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Posted: 3/8/2006 5:31:08 AM EDT
Someone please make the link hot.
BW


Firearms instructor was warned

Basic gun rules broken in police recruit's death

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/cobb/stories/0304metgrand.html

(Investigation synopsis available in PDF form at the above link)





By BRENDEN SAGER

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 03/04/06



Recruits in a Cobb County police firearms class were worried about an instructor's teaching methods moments before he shot and killed a member of the class, an investigative report released Friday shows.



In fact, the report said that recruits in Cobb Sheriff's Deputy Al Jackson's class didn't want to follow his instructions to point weapons at their classmates, and that Jackson physically moved them and their guns to bear on one another.



Jackson shot and killed Tara Drummond, a 23-year-old Kennesaw Police Department recruit, on Sept. 13, at the North Central Georgia Law Enforcement Academy in Austell.



The report also says that in 2000, the director of the police academy forbade Jackson in writing from using live weapons in class, and a variety of weapons instructors said Jackson violated the most rudimentary tenet of firearms instruction: Don't point a working gun, loaded or not, at a person.



Cobb police officials on Friday released a summary of their investigation into the fatal shooting. The report became public after a Cobb County grand jury declined Thursday to indict Jackson, 49, on any crime.



The grand jury was asked to consider two misdemeanor charges against Jackson, reckless conduct and involuntary manslaughter, according to documents filed in court.



The police investigation, completed in November, did not recommend charges against Jackson, Cobb Public Safety Director Mickey Lloyd said. The report released Friday said there was no criminal intent by Jackson but was critical of his teaching methods.



"The class and the instructors were armed with functioning weapons, magazines and utility belts," the report said. "Sergeant Jackson instructed the students to point their weapons at each other.



"The students stated they were pointing their weapons at the wall to avoid direct aim at their classmates. ... Students were verbally and physically moved into this face-to-face position by Sergeant Jackson.



"The drill included dropping the magazine in the weapon, reloading with a spare magazine, charging the weapon with a dummy round, pointing the weapon at a fellow student, and pulling the trigger.



"Sergeant Jackson completed the first course of fire and transitioned to his second magazine. The weapon discharged and struck Recruit Tara Drummond in the chest."



Bob Sanderson, assistant director of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, said Friday the exercise was a significant departure from normal training procedures.



"Even with simulations, you don't line up students across from each other and practice loading and aiming and shooting at someone," Sanderson said. "There are drills you do, where you drop your magazine, aim and fire, but you do it on the firing range. I never heard of anyone conducting their drills that way. That is completely contrary to what I know of."



Sanderson said a fake gun — a molded solid piece of plastic — and dummy bullets would normally be used for such classroom exercises.



Dummy rounds are "blanks" designed to simulate the weight and feel of a live round, but without any projectile, Cobb Sheriff's Col. Don Bartlett said.



The synopsis of the police investigation was not clear on how a live round — the fatal bullet — came to enter Jackson's 9 mm semiautomatic handgun. Police recovered the shell casing and the projectile from the training classroom.



All ammunition is banned from the building, and state policy bans any working firearm — loaded or not — from police academy classrooms, officials said.



The state oversees the center in Austell and nine other regional police academies. The Austell academy is operated by Cobb County under a contract with the state.



"The lab also advised that the projectile was ammunition generally used at a live fire range," the report said.



Jackson, a 23-year veteran of the sheriff's office who had taught at the academy for 10 years, "stated that the dummy rounds were stored in a range box which he had left in the classroom. The dummy rounds had been used on a live fire range a few weeks prior to the incident. ... [Jackson] had not checked the dummy rounds after they came off the range or before he inserted them into his weapon."



Sanderson said any ammunition should be checked and rechecked as it passes from different locations.



"Certainly, safety would require that you re-inventory your dummy rounds and containers for your ammunition so you make sure you don't risk mixing live with dummy rounds," Sanderson said.



The report also concluded that "there appeared to be little review by North Central Georgia Law Enforcement Academy Staff on how Sergeant Jackson taught this class."



Carole Morgan, director of the training center, said Friday instructors were following standard procedures when the shooting occurred.



