New York City Police Academy graduates sit in formation with white gloved hands on their legs, during graduation ceremony for 457 new members of the NYPD, Thursday April 18, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Previous Post
Next Post

How could the Alexander Police Department employ an officer who had not yet gone through any of the state-mandated training? Because according to Arkansas state law, it’s perfectly legal to do so.

Specifically, said Brian Marshall, the deputy director of the Office of Law Enforcement Standards, Arkansas law states that a person can work as a police officer for up to nine months—with the possibility of a three-month extension in extraordinary circumstances—before she is required to complete the state’s three-month training course. And as long as the new recruit passes a 50-round firearms qualification test—that means hitting a target 80 percent of the time from 25 yards away—the department can legally arm her with a gun.

— Leon Neyfakh in No Experience, No Problem [via] [h/t SS]

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Alexander is only a step beyond (figuratively) Mayberry. It’s a formerly rural town that has graduated up to a suburb of Little Rock as families move to escape crime. Barney may or may not get to have a bullet.

    • “It’s a formerly rural town that has graduated up to a suburb “

      Sorry, but that is a demotion not graduated up.

        • No argument that it’s a degradation to the quality of life – but it’s an increase in population. And tax base. And all the accompanying issues when city folks move to the country.

        • When I participated in “white flight” um…I mean when I moved out to the country to get more property and pay less taxes, soon after, the County tried to rezone our area to allow dense development. Right now, the residential lots must be at least two acres. The commission wanted to rezone to allow development on 1/4 acre lots. We attended the hearing on the matter and 90% were against the proposal. One Commissioner said “Why do you want to disallow someone to move here that just wants to come here for the same reason you did?” Uh…What!? We came here to have more space. They are coming here to live 5 feet from their neighbor. That isn’t the same reason.

        • Hah! “White flight” supposedly was about escaping blacks, when most anyone would tell you it was about escaping overcrowding and high taxes. I saw that explained years ago by a guy who claimed the confusion was due to the fact they were the same thing. The cost of government of a city goes up rapidly when more and more services are demanded, then more and more people show up to take advantage of those services who are unable to contribute to the cost. So taxes go up. Then we can buy votes with more free services. Which makes taxes go up. When the producing population gets fed up, they move out of the taxing zone. Which makes taxes go up. Eventually, only mooches are left, and they don’t care how high the taxes are, since they don’t pay them. Enter Detroit, with Chicago and Baltimore knocking at the door, many others on the way. You can notice most places, productive black families live right beside productive white families, not in the ghettos. It’s not about race, it’s about culture.

  2. I would be more worried about their understanding of the use of force continuum than their marksmanship.

    • This incident seems to have been a mix of poor firearm handling and uncertainty of arrest procedure;

      ” According to Cummings’ account, it was while she was patting Wallace down that her service weapon accidentally discharged and struck him in the back”

      • I guess I would also be concerned with their understanding of “keep your f’ing finger off the trigger” as well.

      • Another article had the phrase “while she was searching the man for more weapons the service weapon which she was holding discharged.”

        Not that her holding was in any way related to it going off….guess the round she had chambered just hit its expiration date…

  3. Yeah, even in Mayberry, officers should be as proficient in the use of force as say, NYPD officers. Oh, wait a minute…

    • the NYPD requires a 12 Lb. trigger pull, I had a hard enough time with the 5.5 factory. The bureaucrats say the harder trigger pull is for safety, yeah how’s that working for ya?

    • “…50 rounds is my warm-up for my weekly trip to the range.” – Bob108

      That wording would suggest you fire 50 rounds to warm up before you even make your weekly trip to the range. How does that work?

    • I don’t think that necessarily is grammatically incorrect. If you said it this way “For my weekly trip to the range, I start with 50 rd warm up, then move on to tap, rack, bang drills. Then moving from cover. Then whatever I feel like working on. Followed by a 50 rd cool down.”

    • Hilarious! Grammar lessons on TTAG. What’s next? Did Obama propose national constitutional carry? 🙂

  4. FTA:

    The officer, Nancy Cummings, told investigators she had detained Wallace after noticing a pistol tucked in his waistband, which he threw into a wooded area upon seeing her. According to Cummings’ account, it was while she was patting Wallace down that her service weapon accidentally discharged and struck him in the back. Wallace was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    Cummings, who was placed on administrative leave from the department and charged with manslaughter in connection with the incident…

    Being able to hit a target 40 out of 50 times from 25 yards isn’t the issue; rather, it’s knowing to holster your firearm before you start patting someone down – or at the very least, keep your finger off the trigger while you’re covering the person you’re patting down. Nevermind the badge; it sounds like the woman wasn’t competent to hold a firearm, period.

    I don’t have a problem, per se, with letting new recruits work under the authority of the badge while undergoing training. But is it often that such people are left to work alone, rather than with a partner? Just curious. Was not just this sort of situation the reason that police officers get academy training, to know how to handle?

    • +1

      I was about to point out that 80% at 25 yards is better than the FBI qual which has most of the shots taken at less than 10 yards. Yes, I know they are time and have to draw.

