Police trainer off to US
Firearms expert Alan Brosnan says if people want to learn about rugby they come to New Zealand. ‘‘If you want to learn about firearms safety, come to the States.’’
Police Senior Sergeant Claire Bibby of Glenside took him at his word and will spend five weeks in the United States studying firearms safety training at her own expense, and on her own time.
Ms Bibby has been offered partial sponsorship from the Tactical Energetic Entry Systems of Memphis, Tennessee, to attend courses there and visit police academies in the southern states.
However, New Zealand Police declined her application for assistance with her flight and accommodation costs, and to provide some ammunition for the courses.
‘‘It wasn’t accepted so I have decided to pay my own way,’’ Ms Bibby said. She will take leave for the visit.
‘‘They didn’t feel that I was the right person to send because it wasn’t my current role.
‘‘That’s okay because I have been affected by restructuring and it fits well with my personal development plan, so I am happy to pay my own way.’’ she said.
‘‘This was far too good an opportunity to turn down. It’s the culmination of all my prior work at the training centre.’’
Ms Bibby has been in the police for 25 years and, as well as front-line work has carried out research and training course design, and recently headed central region training, based at the Porirua Police College.
Her team of 28 included 12 firearms instructors who also teach the use of tasers, pepper spray and defensive tactics.
Mr Brosnan, who is president of Tactical Energetic Entry Systems, invited her to visit the US and contributed $10,000 towards her costs.
He served in the New Zealand Special Air Service before going into firearms training and security work in the US.
Mr Brosnan co-authored Soldiering On, about life after SAS and has taught the New Zealand Armed Offenders Squad and Special Tactical Group, and also helped with the introduction of the Bushmaster rifle.
‘‘What I am really looking forward to is that he [ Mr Brosnan] has arranged for me to meet the staff at police training academies,’’ Ms Bibby said.
As well as Tennessee, Ms Bibby will visit police academies in Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas and attend a Special Weapons and Tactics Team ( SWAT) conference.
‘‘I’m particularly interested in how they keep their staff professionally developed,’’ Ms Bibby said.
‘‘How is he keeping his own trainers and instructors up with the play?’’
Many of Mr Brosnan’s methods were based on evidential research into the whole area of firearms training, she said. ‘‘[This is] particularly around the physical and psychological impact on officers of confronting armed offenders.’’
During the Christmas period Ms Bibby returned to front-line police work in Lower Hutt and Porirua for a couple of weeks.
‘‘ I kept a record of the incidents where there was mention of firearms. I was quite surprised by the frequency.
‘‘ Both of those stations kitted up [to deal with armed offenders] while I was there.’’
Ms Bibby grew up in a rural area around firearms.
‘‘I’m comfortable with that world,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s different now, a lot of recruits come in and they have never picked up a firearm before.’’
Gun law: Senior Sergeant Claire Bibby will spend her annual leave studying police firearms training methods in the United States.