Dozens of Austin, Tx., police officers during the past three years have violated a department policy requiring them to pass an annual firearms proficiency test in which they must show that they can safely shoot their weapons from various distances, says the Austin American-Statesman. Officials said most of the officers passed the test within days of receiving a notice that they had missed the department’s yearly deadline and received a written reprimand.
The police department wants to buy a portable firing range for about $500,000 that could rotate among the city’s police substations, allowing officers to practice firing their weapons more frequently and perhaps more easily take and pass the annual exam. “Any time that you deploy deadly force, you want to make sure that your people are properly trained and that they have met all the training requirements,” said police chief Art Acevedo. State law also requires officers to pass the test “at least annually,” as do rules by the by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, the agency that licenses police officers. Officers must fire at least 50 rounds from their handguns “at ranges from point-blank to at least 15 yards.”