"Everything that we were doing was consistent with what we should have been doing," Morgan said. "There is no live ammunition in our classes."



Morgan said she had not seem the Cobb police report. She said the academy interviewed all of the staff, but it would not release details about the academy's response to Drummond's death until all the investigations are complete.



The Cobb Sheriff's Office still has an open administrative personnel investigation.



Cobb police released only the investigative synopsis Friday, a four-page document that's part of a larger 2,500-page report on the shooting.



Police declined to release the entire report because personnel details were being redacted.



The summary on Jackson concludes in fairly blunt terms:



"He deviated from the basic fundamentals of firearms safety which resulted in this tragedy."



Jackson's attorney, Lance LoRusso, could not be reached Friday.

Link Posted: 3/8/2006 6:51:06 AM EDT
The first rule of firearms safety being violated by an intructor..............hmmmmmmmm, I think he should be canned.
Link Posted: 3/8/2006 7:11:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/8/2006 7:13:41 AM EDT by bruh44]
Canned? I was thinking more like prosecuted, I'm amazed he wasn't charged.
Link Posted: 3/8/2006 7:15:08 AM EDT
Lock him up for felony stupidity. Of course, he's not going to go to jail...he MIGHT get fired.

As an aside, if I were a student in that class, I would LEAVE immediately when the instructor started telling people to point service weapons at each other, especially considering the presence of live ammunition in the room.

Looks like they knew he was an idiot before. Someone's ass should be sued but good over that.
Link Posted: 3/8/2006 7:30:42 AM EDT
R.I.P. Officer Tara Drummond.

As far as Deputy Idiot Al Jackson, he should have been charged.

www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/cobb/stories/0304metgrand.html



______________________________



Link Posted: 3/8/2006 8:24:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/8/2006 8:25:00 AM EDT by NorCal_LEO]
Link Posted: 3/8/2006 8:41:39 AM EDT
Most instructors, including me would never consider this teaching technique.
Link Posted: 3/8/2006 9:17:22 AM EDT
Young eager recruit cut down before hitting the streets. Prayers.
Link Posted: 3/8/2006 2:50:32 PM EDT
I had an oral board where I was handed a .38 at the begining of the board. They told me that I could use the weapon if I felt it would help in the senario based portion of the board. I checked the weapon and insured it was clear. They began asking questions and I realized something STUPID was about to happen.

I stopped the board and told them that I did not feel comfortable being given a weapon and not knowing the condition of every gun in the room. I knew I was being expected to point it at someone. I didn't want them to point a gun, loaded or not at me. They told me I could put the gun down if I wanted and use my finger. The very next question was senario based and the detective on my right jumped up out of his seat, unholstered his concealed Glock and put it to the head of the Lt. sitting next to him. There was a mag sticking out of the mag well. He starts yelling and screaming that he is going to kill the Lt. based on the question. I pointed my finger and told him he was dead. Then the BS justification questions started as to why I would have killed him. I could not wait to get out of that room. I was just waiting for the Lt.'s brains to be plastered all over the wall. I should have just gotten up an walked out the door at that time but I was in shock as to what they were doing. Instead, as soon as I got home I called the Civil Service Officer for the city and had my name taken off of the hiring list. I refuse to work with people who don't follow basic common sense and safety rules. Had they given the senarios with red guns I would have played. I warn everyone I can about testing with that agency. If that is how their oral boards go I cringe to think about how they train.

The next week I was offered a job by another agency. Been happy there for 2 years and am an armorer for Colt and Glock for the department.
Link Posted: 3/8/2006 3:31:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By NorCal_LEO:
Gee, guess what they did at my last range day?

What makes people think this is safe?

Redguns are not that expensive.



hell you can even get one of those cheapie BB guns that look,weight and feel just like a 1911/glock/revolver/ect..........
Link Posted: 3/9/2006 5:57:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/9/2006 5:58:10 AM EDT by bcw107]

Originally Posted By hausy:
I had an oral board where I was handed a .38 at the begining of the board. They told me that I could use the weapon if I felt it would help in the senario based portion of the board. I checked the weapon and insured it was clear. They began asking questions and I realized something STUPID was about to happen.

