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Cops polish gun skills

By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER – Managing editor
For the past two weeks, officers at the Brewton Police Department have been polishing their target skills and earning credit by using a simulated program run by machine.
According to its Web site, the firearms training system, commonly referred to by officers as F.A.T.S, is supposed to provide a comprehensive training solution for marksmanship and judgmental training.
Capt. Randy Nicholson with the BPD said that once the machine is placed in a central location - this particular machine is located at the BPD – police departments from other areas visit and practice.
Officers from the Flomaton Police Department used the trainer this week when Flomaton Police Chief Mike Lambert sent his men to Brewton for a little target practice of their own.
The F.A.T.S program uses real life scenarios, including investigating a suspicious vehicle, handling a bar fight and dealing with a biker club raid among others. None of the men who were using the trainer on Friday said they had never shot at a person and hope they never have to.
The officers have the choice to use mace, or a gun, which is modeled after a Gloc Model 22, 40-caliber gun. Once the scenario begins, officers use voice commands to direct suspects. According to Nicholson, each outcome of the scenario can be controlled so when officers finish the training other officers don't know what to expect when it's their turn.
At the end of the scenario, information is displayed, including how many shots were fired and how many actually hit the target. Colored dots later appear on the screen. A red dot indicates a kill, a green dot indicates a miss and a yellow dot indicates a non-lethal hit.
McGougin said that the cost of the program is $20 per officer for three weeks of training, and is leased through the Alabama League of Municipalities. The next stop is Andalusia.