Firearms Training Unit
While each officer with the Ross Township Police Department is responsible for their own duty weapons, the department still maintains a separate Firearms Training Unit to provide additional specialty firearms training and support.
Maintenance responsibilities fall to the Department Firearms Instructors and armorers, Sergeant David Eckels, Officers Barry Clifford, Greg Garcia and Dan Papale. They are responsible for cleaning and maintaining all department owned weapons, which include AR-15 patrol rifles and Mossberg 12 gauge shotguns. They are also responsible for assisting officers with the care and maintenance of their own individual duty weapons and controlling ammunition inventories for the department.
The Firearms Training Unit maintains current certifications as armorers for the AR-15 / M-16 patrol rifles, along with Glock and the Smith & Wesson M&P pistols, all of which are authorized for use within the department. They are always seeking updates on department owned weapons and ballistics information for the various ammunition brands and calibers that are on the market today.
Unit members are certified handgun, shotgun and patrol rifle instructors through the NRA or Pennsylvania State Police, and each year they oversee the required annual firearms qualifications. This includes a night shoot qualification for each officer in the department. All officers are required to re-qualify with their duty weapon, appropriate department shotgun and any off duty weapon the officer will be utilizing. In addition, a number of the department’s officers are selected for specialty weapons and must qualify with those weapons in addition to the normal qualifications.
Unit members have been instrumental in the development of various other firearms exercises, which include the creation of live fire tactical scenarios and the use of Simunitions, that add a sense of realism and stress not normally found in traditional firearms qualification. This training better prepares the individual officer for the uncertainties found on the street. Several of the unit members are certified Force on Force instructors.
Less Than Lethal Training
The Firearms Training Unit has also developed a training program for less than lethal munitions and delivery systems. This includes the use of the X26P Taser and the conversion of the 12 gauge shotgun into a less than lethal weapon. The development of this training has provided officers with an even greater range of tools to overcome a threat and will help to ensure the safety of both the police officer and the public at large.