I stopped the board and told them that I did not feel comfortable being given a weapon and not knowing the condition of every gun in the room. I knew I was being expected to point it at someone. I didn't want them to point a gun, loaded or not at me. They told me I could put the gun down if I wanted and use my finger. The very next question was senario based and the detective on my right jumped up out of his seat, unholstered his concealed Glock and put it to the head of the Lt. sitting next to him. There was a mag sticking out of the mag well. He starts yelling and screaming that he is going to kill the Lt. based on the question. I pointed my finger and told him he was dead. Then the BS justification questions started as to why I would have killed him. I could not wait to get out of that room. I was just waiting for the Lt.'s brains to be plastered all over the wall. I should have just gotten up an walked out the door at that time but I was in shock as to what they were doing. Instead, as soon as I got home I called the Civil Service Officer for the city and had my name taken off of the hiring list. I refuse to work with people who don't follow basic common sense and safety rules. Had they given the senarios with red guns I would have played. I warn everyone I can about testing with that agency. If that is how their oral boards go I cringe to think about how they train.

The next week I was offered a job by another agency. Been happy there for 2 years and am an armorer for Colt and Glock for the department.



That has got to be close to the top of the most idiotic things I have ever heard. Did you ever hear back from the Civil Service Officer?
Link Posted: 3/9/2006 6:12:16 AM EDT
I don't have a problem with pointing real guns at people in training but there needs to be STRICT guidelines to prevent live ammo from being accidentally used in the training environment. Certainly a better solution would be to use simunitions or airsoft though.

I don't agree that he needs to be charged but he definately doesn't need to be teaching firearms. Remember, that may have been the way that he was taught to teach. The head of the academy obviously didn't have any control over the methods that his instructors were teaching. Makes you wonder about the rest of the course instructors.

It's certainly a sad situation that makes us all look bad.
Link Posted: 3/9/2006 7:13:10 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/9/2006 9:15:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ColtRifle:
I don't have a problem with pointing real guns at people in training but there needs to be STRICT guidelines to prevent live ammo from being accidentally used in the training environment.



We routinely train with our actual firearms. STRICT guidelines are followed.

I see no problem as long as the guidlines are followed and any uncertainties are brought up immediately.

One thing we evolved to was inserting a small pipe cleaner type dumy round where the end of the pipe cleaner can be observed outside the barrel. There is NO way a round can be loaded with the item in the chamber area.
Link Posted: 3/9/2006 10:20:55 AM EDT
Strict guidelines? Have you ever broken a strict guideline? If you have been a cop more than a day raise your hand if you have ever violated policy.

YOU may follow the "strict" guidelines, but what about the guy pointing his weapon at you?

www.ci.arlington.tx.us/news/2001/archive_0601_07.html

www.policeone.com/officer-down/120997/

www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/morgue/news/1994_May_18.ACCIDENT.html

www.odmp.org/officer.php?oid=17770

Link Posted: 3/9/2006 11:23:45 AM EDT
Have you never ran a single training session where any type of weapon was used including DTs??

Come on......If you read all the situations where officers were hurt or killed by firearms, you will see the training was improperly conducted.

It isn't about me following the guidelines, but everyone involved.

As an instructor, I make sure we routinely train with our weapons. Red guns are cool, but they aren't your real gun.

No light....no night sights...no trigger slack....weight is different....balance is off...

Why not just run around pointing fingers like when we were 6 years old??

Here are some of the common safety principals-
No loaded firearms in the building (or if we are out in the open)
All ammunition stays locked outside in a vehicle.
No magazines allowed
Each firearm is checked by the instructor and then by 2 other individuals
Each person is searched for ammunition
No body leaves the area or goes to their vehicles or else everyone will be searched again

After each break or lunch, we go through this every time.

I find it odd that people get scared of using real guns. Do you guys never train doing entries?? Live shoot house?? or anything else where loaded firearms are present too?


Link Posted: 3/9/2006 12:40:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By RDP:
I find it odd that people get scared of using real guns. Do you guys never train doing entries?? Live shoot house?? or anything else where loaded firearms are present too?



