Right after being trained on how to use it, Waterford Police Sgt. James Dimmock wanted to show Chief Murray Pendleton what he could do with a sniper rifle.
So he shot a quarter from 100-yards away, and showed the chief. Pendleton liked the artifact and kept the quarter, which had a hole blown through it, so Dimmock shot another one.
“I keep it on me wherever I go,” he said. “I feel naked without it.”
Waterford has two sniper rifles, and two officers trained to use them, Dimmock and officer Rob Winters. The force also is increasing its number of M-4 rifles, while every officer still carries a .40-caliber glock and a shotgun is in every cruiser.
“We are actually getting away from the shotgun, and more to the rifle,” said Police Officer Robert Strohl, who is one of four officers who run the force’s gun department.
Strohl and Dimmock gave a presentation to members of the Thursday night. The two officers gave a presentation on when an officer uses his or her gun, and described the Waterford Police Department’s arsenal.
Recently, the town bought replacing officers' 14-year-old handguns. But the big push is to get more and more officers trained with an M-4 rifle, with 19 officers certified and equipped with the gun, Dimmock said.
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The rifle is preferred because an officer can shoot accurately from 100 yards, instead of a shotgun, which has a much shorter range, Dimmock said. Also a shotgun has a wide spray, and can be dangerous to use in most situations, he said.
Also, because of school shootings, the rifles are preferred, Dimmock said. An officer might have to shoot somebody down a long hallway, for example, and the rifle is a better gun for long distances, he said.
Officers have to recertify for their handguns every year by shooting a target from 25 yards away, Strohl said. But the training for rifles is much more intense, he said.
To become certified, officers go through a three-day training course with the rifle, and during that time they must carry the rifle on them at all times, Strohl said. And while for the test, officers stand still, in the training officers learn tactical measures and shoot while dodging and moving, he said.
For the rifle certification test, an officer begins in his or her cruiser, with the seat belt on and the rifle put away. Then in a minute they have to get out of the car and shoot a target 100 yards away with the rifle, Strohl said.