Recommendations for young, wannabe police officer


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JackBurtonJr
September 19, 2008, 09:19 AM
I know a young man who wants to be a police officer. He's the kind of guy we need to encourage -- bright, affable, with a real servant's heart.

However, he's never, ever shot a handgun before. I'm taking him to the range this morning to at least get him acquainted with the basics.

Any thoughts on books/videos about shooting that would be appropriate (and actually worthwhile) for him to acquire while he is in the process of applying for the position.

Certainly I will be sending him to Col. Cooper but any other thoughts will be helpful.

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Borch
September 19, 2008, 09:29 AM
Pretty much anything by Massad Ayoob. Although some of the stuff he has written is intended for a more advanced shooter he has written a bunch of books for beginners, not to mention about a billion articles in different gun rags and cop magazines.

One more thing, I'm sure you probably know this but, start him off with a simple, tame weapon. The first handgun I shot my uncle put a 1911 .45 in my hand and said, "Fire away." Needless to say that at 12 years old I was a little timid about handguns for a while after that. I'm sure he's older than 12 but handguns are intimidating for new shooters of any age. Especially big ones.

IndianaBoy
September 19, 2008, 09:34 AM
Start him on a 22. Make it fun for him and he will do well.

JackBurtonJr
September 19, 2008, 09:46 AM
That's what my Ruger 22/45 is for. :)

Ben Shepherd
September 19, 2008, 09:49 AM
Also start him close enough.

As far as books go, A Nation of Cowards by Jeff Snyder is a good read.

scrat
September 19, 2008, 10:11 AM
focus on safety first. show him how to unload it safely and all proper uses.

Eric F
September 19, 2008, 03:31 PM
have him look up geko45 and read everything as an example oh how not to act!

James T Thomas
September 19, 2008, 03:45 PM
I don't know of any better book to recommend to you for him than the Bible.

It's full of human pathos, and truths about life as it is; as right and wrong, good judgement, and integrity.

After all that, it speaks to the "servant's heart," so much.
Try to counsel your young man that he doesn't become jaded because most of humanity he will deal with will be not helpable, that is irredeemable.

I recommend starting him off with the double action revolver.
No other handgun will give him the mastery of sight picture -trigger control connection as does the double action revolver. And he will not be tempted to get into the "fire power" reflex with it either.

Mannlicher
September 19, 2008, 03:48 PM
I hope he realizes, that rightly or wrongly, a lot of folks just don't like the police. Many citizens don't trust them, or want to be around them.
He needs to know that he will get negative vibes from a number of folks he runs up against.
It is almost never anything personal, but the result of some traffic stop or other 'interface' that left a bad taste in the Citizens mouth.

CountGlockula
September 19, 2008, 03:57 PM
Have fun.

Old Grump
September 19, 2008, 04:05 PM
+1 on single action 22 revolver and bulls eye targets set up at 50' or 25 yards. Just want to teach him the basics in safety, sight and trigger control and basics of marksmanship. Ayoob and Cooper are good reading but the academy is going to have their own procedures in place and a new shooter sometimes has an easier time learning from scratch than if he has already been trained in a different system. Marksmanship training at simple bullseye targets and plinking at reactive targets like water filled jugs and tin cans is a plus because good marksmanship is a positive no matter what combat system style he is going to learn.

Henry Bowman
September 19, 2008, 04:45 PM
Give him a copy of Unintended Consequences by John Ross. Seriously.

JackBurtonJr
September 19, 2008, 05:53 PM
Well, we had a good day at the range. I started him off with the Four Rules and had him memorize them before we did anything else. We spent the first 30 minutes on that alone.

I had him shooting at five inch pie plates at 25 feet with my Ruger .22 to start. He could pretty much keep most of them in the circle.

When we moved to 25 yards he had a much tougher time with grouping.

I tried to keep everything at the really basic level, with understanding that his real training would come from the Academy. He really enjoyed what I was able to show him and is very interested in going back again.

But it offended my sense of propriety that someone could be going off to be a policeman without ever having picked up a gun in his life.:)

He's in my daughter's college and careers class at church so I don't think he'll be one of the ones to go off and come back a stormtrooper. We had about as much talk on that as we did anything else. He's opposed to the current trend of militarizing the police, and wants to be a "peace officer."

I wish him the best of fortune.

Old Grump
September 19, 2008, 09:21 PM
Good job and more power to the young one.

Ben Shepherd
September 19, 2008, 11:19 PM
Jack,
Hat's off to you sir. With a respectful bow.

DMF
September 21, 2008, 07:55 PM
Give him a copy of Unintended Consequences by John Ross. Seriously.Why would you recommend a book filled with lies, and anti-LE nonsense for a kid wanting to be a cop. :rolleyes:

DMF
September 21, 2008, 08:02 PM
1st, I'd say don't teach him about firearms. It's very possible you will teach him something that might conflict with the training he will recieve at the academy. That's not to say that you would be teaching him anything "wrong", but that it just might conflict with the particular training program he will doing at the academy. That might actually hinder his performance due him having to "unlearn" some things while trying to also learn the techniques as taught at the Academy.

