MOLALLA, Ore. (KOIN) — Local police ran drills Wednesday evening to prepare for the kind of calls where visibility is too low to even see what’s in front of them—training in the dark.
Molalla police gave KOIN 6 News an exclusive look at what it takes to make a split-second decision with firearms instructor Steven Long. Police said close to all of officer-involved shootings happen at night or in low-light conditions, which means darkness just adds another obstacle officers have to prepare for.
“Studies show that police officers get in more shootings at night or in low-light areas,” said Long. “So, it is very important that we train in low light and the purpose of that is so we can identify the target.”
Officers preparing for the unexpected in the shade of night, identifying targets with only a flashlight and their weapons to lead the way.
“Doing these drills, doing them over and over again, you ingrain that, so that way, in the event of a use-of-force situation, things happen in a split second, I don’t have to think about where my flashlight is, how to get my gun out of the holster,” said Long.
Flashing police lights also add to the distractions as officers trained. All of this is a part of mandatory, annual training for those in uniform.
“It would be scary,” said Lt. Christ Long. “You know, it’s very important to practice for what kind of conditions you’re going to work in.”
The training is not only for officers, but also for the people they serve day and night.
“We want to make sure that the public knows that we are training,” said Lt. Chris Long. “We are always training to be safe. That we are always trying to keep our community safe.”
Molalla police practiced at the Canby Gun Club Wednesday evening.