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Timothy Roufa

Baltimore Tragedy Demonstrates Tremendous Responsibility of Training Officers

By February 17, 2013

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It's little secret that law enforcement careers are dangerous. Besides the fact that officers can be injured or killed in the line of duty, studies have demonstrated that policing can actually be hazardous to your health. Even during training, officers run the risk of getting hurt or worse, as was seen in Baltimore this past week.

During a training exercise that was apparently supposed to use simunitions instead of duty ammunition, a Baltimore police officer was shot and killed by a fellow officer. This, unfortunately, was a tragedy that could have been easily avoided.

Simunitions rounds are special ammunition designed to shoot paint projectiles instead of the traditional bullet. Unlike paint pellets and air guns, simunitions rounds are shot from firearms, similar to regular bullets. They're an excellent training tool, as long as stringent safety precautions are adhered to. In the case of the Baltimore incident, a non-modified weapon and live rounds were mixed up with the sims guns, leading to disaster and tragedy.

Training officers have a tremendous responsibility to prepare officers for the challenges they will face on the road. At the same time, they must ensure that training can be as realistic as possible while maintaining a safe environment so that everyone makes it home at the end of the day. Apparently, that didn't occur in Baltimore, and now a life is lost and a department is reeling from a tragedy that never should have been.

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