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Midlands officers receive free gun training

Swansea, SC - Law enforcement agencies across the Midlands received special training Sunday on the use of deadly force. The training was part of "Operation Blue", where police officers are given free advanced training in the use of their carbines and handguns.

"There are officers out there that are getting once a year training.. and that's not enough," said Fernando Coelho, who hosted the event. He says there is not enough firearm training for the people who carry guns every day.

According to firearms specialist and trainer Robert Keller, law enforcement agencies often don't have the money for regular training sessions.

"Confidence is the biggest thing that police officers lack when it comes to deploying firearms," said Keller.

"Operation Blue" aims to change that. Keller trained eleven officers from ten agencies across South Carolina for free this weekend. The officers trained will go back and teach their officers what they learned.

"I am here to sharpen those perishable skills that law enforcement officers aquire when we first come on to the job," said Keller. "After a while, if you don't use those skills, you kind of get rusty."

Keller says getting rusty makes more room for mistakes.

"Theyre missing the training they need, they don't train enough and then when they become involved in a dangerous situation they automatically go to a handgun or car beam."

The two-day training taught officers everything they need to know about deploying their deadly weapons.

"If you are confident with your weapon, you're going to be less likely to pull it."

The Richland County Sheriff's Department, South Carolina Highway Patrol, Columbia Police Department, SLED, Lexington Sheriff's Office, Kershaw Sherrif's Office, SCCJA, Horry Sheriff's Office, and Calhoun County Sheriff's Office participated.

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