Lawton_Lawton Police Officers were up before sun up Wednesday morning to head to the firing range. They fired hundreds of rounds for their annual department qualification course. This year the state mandated that all state certified law enforcement go through the course at least once each year.
Lawton Police say they're ahead of the curve -- their officers have been training twice a year, for years.
"Because 2/3 of our department works evenings or midnights, we feel that it is very important for those officers to be familiar with shooting their firearm in the dark," said LPD Deputy Chief Michael Johnson. He says the officers will complete five different courses throughout the day of training and fire nearly 200 hundred rounds each.
"We carry this as a defensive weapon, so we train with it more than we train with any other weapon that we carry because we know that anytime that we have to get into a gunfight it will be with us," said Johnson.
While those gun fights are rare -- they do happen. Lieutenant Richard Franz says you can never be too careful. "The reality of it is, is that most police officers will go their career and not have to utilize their weapon, but it is a very important piece of equipment that we need to be proficient on," Franz said.
All officers must score a 70 percent or higher. "Of course in this line of work if you can't meet that minimum standard than you have no business carrying a gun," said Johnson.
All of these officers -- whether they're a marksman or a sharpshooter -- agree on one thing. "It's extremely important, it's always good to come out here and you practice, practice always makes perfect," said Lawton Police Officer Chris Tally.
The officers who do the training say precision shooting on the gun range is just as important as shooting while on duty.
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