By: Brandon Scott, WOWT Channel 6
Today, local law enforcement spent the day training at the 88 Tactical shooting range in Tekamah. The officers learned how to defend themselves if a routine traffic stop were to turn into a gun battle.
The training course was led by 88 Tactical Senior Instructor William Petty, a former Albuquerque police officer who, like so many other officers, once found himself in the middle of a vehicle firefight. Petty told WOWT 6 News: “There was a bad guy and there was a vehicle and there was me, and I felt like the training that I had was very under par for the task at hand. So that’s a pretty bad situation to be in. No one wants to be an in engagement where all the marbles are on the line and you are just trying to make it up as you go.”
Now Petty teaches law enforcement from Nebraska and around the world how to take cover and return fire. Officers from Dallas, New York, even federal officers and U.S. military members have enrolled in the intense, high-pressure training course.
However, no amount of training can prepare officers for encounters with life-like toy weapons. Trevor Thrasher, 88 Tactical’s C.O.O., showed WOWT 6 News how the required orange tip on a toy gun can easily be covered with black tape. With the tape concealing the orange, Thrasher said law enforcement could mistake the toy for a real weapon. He said: “If they raise that weapon toward an officer, the way officers are trained, they’re trained to use deadly force when it’s reasonable. A reasonable officer could be in fear for his life at that time and use deadly force.”
A Gage County boy recently brandished a toy handgun, threatening people and resulting in his arrest. Gage County Sheriff’s Deputies thought the gun was real. It wasn’t until the life-like ammunition was closely examined that the gun was determined to be fake. No one was hurt. The boy is currently in the Sarpy County Juvenile Justice Center.