Use of Force/Firearms
The Dakota County Sheriff's Office has approximately 75 full time licensed deputies, 6 part time licensed deputies and 50 non-licenced correctional deputies. Prior to and or at their time of hire, all received basic certifications in the Use of Force and in certain weapon systems. Only licensed deputies receive firearms training.
The Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training require all licensed peace officers complete annual Use of Force and Firearms training. The Sheriff's Office has a number of certified instructors that conduct this training. Annual training is also provided to all non-licensed correctional deputies.
Annual training reviews all the types of Use of Force, including punches, kicks, takedowns, chemical spray, Taser, baton, and firearms. It also covers the unique aspects and legal issues of each Use of Force option. Deputies are then put into real life scenarios where each must choose whether or not force is to be used. If it is to be used they must also decide what type, how much and where it should be directed.
Conducting real life scenario based firearms training is done by the use of Simunitions and separate computer interactive video system.
Simunition training is where deputies are given a firearm similar to their duty firearm, but only fires small paintball type projectiles. The deputies are put into a scenario where they interact with others who are playing the role of witness, victim and or suspect. The deputy must work through a rapidly evolving scenario, determine if deadly force is necessary; if so, accurately engage the appropriate suspect at the appropriate time.
The computer interactive video system is a computer, projector and 300 degree video screen that interacts with the deputy. A scenario is given where the instructor can direct the scenario based upon the deputy's actions. If the deputy fires the simulated firearm, the laser from that weapon projects onto the screen and interacts with the video. If he strikes a suspect, the suspect will fall to the ground.
On average, licensed deputies receive some sort of training every other month while non-licensed deputies receive it every 6 months.