FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Florence Police Department Special Operations Snipers Receive National Recognition
Sebring, FL- Members of the Florence Police Department Special Operations Team (SWAT) were notified on Friday that they had successfully completed the American Sniper Association’s certification program for both individual team members and the department’s sniper program as a whole. As part of the certification process Sgt. Hal Howard and Sgt. Steven Robertson, both members of the Florence Police Department Special Operations Team received individual certifications.
Florence Police Sniper Sgt. Hal Howard stated, “It was one of the most intense and grueling programs that I have ever been a part of. This is the CALEA of sniper programs and we are now the first and only team in Alabama to complete this program.” Howard was referring to the International Accreditation that the department achieved earlier this year under the leadership of now Chief Ron Tyler.
The position of the police sniper is one of the most important and most difficult in law enforcement. It encompasses high expectations, high liability, and immense individual responsibility. Such a position requires the very highest in standards for selection, training and utilization.
National standards for police snipers do not exist. What constitutes a sniper varies greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. This variance leads to an inconsistency in selection processes, training of personnel, equipment, policies and most importantly, performance.
In response the American Sniper Association has established a comprehensive process designed to set consistent standards between sniper programs and test standards of performance for individual snipers. This certification builds trust. It demonstrates a commitment to have a professional sniper program in place to protect the lives of citizens and other law enforcement personnel. It provides a benchmark for programs to achieve and maintain.
In order to receive certification, an agency is held to a high, but attainable, standard. Certified snipers must demonstrate a reasonable level of technical proficiency and knowledge. Additionally, agencies must provide documentation of a comprehensive sniper program, which is an integral part of a special operations team structure.
According to Derrick D. Bartlett, President of the American Sniper Association, “This process is meant to be educational, as well as motivational. It show’s you how your sniper program ranks compared to others around the country. It points out your program’s strengths and weaknesses. It is an accurate gauge of your team’s operational readiness. If your snipers or your agency can’t meet the standards, hopefully this serves as an incentive to make the changes necessary to raise the level of your program as soon as possible.”
In total the Florence Police Department has spent over a year ensuring that their program met the criteria and requirements of the program.
“It shows how hard we have worked to better ourselves for this community,” states Robertson, “I was painfully hard to accomplish but well worth the work to set the standard for our department and others throughout the state.”