      I also see more than a little hypocrisy from the armed intelligentsia here. Either the law enforcement/peace officers need to be trained or anybody can do it. Which is it?

      • Anybody can do it, as long as they’re from the right half of the bell curve. The problem is we have at least 150K too many cops, and we need to unemploy the glass-foggers.

        The cops I know feel the same way. It’s not a particularly complicated job by any stretch, but it has it’s challenges. One needs an IQ higher than a warm day in PHX to perform the gig and sadly, most of those folks are deliberately weeded out in selection.

        • They don’t want cops too smart.. otherwise critical thinking takes over… cant have any of that when the objective is to promote fear and intimidation.

        • I wasn’t talking about anybody qualifying for a job as a LEO. When a lot of TTAGers say anybody can do it they mean joe/jane citizen going out and keeping the peace.

          My contention here and a an article yesterday was that if citizens were required to go out an spend time keeping the peace and enforcing laws they would not do it any better than the current crop, When Mike Brown come invading your house or business you know he is the threat. That is a lot different than officer Wilson trying to figure out what is going on on the fly.

        • TDI, some of those on the other side of that argument really aren’t. I really don’t care if I could do the job of the local LEOs, if we were doing things correctly we would not NEED anyone to do that job. Additional street cleaners perhaps, to clear out the bodies, but not cops. Each person prepared to defend his own life and property makes crime a very much losing proposition, it just wouldn’t be fun anymore.

      • So Slate is finally noticing that the meme of “trained police officers” is more a happy fiction than practical reality in many cop shops? Who’da thunk it? Police work is one of the few remaining jobs where people with modest or minimal education backgrounds can find a reasonable to well-paying job. If you can take a person who didn’t make it through high school (are you listening Austin?), give him/her a few months of “police training” and then declare them fully qualified to enforce laws, carry a gun, arrest and occasionally shoot people (and dogs), you’re going to get people with limited reading comprehension skills who literally don’t know what the big words mean in the laws they’re supposed to enforce. This says something about the reality of police work in America, don’t you think?

  5. i live in arkansas. alexander is a fairly small town and pretty rural. however, this is not the ONLY or FIRST PD to do this. Many do the same exact thing. Usually that officer is kept on extremely light duty until they come back from the academy. I know because i have seen it done this way first hand.

    • As do I. It was a completely rural town 2 decades ago. The “city” is creeping up on it. Bryant was a rural backwater once upon a time too, but it’s booming. Nearby Alexander is starting to feel the pressure.

  6. The State of IN only requires new hires to have completed a 40-hour pre-basic course before you hit the streets and then have a year to complete an ILEA certified academy. I don’t think it is ever done though. At my old agency, new hires worked in the jail until they left for the academy. Prior to the early 70’s, training was OTJ.

    • Wow! To be allowed to carry a firearm as a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Posse member, you are required to take something like 800 hours of training…and that is a volunteer position one step below reserve officer. Big difference.

  7. Well, to paraphrase Orwell in “Animal Farm”, all people are equal, but police officers are more equal than others.

  8. Thin blue line, getting thinner and demonstrating that aspiring to police is nothing more than a uniform, badge & a gun and free hand in fiddling the citizens, all the while claiming its an honorable profession.

    • I repeat, I thought anybody citizen can go out and do the job. Which is it. Do cops need to be trained operators so they can operate operationally or can you go out and apprehend lawbreakers without training?

      • TDI, Depends on how we want to define “training”. If we define it as knowing The Constitution, and a few common rules, then yup, I would contend anyone can do it, within that framework. This should be ingrained before HS, when it’s not, the system failed.

  9. There are a number of issues here and we ought to NOT muddle-them-all-up in our own minds.

    1. – What did we (America and England) have BEFORE police forces existed? (Answer: untrained militiamen). What were our first police forces like before we had police academies? What was the law on the legitimate use-of-force in these eras compared to our own times? In all these cases we expected the legitimate use-of-force to be applied according to the “reasonable man” standard. Applying lethal force is an awesome responsibility the “reasonable man” ought to be the cornerstone of our standard. Did this woman’s actions conform to those of a “reasonable man”? Or, Did this woman’s actions conform to police academy training? Which standard do we want to apply to LEOs? Which to ourselves?

    2. – Where does police academy training fit-in in the public debate about civilian carry? Shall we argue that:
    – civilian carry should NEVER be preconditioned on ANY training requirement; AND,
    – police carry should ALWAYS be preconditioned on HIGH training requirements?
    We CAN make these arguments simultaneously; we CAN rationalize them. Bear in mind, one consequence of arguing for both is to support the “Only-One” thesis. Do we want to advance the “Only-One” thesis?

    3. – How much does police academy training actually contribute to LEO efficacy in the use-of-force? Presumedly, it has some impact.
    – To what extent might that impact be NEGATIVE in certain respects?
    – To what extent might that impact be positive in certain respects?
    – To what extent does police academy training concern matters irrelevant to use-of-force (e.g., when to issue a traffic ticket)?

