Roughly nine weeks into the academy at the Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Center, recruits are sent to the firing range for their initial two weeks of firearms training.
Behind the Badge, the series:
Its something that you have to make sure that you are comfortable with, TPD recruit Alexandra Corrales told KGUN. One shot and everything could be over.
Its the most critical training these recruits will get: everything from cleaning and loading a gun to pulling the trigger.
I think its extremely important to be aware of your surroundings, and be aware of where that bullet is gonna go. Because you have to take all the liability for that bullet, Corrales added.
Being a first time shooter, you got a lot to learn, said TPD recruit Joaquin Martinez. It was very intimidating. I would come here the first few days and I was very tense all the time and honestly after a couple days of practicing, all that stuff, it just keeps on switching, and you start feeling a little bit better
Part of getting better is using that anxiety to learn trigger control.
Each trigger pull is about four pounds of pressure, said Corrales. So you go one pound by one pound. And you wanna be kind of scared when the gun goes off, that way youre not dipping the gun down or tipping it forward We have to make sure to take our guns home to practice and dry fire. So its a little bit extra work after.
That work paid off for this class of recruits, who passed their official qualification for firearms.
The moment is especially special for recruit Martinez, who weeks before suffered a knee injury during Padded Assailant training.
Its just a lot of emotion, a lot of emotion, he said. My patella popped out of place while doing the padded assailant. First time suffering an injury of that magnitude. It was pretty hard on myself, pretty hard on my body, too.
But since then, hes been able to recover and re-focus. Hes back to giving this training his best shot.
This has been always my dream to be a police officer, he said. And at one point, I thought that that dream was gonna be kind of at a pause for a little bit due to the injury. But I just wanna work as hard as I can to get to that point More training to come and to be a better officer for the community.