OLD SAYBROOK, CT (WFSB) -- Old Saybrook officers train and re-certify in “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” scenarios.
Every year, officers need to be re-certified by experts in ‘refresher’ programs, including physical skills sets, and training in their shooting capability.
For the last week, Channel 3 saw the behind-the-scenes of the Old Saybrook Police Department’s “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” program. The program helps keep officers’ skills sharp in split second and possibly life-threatening decisions.
Officer Josh Zarbo and Officer Heath Stratidis told Channel 3 that they will fire at least 60 rounds from their department-issued weapons in the next two hours.
Lieutenant Jeff DePerry is instructing the officers on proper protocol.
“Identify the threat and take action as necessary,” explains Lt. DePerry.
The officers’ first scenario is in the dark, which allows them to test their flashlight technique with a gun in a basement.
“Its effective training. It allows them to make decisions and to justify reasons they made those decisions,” said Lt. DePerry.
The officers’ the biggest lesson is every call from dispatch is different. With their technology, the officers are put into simulations, based on real-life scenarios. In one exercise, the officers were called to respond to a domestic dispute in which a woman was on a couch threatening herself with a gun.
“In the real world you have up, down, left, right behind you, no matter what. Here it’s in front of you but in the real world, it’s all around you,” said Officer Zarbo.
The officers are trained every year. Officers are often trained in a low-light situation, which mimics real-life situations.
“It also shows you that not everything is bad,” Officer Stratidis. “You’re not walking into every situation where someone is going to get arrested, someone is going to get hurt, but it definitely helps you think.”
After each scenario, the officers are critiqued on their response.
“The threat stopped, said Lt. DePery. “The threat stopped, so you stopped shooting.”
The officers told Channel 3 that although the training is a simulation, it feels very real.