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WNY fire arms training for police officers exceeds state standards

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 18:24:33-04

Buffalo police still haven't made an arrest in Tuesday’s officer-involved shooting. It happened on East Ferry right around rush hour. Police said the officer was chasing a suspect when the suspect drew a gun. That's when the officer fired her weapon. 

Those kinds of potentially dangerous situations illustrate why training is so important. That's something fire arms instructor Steven Padin knows all too well. Padin was a Buffalo police officer in 1989 when he came face to face with an armed suspect. “Once he pointed the shotgun toward somebody, then I went ahead and fired at the person,” Padin explained.

Padin shot the suspect three times. It was the only time he used his weapon in his 25 year career. Today, he uses that experience to help teach others.

Police recruits across Western New York will log 80 hours of fire arms training. That's nearly double the state's standard of 47 hours. Padin hopes it's training these officers never need. “I find that more and more officers are in a position where they probably will draw their weapons throughout their career, but it's still very few times they'll actually fire their weapon.”

Buffalo Police Lieutenant Jeff Rinaldo agrees. He said this week’s incidents are the first of their kind this year. “Using your weapon in the line of duty is something every officer has to think about. Thankfully it doesn't happen very often. When it does, it can take a toll on people.”

That's why Padin said training is so crucial. He wants officers to be prepared. “We are sworn to protect the members of the public, as well as ourselves. If we can't protect ourselves, than obviously we're not going to be able to protect the public. “