As for reading I'd suggest, "Into the Kill Zone: A Cop's Eye View of Deadly Force." It's written by a former LAPD officer who was forced to kill someone while a rookie, then went on get a PhD in Sociology, and did research on deadly force encounters.

JackBurtonJr
September 21, 2008, 11:55 PM
"1st, I'd say don't teach him about firearms. It's very possible you will teach him something that might conflict with the training he will recieve at the academy. That's not to say that you would be teaching him anything "wrong", but that it just might conflict with the particular training program he will doing at the academy. That might actually hinder his performance due him having to "unlearn" some things while trying to also learn the techniques as taught at the Academy."

If a person can't easily "unlearn" an hours worth of informal instruction out on the range then they probably shouldn't be a cop.

Scoutsout2645
September 22, 2008, 12:12 AM
Teach him the basics--sight picture, breathing, safety, trigger control, etc. DON'T worry about the more "high speed" stuff like drawing from the holster, shooting while moving, double taps and so on until he gets out of the academy. His firearms instructors are going to have a specific set of techniques that they will teach him and that he will need to learn--a task that is easier to accomplish from a "clean slate". Teach him to walk and that will let others teach him to run.

As far as what weapon to start with...my first handgun was a 1911 at the age of 18. If he's old enough to take on a man's job, he's old enough to use a man's tools. .22s may be easy to shoot, but look at what the local departments use and get him used to that round (9mm and .40 are pretty much the industry standard, although I know a few Departments up my way that use .45s). Same with equipment...I don't want to turn this into a revolver vs. semi-auto debate, but the reality is that virtually every LE agency out there uses semi-autos and that is what he should train on. Teach him how a revolver functions and how to make one safe (crucial general weapons knowledge that all LEOs should have), but teach him to shoot on a semi-auto.

But it offended my sense of propriety that someone could be going off to be a policeman without ever having picked up a gun in his life
Nothing personal, but nothing irritates me more than quotes like this for two very different but equally important reasons (and I'll temper my response since you did throw the smiley on there).
1) I joined the Army at 18 having never shot anything but my Grandpa's pellet gun. Qualified expert with the 1911 and M16 and was surgical with my M203. I also saw guys "raised with guns" who couldn't hit 100yd targets, let alone the 300s. Prior experience may help but it is not a valid indicator of performance.

2) I have been a LEO for almost 14 yrs, and have known 100s of years' worth of LEO experience from guys in rural to the most urban departments in my state. I have never had to shoot anyone and the majority of LEOs out there will finish their careers never using their weapon off the range. The Hollywood/TV mythology that cops do nothing but shoot people is possibly one of the most damaging to the profession. Showing that attitude to an impressionable future LEO may very well get him in the mindset of pulling, or using, that weapon prematurely. There IS a violent, physical component to what we do but your future LEO is far more likely to get into a hand-to-hand brawl with an unarmed person than into a gunfight--has he ever been punched (REALLY punched) in the face? Does he know how to wrestle or grapple? Does he know what it's like to get the wind knocked out of him or get hit from behind and still have to fight off an attacker? THESE are the lifesaving skills that he should learn before getting on the job long before he needs to worry about shooting.

Enough ranting...thank you for trying to teach a young man a valuable skill and taking an interest in helping him in his career.

Best of luck in his ambition. Be safe.

Aguila Blanca
September 22, 2008, 12:16 AM
Certainly I will be sending him to Col. Cooper but any other thoughts will be helpful.
I thought you wanted to help the kid.

Then you want to off him? Sheesh ...

stevelyn
September 22, 2008, 06:09 AM
Why would you recommend a book filled with lies, and anti-LE nonsense for a kid wanting to be a cop.

As an example of how not to act.

I didn't find it to be anti LEO at all unless you regard the sturmtruppen thug bastards of the Waffen BATFEces LE. I don't. I think they are an embarrassment to cops and I don't think of them as one of us.
It's like calling the SS a public safety department.

I wouldn't get in too deep with teaching him about shooting.

Like the military, the academy has a specific firearms doctrine that they teach. The less bad habits, misconceptions or pratices they show up with the easier they are to teach and make it through the first time.

Sixtigers
September 22, 2008, 06:25 AM
Actually, familiarizing this promising young man with firearms may be incredibly harmful to his chances of becoming a police officer.

I cannot stress this enough. For my two cents, I wouldn't do it.

Familiarization with firearms can do tremendous damage during pre-entry psychological evaluations. It would be in the young man's best interest to let his weapons training come from academy sources.

YMMV. With all respect intended.

Kind of Blued
September 22, 2008, 06:48 AM
We have some worriers!

Teaching the guy how sights work, not to jerk a trigger, not to point a gun at anything he doesn't want to destroy, and keeping his finger off of the trigger until ready to shoot is not going to "come back and haunt him" when he gets into a dept.

A co-worker of mine who is in the academy brought in his XD the other day to show it to us and muzzle*&^#%$ every one of us.

If nothing else, this fellow the OP is helping can now go into the Academy having shot a gun before. Even if he forgets everything, at least he won't be as nervous.

