Deputies Train for Duty

STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - A group of deputy sheriffs from across Pennsylvania are working through a 19 week training period to become certified deputies.

Part of that training includes shooting firearms.

One shot is all it takes. "You have to practice a lot and make sure you're doing it right," Loren Dodson said.

And Dodson says it's not as easy as it looks.

"The physical training is challenging. The shooting, the different shooting techniques and getting all of that down properly can be slightly challenging," he said.

These Deputy Sheriffs from across the state are preparing for every day life as an officer.

"We're trying to teach them, not necessarily how to target shoot a firearm, but how to fight or defend themselves with a firearm," Daniel Hawk said.

And they're training right here in Centre County.

"Over my past 30, 35 years, I've been to entirely too many funerals where officers have been attacked or been killed," Hawk said.

Hawk has been training officers like Dodson for many years. He says this program is one of the best.

"I'd like to see a program where if an officer does get attacked, that he's able to fight back and respond," he said. "Either save himself or save an innocent citizen that he may be trying to help."

And that means practicing for anything.

"The student has to make a decision, are they good guys or bad guys, do I shoot them or not shoot them," Hawk said.

But there's a catch. "You have maybe two seconds to make that decision," he said.

I took a stab at it and just like the officers, I learned practice makes perfect.

Now that their training is winding down, Dodson says it's time to stay focused, but still have a little fun.

"It's getting toward the end, you can see some light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "It's been fun all throughout."

These officers are in their final few weeks of training. They will graduate from the academy on December 21st.

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