Kittles emphasized, simply be a firing range for target practice. There are several of those around the Lakelands. Instead, Kittles said, deputies need tactical training, the kind of training that puts them in the more realistic scenarios they could face on any given day, scenarios that result in split-second decisions about whether to fire a weapon. He's correct. A shooting range merely provides target practice.
Officers stand in a line, aim and shoot at stationary targets that are placed at a set distance away from them. It's what hunters do, it's what the gun-owning hobbyist does for fun and sport. It is not, however, authentic training for the types of situations officers might face in carrying out their day-to-day duties.
Greenwood deputies are not the only law enforcement officers in the Lakelands area who could reap many benefits from such a facility. Plenty of evidence exists that our corner of the state is not quite as serene as it once was. On a near daily basis, area law enforcement faces a barrage of trying situations that puts their lives and the lives at others at risk. We are a den for domestic violence, our gang and drug crimes are not going away, either. Far better we do what is right by our officers and they, in turn, do right by us through ongoing and proper tactical training beyond what they receive at the academies.
In discussing the facility further, Kittles said his office did explore funding a shared facility, but that brought to light some liability concerns. However, he added the sheriff's office is committed to allowing other agencies access to its facility, should it come to fruition. And in doing so, the sheriff's office would be eligible for federal funding through grants, which would offset the costs of maintaining such a site.
"It is our goal to provide the best, most up-to-date realistic training for all public safety officers," Kittles wrote in an email.
"This goes much deeper than what it appears. It is our goal that such a facility would provide training opportunity to not only law enforcement, but to EMS and fire and rescue personnel as well," he said.
From our vantage point, that sounds like a worthy investment.