The original article was about a recruit in the basic academy. Our local academy has 32 hours of weapons training, 8 of which are for the shotgun. We are not talking about Tac guys. We are talking about average cops and detention officers who see the range only one to three times a year. We use Simmunition, red guns, blue guns, and FATS. I know it's not the same, but I'll be the first to say that I refuse to be on a video bragging about how professional I am and then blow a hole in my leg. If you work at a range you see the stupidest shit. Even the more high speed classes have fucking idiots in them. Advanced handgun class? Yep, 10mm throught the hand last year. Another advanced class this year- saw a guy get kicked out for looking down the barrel because he thought he had an obstruction (these weren't my classes, I was just attending). I was in a class last month with a guy who had been Tac for more than 20 years who was missing his left forefinger because he swept his MP5 at a range and shot it off.

Your decision to risk your life is your business. Train like you fight cuz you'll fight like you train. Well, maybe, but the five linked training "accidents" I posted never got to find out because someone took a shortcut and didn't follow your "strict" guidelines. Tac training may be slightly different, but for the average cop, detention officer, rookie, whatever, how can I sit there and harp at them about "never point your weapon at anything you aren't willing to destroy" and then say "superduper strictly double check that your weapons are clear and go play cowboys and indians." You can't do that.
Link Posted: 3/9/2006 12:54:14 PM EDT
That is F$#ked up.
Link Posted: 3/9/2006 12:57:24 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/9/2006 1:08:56 PM EDT
When we do ANY force on force training, all backup weapons, spare ammunition, knives, and OC are to be left behind. The weapon is then inspected by at least two different parties to ensure it is clear and piece of yellow crime scene tape is strung through the action and out the bottom of the magwell. Even when we do simunitions, no live firearms, ammo, or edged weapons are allowed in the training area.
Link Posted: 3/9/2006 1:30:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wombat_SCSO:
When we do ANY force on force training, all backup weapons, spare ammunition, knives, and OC are to be left behind. The weapon is then inspected by at least two different parties to ensure it is clear and piece of yellow crime scene tape is strung through the action and out the bottom of the magwell. Even when we do simunitions, no live firearms, ammo, or edged weapons are allowed in the training area.



I just posted a sign on the door for next week explaining that no real weapons would be allowed in the training room while we conduct FATS next week. I don't want to have to explain to the Sheriff why there is a .40 cal hole in a wall.
Link Posted: 3/9/2006 1:45:06 PM EDT
I concede that there are people who have no business carrying a firearm. However, if you don't trust your officers with weapons then why do you give the firearms to them in the first place? It's a training and instructor issue. If the instructor can't provide training in a safe but effective training environment then he/she has no business as an instructor. There are good and bad instructors as well as good and bad officers. But if you can't trust your officers with firearms then they have no business working in LE.

Most training that I've been to that is extremely safe, doesn't have much real life value. We are in a dangerous business folks. Dangerous business requires training that can be dangerous. It doesn't have to be stupid but you have to accept a certain amount of hazards in training people to kill other people.
Link Posted: 3/9/2006 2:32:14 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:31:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Colt_SBR:
R.I.P. Officer Tara Drummond.



www.odmp.org/officer.php?oid=17868
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 12:11:39 PM EDT
Such a waste... If you really wanna get choked up.... go to their dept site and view the memorial they created for her... Kennesaw PD Home Page
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 12:59:50 PM EDT
In reference to the original post, I wonder where and who might have shown or taught Sgt. Jackson that "technique" or whatever you want to call it ~~~ that being pointing their guns at one another??? I suppose it is possible he did it and/or dreamed it up on his own, but...?????
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 1:10:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Burnsome-:
In reference to the original post, I wonder where and who might have shown or taught Sgt. Jackson that "technique" or whatever you want to call it ~~~ that being pointing their guns at one another??? I suppose it is possible he did it and/or dreamed it up on his own, but...?????



I had an instructor use that technique several years ago on the class he was instructing. Made the whole firing line REAL nervous.
Link Posted: 3/12/2006 4:00:31 AM EDT
Goddamn. She was younger than me, and I'm still a kid in this job.

<­BR>
Scratch that, we now have a deputy that is barely old enough to buy rifle ammo, and can't buy pistol ammo.
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