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Residents learn about guns, shooting in Citizens Police Academy

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    Targets, firearms and ammunition are lined up before the beginning of a shooting exercise at the Sylvania Township Firing Range.

    THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
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    Sylvania Township Police Officer Scott Germani, right, talks with Gerald Strasbourg, of Slyvania, during a shooting exercise of the township's Citizens Police Academy firing range session.

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Sylvania Township Police Officer Scott Germani, right, talks with Gerald Strasbourg, of Slyvania, during a shooting exercise of the township's Citizens Police Academy firing range session.

THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
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Participants of the Sylvania Township Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy sharpened their shooting skills at the department’s outdoor firing range this week.

Eleven citizens visited the range in a quarry off of Brint Road that the department leases from Hanson Aggregates. The area is used by the department’s police force and a shell of a building facade is used by the SWAT team to practice target shooting.

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The instruction on police arms and the firing range was held in the sixth week of the eight-week course that gives citizens insight into the rules, regulations, and policies that shape the department’s procedures.

Before anyone pulled the trigger, Officer Scott Germani reviewed the department’s weapons and safety procedures for handling the weapons.

“Don’t point a gun at anything you don’t want to destroy,” he said. The participants reviewed the rules from the shooters overhang that was about 50 yards from the paper targets. The range was in a valley bordered by mounds of dirt and trees. A heap of mulch was piled behind the paper targets as a backstop.

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Targets, firearms and ammunition are lined up before the beginning of a shooting exercise at the Sylvania Township Firing Range.

THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Everyone was anxious to start shooting and most participants had used guns before. Some brought their own weapons to practice shooting.

“I’m interested in becoming a police officer, so I want to see how the department works,” said Ben Marx, 25 and a Sylvania resident. “I think the shooting range is a fun experience.”

Several participants tried the AR-15 rifle, which is every patrol car. It has the ability to pump out bullets at a speed of 1,200 to 1,300 feet per second.

Before participants took a shot with the powerful Glock 22 pistol, the department’s standard issued gun, some were shown how to hold the weapon and an appropriate stance to deal with the gun's quick kick-back.

At about 10 feet from the targets, participants held the gun with a two-handed wrap around grip and pulled the trigger. Hands went up and to the right, as bullet cases fell to the floor. A loud-striking “pop” echoed in the area with each shot.

Phil Farina, 60, was off to the side admiring one participants stance. “Depending on what your shooting is how you stand,” he said.

The Sylvania resident said that it was important for citizens to understand what the people in the police force do.

“There are more of us than those in the force, so we should help them in protecting our community,” he said. “In everyday use, the police don’t have time to always hold the stance.”

Steven Dolin, 50, of Sylvania, said that the course has been educational and taught him about the reality of a police officer''s job, as opposed to the glorified images seen on TV.

The academy ends on May 28 with a graduation ceremony. The participants  will be eligible to apply for the volunteer Citizens Patrol Group.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356 or ntrusso@theblade.com. 

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