Ferry officers use live rounds during training exercises

MARTINS FERRY Police Officer Steve Veltri trains at the Alliance Police Department’s Shoot House facility in Alliance, Ohio.

MARTINS FERRY — Martins Ferry’s police officers got the chance to do live-round training that mimicked situations that can occur indoors, thanks to use of a facility in Alliance, Ohio.

“The exercises we normally do, firearms trainings, involve standing in front of a target out in the open,” said Martins Ferry Police Chief John McFarland. “Over the course of the last couple years, we’ve expanded our firearms training where we add movements. Shooting behind objects, such as cars and buildings.

“We’ve also had training shooting from inside a vehicle, which is something we had never done before,” he said. “This was an opportunity to shoot live rounds inside a structure during a building search.”

McFarland said Officer John Holmes suggested the department have more training on building searches. The police department in Alliance allowed Martins Ferry officers to use its shooting range for three days for $200 per day, or $600 total.

“It gave the officers a better perspective of what it’s like going through a door and not knowing what’s on the other side, of shooting inside … knowing what it feels like,” the chief said. “There were some doors where there was a silhouette there of a good guy. The next time they walked through that door it could be a bad guy. Those are live fire things we don’t get to work on around here.

“All the officers were excited and felt they learned a lot,” said McFarland. “Hopefully, it’s something we continue to do every year along with our other trainings we do.”

McFarland said the training was “an eye opener” for him.

“It was different from what we’ve done here forever,” he said.

McFarland said the most difficult part of the training was just adjusting to the type of training as it was full-speed while using live rounds.

“The facility up there was amazing,” he said. “We were happy with the accommodations they provided us. You can’t have enough training. We have more trainings we’re going to do coming up this summer.”

According to the Alliance Police Department, its Shoot House facility offers 8,100 square feet of training space.

“The mission of the Alliance Police Department Training Division is to provide efficient, cost effective and proven training to law enforcement and the military,” according to the department’s website, www.alliancepolicetraining.com. “Our instructors, as well as our industry partners and guest instructors will never sacrifice safety and are very mindful that the training you receive can mean the difference between life and death on the street.”