Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
January 22, 2010 Issue
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Jeanne Sager | Democrat

DET. ED SIMON, training officer for the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office, displays a blank target and explains how the new turning target system works.

Keeping their shooting skills sharp

By Jeanne Sager
MONTICELLO — The economy has shaved money from the county budget, but Sullivan County Sheriff’s deputies will still be getting top-notch training.
A representative of the Sullivan County Friends of the NRA was invited out to Monticello Friday morning to watch new training equipment put into action at the rifle range where deputies practice shooting.
The local NRA group was behind a $2,100 grant used to purchase the turning target system that Sheriff Mike Schiff said will be used to give deputies real-life training in a practice environment.
The new system allows targets to be hidden from officers on the firing line, then suddenly turned so they are presented with an image either of a “friendly” victim or a menacing would-be assailant.
“It allows you to pick your target, discern who is bad, who is good,” Schiff explained. “In real life, it’s a split-second decision, and you have to be right every time.”
The new system gives deputies – who train twice a year at the range in Monticello – a chance to develop what are called “memory skills.” Studies have shown that officers in high stress situations return to their training, and that includes what happens on the range.
By providing them opportunities to make those quick decisions in the abstract, the skills are being learned to be put into play in real situations.
“You’re practicing good and bad targets – do you shoot, don’t you shoot,” Schiff explained.
“Nothing simulates real life, but this brings us a lot closer to reality.”
The grant from the NRA was the second the sheriff’s office has secured during Schiff’s tenure as sheriff. The county’s friends group also supplied a $5,000 grant to buy defibrillators for the force.

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