WHITE CITY, Ore. – Shell casings fell to the snow as Medford Police officers spent hours training in 20 degree weather in an effort to gain experience in winter conditions.
“Manual dexterity, it diminishes quite a bit the colder and colder it gets,” said Officer Paul Mellgren.
Ice and sub-freezing temperatures impact everything from the way officers drive while on patrol to their range of motion when drawing their weapon.
“That takes usually your bare hands, at times they have had some instruction shooting with gloves,” said Detective Tony Young.
Firearm instructors staged the training scenarios based on real-life events that have happened to law enforcement agencies.
“We don’t see a weapon at that point. All of a sudden a weapon is produced. Then, we have to engage the suspect weather he has a weapon or not, we have to engage the suspect with our firearm at that point,” described Officer Mellgren.
The training presented added circumstances and way have been cold, but Detective Young said it reflects the conditions officers are currently working in.
“It’s vital because these officers are out on the street, in this weather, these lighting conditions and they need to be ready to use that deadly force if that situation comes up,” said Detective Young.
Both building and traffic stop scenarios were among the exercises and officers said the training gives them valuable experience.
“It’s something new that we don’t get to experience all the time, sadly we have to wait until December to do this training when it’s nice and cold out,” said Officer Mellgren.