    4. – What is the empirical evidence of police academy training? Conceivably, LEOs who have yet to complete police academy training are so acutely aware of their limitations that they refrain from getting in-over-their-heads. Were such an effect predominant, empirical evidence might show that pre-trained LEOs are actually safer than trained rookies or veterans.

    5. – How do the LEO’s duty-to-intervene and qualified-immunity fit into our analysis? A police department has no duty to intervene in any particular case; however, a department can and does impose a duty on its employees to act aggressively. As such, a LEO is much more likely to have an unfortunate outcome when pursuing trouble that a citizen would (probably) avoid. The LEO will be less reluctant to pursue trouble knowing she has qualified-immunity; the citizen should be reluctant to do so knowing he will be prosecuted and sued on any pretext of acting wrongfully.

    • Totally bogus. Before police departments existed, people defended themselves. If someone was big enough to get away with murder, 3-4-5 guys banded together and killed him, then went back to their own business. No jails, no guards, no cops, no costs, no hired killers taking over your town. Ever-increasing numbers of thugs on the city payroll was not desired, for the most part, NYC being the exception.

      • And your 3-4-5 guys were graduates of the police academy?

        That is clearly a bogus proposition. In such an era of personal or tribal retribution there was no formal standard of training. Nor was there much of a standard of training when civilization transitioned to a militia system of law enforcement.

        What we (England and America) lived with for a very long time is a reasonable man standard of the use of lethal force. Today, we want to defend that standard as sufficient for any law-abiding citizens to KBA.

        We should criticize this female LEO for failing to conform to the reasonable man standard; trigger discipline; waiting for backup; perhaps other failures.

        I’m uncomfortable with the argument that the Only-LEOs qualified to bear arms are those that have completed the police academy’s gun-training. Do you believe that we PotG should insist that the Only-LEOs so qualified must complete police academy’s gun-training?

      • I wonder if it would be feasible to somehow gather data on newbees’ performance comparable to police qualifiers. E.g., suppose we got some NRA trainers who teach First Steps Pistol. Ask them to score their students for several classes using some drill comparable to a very typical police qualifier.

        Now, granted, we shouldn’t expect 100% or even 50% of such newbies to meet the qualification standard we are comparing to. If only 10% passed the police qualification it wouldn’t look good; Conversely, if 30% or 40% of First Step Pistol grads could pass the police qualification that would be quite impressive. It would do a lot to undermine the “Only-Ones” thesis.

        Another idea would be to do the same qualifier on the Advanced Pistol NRA course grads. Maybe the outcome would be 50% or 60% qualify.

  10. I’m wondering how any amount training is going to help if these gun just keep on “discharging” all by themselves…

  11. I don’t believe I ever patted a suspect down with a gun in my hand when I was an LEO. Get them in handcuffs before patting them down if you need to, but don’t try and search them with your gun out. You’re not going to be able to perform a very effective search otherwise. But I guess if she had been properly trained she would’ve known that.

    • Not a cop, never been a cop, but seems that cuffing was inevitable so why not have it be the first procedure right after having suspect lie face down with arms behind back? Or keep him covered until backup arrives? Either way, finger off the trigger!

      • Cuffing someone before doing a pat down may or may not be appropriate. If you’re just doing a quick pat down for officer safety after stopping someone for an observed offense, it may not be necessary to cuff them. If drawing your weapon was necessary to gain control of the subject, then absolutely the first thing you do is get them in cuffs. If she thought she couldn’t get him in cuffs, for whatever reason, she probably should have held him at gun point until backup arrived. Regardless, you’re correct, she should’ve kept her meat hook off the bang switch. This is why she should’ve had proper training prior to being turned loose. At the very least she should’ve been patterned with a senior officer (perhaps a training officer?) when out on patrol.

    • She had no problem patting him down, he was well searched. That is not the problem, the problem is that he did not survive it.

  12. The armed citizen has it much easier than a police officer. All he has to do is react to a direct to his life and/or property. He doesn’t have chase down anyone, place them in restraints at close quarters or make a decision as to whether to intervene at all.

  13. From the original article:

    “Police officers aren’t easy to come by. … You sort of get what you can get”

    I seem to recall the Mafia having the same attitude.

    • This is why we should all surrender our guns to the state. We will be well protected by people such as this.

  14. Is the training required to becoming a LEO, the policy and procedure of arrest, handcuffing, booking, etc. or is it about knowing how, and when to handle your firearm? Filling out arrest forms and booking sheets is not going to cause grievous bodily injury or death to anyone, but being officially authorized with the legal power to shoot somebody, and possibly kill somebody, with just a 50 round certification, is beyond recklessly irresponsible, it’s absolutely unconscionable. And these police too often portray we civilian gun owners, as dangerous, and untrained? That’s some ball-balls. Everyone I know with a gun, shoots once and twice a week, and puts a helluva lot more than 50 rounds downrange in just one visit. I don’t have statistics, but my local deputy dogs have told me they don’t get very much range time They either don’t have the time, or worse, make the time to improve their shooting skills. I wonder….who among us spends more time, effort, and personal wealth to become better shooters, the police, who can always call for back-up, or we non-police who are most likely going to be on our own if we ever need to pull our gun for self defense?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here