Officer's Records Reveal Extensive Firearms Training
POSTED: 7:55 p.m. EDT September 28, 2005
UPDATED: 9:28 a.m. EDT September 29, 2005
Story by WESH.com
ORLANDO, Fla. -- WESH 2's I-Team has obtained the training records of the University of Central Florida officer who died while working undercover at last weekend's football game.
The records show an officer eager to learn and one with a lot of training in firearms in a short amount of time.
Officer Mario Jenkins' personnel file and training records show he was well-trained in weapons ranging from Glock pistols to M-16 assault rifle. So, why did he fire his gun into the air, when almost every law enforcement training manual says an officer should never fire warning shots?
The home video of the massive crowd outside the Citrus Bowl shows the confusion and panic after Jenkins was shot. He had been in plain clothes working a detail looking for underage drinkers before Saturday's football game.
After confronting some students, witnesses say Jenkins pulled his gun and fired, possibly warning shots into the air.
Jenkins' personnel file describes him as very calm under pressure. It also shows he'd taken at least six firearms and tactical use-of-force courses during his four years as a UCF officer.
Among the certifications in his file are a 44-hour firearms instructor course, several SWAT team training sessions, 28 hours of course work in Glock and Colt handguns, a 40-hour firearms instructor certification course and a 24-hour course in the use of a Colt M-16 Rifle.
In 2003, Jenkins also passed an advanced class in the use of a Taser M-26 stun gun.
Eleven police officers and firearms instructors from different agencies told WESH 2 News that all those training courses stress that a police officer never fires warning shots.
"Generally speaking, you never pull your weapon unless you're going to use it," said Kerry Farney, a police security consultant. "These are misdemeanor cases. You not going to shoot someone over a misdemeanor. You certainly don't fire warning shots."
Neither UCF's police department nor the Florida Department of Law Enforcement would comment about the case because their investigations into the shooting are ongoing. So, they won't answer why a trained officer like Jenkins would be firing so-called warning shots.
I guess the training didnt take. IMO an officer with only 4 years experiance should not be working plain clothes and certainly not undercover.