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OPD Better Prepared Following Non-Lethal Firearms Training

During their day off, Oradell Police Officers trained in an abandoned house to better prepare for crisis situations

While the normally gets first dibs at running training exercises in vacant homes, the took advantage of a future knockdown on Prospect Avenue for their most recent training scenarios.

Led by Sgt. Kevin Doyle, who is one of two firearms instructors in the borough, Lt. Michael Oslacky and Patrolmen Richard Ligouri and Thomas Madden engaged in heightening their split second decision making skills in the use and discharge of their firearms.

"We have between two to three activated burglary alarms every day so this is a similar scenario," Doyle said. "Officers may be asked to face armed suspects with no live training; Simunitions provides this training and is the closest thing to a real experience without the risk of getting injured, if struck though, the pellets hurt which make it realistic.”  

Simunitions is a specialized training ammunition created in the 1980s to provide more realistic training to military and law enforcement agencies. The "bullets" are fired through the officers service weapon following a temporary modification to the barrel, allowing for full recoil simulation while firing at a reduced velocity.

Among the training scenarios the officers took part in was clearing the Prospect Avenue home after a reported burglar alarm and locating an armed suspect. Along with the simunitions, officers trained with a ballistic shield to move around corners, aan entry kit comprised of bolt cutters, a pry bar and axe to open locked doors and a Shock Knife that emits a electrical charge similar to a taser. Oradell currently owns one ballistic shield and four sets of entry kits.

"We check a lot of houses and we never know if someone is inside waiting to shoot back," Ligouri said. "We train so we know how to better handle this."

"It is nerve wracking," Madden added. "When we're training we know it's coming."

Officers are required to qualify twice during the year in firearms training at a facility but rarely face a live subject and according to Doyle instead are over confident of their abilities from firing at a paper target.

“Many officers go through their entire career without discharging their weapon in the line of duty, this training will prove very valuable to the officers and the split second decisions they are required to make when faced with a life or death scenario,” Police Chief Frank Florio said.  

Among the most recent examples of local police officers experiencing the need to fire in the line of duty are and when were confronted by an armed man outside a Washington Township home.

"We're training officers to be in these stressful situations and fight through the stress," Doyle said. "Most police do not have battle experience unless they were in the military first. If you get hit in the vest, you can still fight; if you get hit in the arm, you can still fire your weapon. Rachel Morgan is a perfect example. She was shot at through the whole incident and kept fighting. You can stand there and shoot at a piece of paper all day, but it won't be the same as being placed in a nerve-wracking situation."

The police department will look to add simulated motor vehicle stops, active school shooter response and other scenario’s using Simunitions in the future within the borough and possibily coordinate with neighboring departments such as River Edge or Paramus.  

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