Despite it being a departmental requirement, Jackson Police Department records show that almost one in six officers did not receive a qualifying score at the department’s firing range last year. Eighty of the 488 Jackson officers received no qualifying score because they didn’t take the test.
Charles Key, a veteran of the Baltimore Police Department and an expert witness on police training, was shocked at how many Jackson police officers were not graded on their firearms proficiency. Mr. Key told The Clarion Ledger, “That’s absurd. That’s insane. You don’t even know whether they can put holes in paper,” he said. “That’s so far below modern police standards that you must not even have state standards.” Key also testifies as an expert witness in use-of-force lawsuits, and warns that not having an adequate training program endangers the public and leaves police departments open for costly lawsuits.
The Jackson Police Department has been sued in the past over training issues such as high-speed pursuit training and civil rights issues. Departments across the nation have had their training regimens picked apart in lawsuits over the use of deadly force.