US eye-opener for of­fi­cer

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

Glenside res­i­dent Claire Bibby left New Zealand a po­lice of­fi­cer and re­turned a deputy sher­iff.

The Porirua Po­lice Col­lege in­struc­tor is a se­nior sergeant and a 25-year vet­eran of the po­lice force.

Tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for her own pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment this year, she vis­ited the United States to study firearms safety train­ing.

While in Shelby County, Ten­nessee, Sher­iff Bill Old­ham made her an hon­orary deputy sher­iff in recog­ni­tion of her attitude.

Ms Bibby had been of­fered a par­tial spon­sor­ship from the Ten­nessee po­lice train­ing in­sti­tu­tion, Tac­ti­cal En­er­getic En­try Sys­tems, but she paid the rest of the costs her­self and took an­nual leave.

She also vis­ited some US po­lice ju­ris­dic­tions to check out their firearms safety train­ing.

She took cour­ses in dig­ni­tary pro­tec­tion and car­bine and hand­guns, and she ob­served train­ing ex­er­cises.

The need for de­tailed plan­ning was a big part of each ex­er­cise, she said.

US po­lice of­fi­cers carry weapons while on duty, and many also ob­tain pri­vate li­cences to carry con­cealed weapons off duty, but firearms are not nec­es­sar­ily per­mit­ted ev­ery­where they go.

‘‘ Dig­ni­tary pro­tec­tion re­quired us to go in and out of dif­fer­ent pub­lic build­ings, a po­lice sta­tion, a civic build­ing, Grace­lands and we went to a pub­lic park.

‘‘Be­fore we went into each of those places the plan­ning re­quired each of those of­fi­cers to check whether they were en­ti­tled to take their gun in there. They had to check the var­i­ous laws in each sit­u­a­tion.’’

The strong­est thing that came through was a cul­ture of learn­ing and con­tin­u­ous de­vel­op­ment, she said.

‘‘It’s a healthy cul­ture and what they are look­ing for in the courts is to show that they are striv­ing for the best.’’

She was sur­prised to find many of the US of­fi­cers she met were un­der­tak­ing ad­vanced train­ing at their own ex­pense.

‘‘A lot of them were quite com­fort­able with do­ing that. I went to a SWAT [ Spe­cial Weapons and Tac­tics] con­fer­ence.

‘‘A lot of of­fi­cers were there on their own time and paid their own way.’’

Along with the cul­ture of learn­ing came a will­ing­ness to share knowl­edge, she said. ‘‘It was very hum­bling.’’ The big­gest sur­prise for Ms Bibby was the in­ter­est she found among po­lice of­fi­cers in New Zealand’s gun laws.

‘‘Quite a few of the po­lice I spoke to knew that our New Zealand po­lice do not wear firearms as a mat­ter of course, but that didn’t in­ter­est them so much as the gun laws that sat be­hind that.

‘‘They were in­ter­ested in our firearms li­cens­ing regime and the fact that the po­lice have re­spon­si­bil­ity in is­su­ing li­cences and in­ter­view­ing peo­ple in the process of get­ting li­cences.’’

The ex­pe­ri­ence was ‘‘ worth ev­ery penny’’, she said.

‘‘ I learned so much over there, and I de­vel­oped some great re­la­tion­ships with the po­lice of­fi­cers over there from the heads of po­lice de­part­ments to the con­sta­ble on the ground.

‘‘They will be re­la­tion­ships I will have with me for all of my life. Of course, they all want to come to New Zealand to hunt.’’

Photo: JIM CHIPP

Deputy sher­iff: New Zealand Se­nior Sergeant Claire Bibby was made an hon­orary deputy sher­iff while study­ing firearms safety train­ing in the United States.

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