Week 6

Back to Basics: A 17-year law enforcement veteran goes back to basic training

March 18, 2022

BAC 52-22 carbine
Basic Academy Class 52-22 during carbine rifle training at the range

Another stressful week! We came to the range in Moyock, N.C., ready for night qualifications Monday. We did some practice drills fine-tuning our marksmanship and quick-draws from the holster with accurate shots on our targets. To our delight, everyone was successful qualifying on the first try. With that out of the way, we took a collective deep breath, exhaled and worked on more skills drills. The instructors shared that most shooters have higher scores during their night qualifications, perhaps - in part - to the glow-in-the-dark night sights drawing their attention to their targets.

BAC 52-22 night shoot
Basic Academy Class 52-22 night shooting at the range

On Tuesday, we worked on additional skills and marksmanship drills in the evening until about 9. From there, we all had to make the long drive home, wash all the mud and dirt off our uniforms, clean our gear, clean and shine our boots, and reassemble all of the duty gear we didn’t need at the range, plus, be back to the Law Enforcement Training Academy (LETA) in Virginia Beach by 7:30 the following morning. Tired only partially describes how we all felt that next day when we had to be ready for physical training and in-class carbine rifle instructions at LETA. Suffice to say, we know this is how it will be from here on out: schedule changes, changes in sleep patterns, life’s curve balls and daily activities, all part of the law enforcement profession. Get used to it.

On Thursday, we left the classroom once again and traveled to the range in North Carolina to start shooting the carbine rifles with live rounds and complete our day's qualifications. The majority of the recruits have never shot a carbine rifle before, and I am happy to report that in less than four hours from when they started training with the rifle, these new shooters were successful in the qualification on the first try. Having everyone qualify on our first day brought a sigh of relief.

Recruit Hobbs magazines
Deputy Recruit Margie Hobbs loading magazines

Even though I had a lot of experience shooting a carbine rifle with the Virginia Beach Police Department, the rifle we use is updated with a state-of-the-art EOTECH® holographic sight system and updated iron sights. I am acclimating to the changes in the firearm as well as working on using my right eye versus my left, dominant eye. It gives me a headache, but I promised Sgt. Frank Davis (one of our firearms instructors) that I will keep it up. In the long run, changing which eye I shoot with will help me be faster at lining up my sights. I’m finding with this smaller recruit class compared to my previous one with the police academy, I am receiving more one-on-one instruction. For this, I’m grateful.

As I wrote above, life’s curve balls come at you regardless of what is expected at the academy. One I did not expect this week is allergies. Unattended, I fear the congestion has turned into a sinus infection. We can’t miss time in the academy or take the chance of being taken out of this academy and moved to another one at a later date; thus, starting at the beginning. No one, and I repeat no one, wants to redo nearly seven weeks of the academy! Because of that, I phoned my doctor to prescribe me strong antibiotics to kick this infection to the curb by next week. Believe me, it is no fun trying to shoot targets with a runny nose, sneezes and a headache. I still should buy stock in tissues with lotion and antihistamines. I also am social distancing while shooting with my target off to the side a bit. You gotta do what you gotta do! (I did take a COVID rapid test and, no, I do not have it.) Thankfully we don’t have to be at the range until 1 p.m. today, so I should be able to get some rest. Wish me luck! I have night qualifications with the carbine to get through. My class is a bit nervous about them, but I have faith that all will go well and our most excellent training will pay off.

One update from last week: Almost every recruit succeeded on their daytime qualifications using our service weapons. So proud of Basic Academy 52-22!

Photos by VBSO Public Information Officer Toni Guagenti