Scoutsout2645
September 22, 2008, 07:33 AM
Sixtigers:
Familiarization with firearms can do tremendous damage during pre-entry psychological evaluations

What??! I'm from NJ and that strikes me as some of the worst anti- propaganda I've heard in years. I know LOTS of guys who are on the job that were "familiar" with guns beforehand (myself included) that had NO problems with the psych. Relax.

deaconkharma
September 22, 2008, 08:12 AM
He can look at what both sides say and the arguments presented from both. Let him decide what to think. There is enough back and forth between the thin blue line and the two black lines here for him to make a judgement. Hopefully he can split the hair between personal safety and respect for others' liberties.;)


Darn can't edit my poor spelling... Tell HIM to read this board. (not HIME
-darn hooked on phonics!)

Old Grump
September 23, 2008, 04:40 PM
Sixtigers are you recommending that police officers should not know how to shoot or be familiar with guns. That is confusing advice for a gun forum. If I was a screener trying to find qualified police officers I would definitely want somebody with some familiarity and with a comfort level with firearms of all types.

JackBurtonJr
September 23, 2008, 05:21 PM
There IS a violent, physical component to what we do but your future LEO is far more likely to get into a hand-to-hand brawl with an unarmed person than into a gunfight--has he ever been punched (REALLY punched) in the face? Does he know how to wrestle or grapple? Does he know what it's like to get the wind knocked out of him or get hit from behind and still have to fight off an attacker? THESE are the lifesaving skills that he should learn before getting on the job long before he needs to worry about shooting.

The kid's six inches taller than me 35 years younger, and outweighs me by 40 pounds. I'll let you punch him in the face to show him how it feels.:neener:

Seriously, you bring up good points but I'm not in any way qualified to teach him any of those other important things that you mention. I can teach him the Four Rules though.

We actually spent more time going over the concept of the handgun as the symbol of police authority, and the need for "peace officers" vs. stormtroopers than we did out at the range.

But he's a good kid. Just like a big puppy. I don't want to see him hurt because he falls under the influence of so many other LEOs -- negligent of how to properly use his primary deadly weapon.

Jeff White
September 23, 2008, 06:35 PM
I'm with DMF, don't get into any kind of firearms training with him. He may pick up habits that will conflict with what he's taught at the academy and have to unlearn them.

If you want to help him in his future profession get him some classes in English composition, writing, grammar and punctuation. A good deal of his job will be about how well he can communicate in writing. Another helpful thing would be to learn Spanish. I doubt there is any place in the lower 48 where the ability to speak Spanish wouldn't be very handy.

I don't want to see him hurt because he falls under the influence of so many other LEOs -- negligent of how to properly use his primary deadly weapon.

Then share your love for shooting with him. Let him find out for himself that it's a fun activity to be enjoyed. He's going to be working long, odd hours, he will have a family and other things demanding his time. If shooting isn't something he enjoys for recreation, he's probably not going to be any more proficient then his employer requires. It's not the influence of other officers that keeps an officer form being as proficient as you'd like him to be, it's the officer himself. If it's important to him, he'll do it. If it's just another job requirement, it probably won't be.

Jeff

M203Sniper
September 24, 2008, 02:36 AM
you did a good thing Jack, Ignore what these other guys are rambling about; Your kid will remember the guy that showed him the basics that one time before the academy...










and that's a good thing for a lot more reasons than sight alignment and sight picture.

;)

JackBurtonJr
September 24, 2008, 11:56 AM
you did a good thing Jack,

Actually, he's going out to AZ for his job. He says the cities are hiring in large quantities and he thinks he has an excellent opportunity to snag one.

Around here there are about 100 applicants for every job opening, and much of the hiring is political anyway.

MarcusWendt
September 24, 2008, 01:20 PM
Tell him to join the Fire Dept. Everyone likes Firemen. :)

CountGlockula
September 24, 2008, 01:23 PM
Actually, DO NOT DO ANYTHING regarding firearms with him.

Most academies, want fresh off the boat recruits. If he is accepted into the academy, he may have some hesistation when the PD Firearms Instructors show him a different method of shooting.

So, encourage him to be open to all types of methods. A friend was rejected because he owned too many guns; therefore the department labeled him as a "liability" and can't risk having him in the force.

okiebuckout
September 24, 2008, 01:35 PM
Its always nice to have experience with firearms, but not always necessary. Just look at our military. I served 10 years in the army and believe me, there where plenty of new cruits that had never picked up a rifle or any firearm for that matter. As long as they have a desire to learn and a head on their shoulders they do alright.

Gordon Fink
September 24, 2008, 01:42 PM
I know a young man who wants to be a police officer. He’s the kind of guy we need to encourage—bright, affable, with a real servant’s heart.

However, he’s never, ever shot a handgun before.…

His lack of firearms experience is irrelevant. He will learn everything his department wants him to know during training.

That said, I would encourage him not to become a police officer.

~G. Fink

Old Grump
September 24, 2008, 02:27 PM
Somebody has to be a policeman Mr. Fink and it sounds like this young man might be the kind any department and any community would want.

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