Firearms

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This directive is for internal use only and does not enlarge an employee’s civil liability in any way. The directive should not be construed as creating a higher duty of care, in an evidentiary sense, with respect to third party civil claims against employees. Violations of this directive, if proven, can only form the basis of a complaint by the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office for non-judicial administrative action in accordance with the rules and laws governing employee discipline.
DIRECTIVE TYPE: Policy SUBJECT: Firearms NUMBER: OPER-343.00
APPROVED BY: Sheriff Ken Christesen EFFECTIVE DATE: 5/14/2017
NMLEA STANDARDS: ADM.05.03 & ADM.06.01 (A, B, D, E) LAST MODIFIED: 4/4/2017 LAST REVIEW: 4/4/2017


PURPOSE:


The inherent danger associated with law enforcement requires deputies to carry firearms during the performance of their duties for the protection of themselves and others. To safely carry a firearm, a deputy must be properly trained and qualified in its use. This policy provides guidelines for the issuance and carrying of firearms to ensure that citizen, deputy, and suspect safety is maximized.


POLICY:


It is the policy of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office to use objectively reasonable force to control or overcome the resistance put forth by individuals who are violent, exhibiting threatening or potentially violent behavior, or physically resisting arrest or detention. Firearms may be used by authorized and trained personnel in deadly force encounters when such action is within legal parameters and Sheriff’s Office policies.


DEFINITIONS:


The following definitions will apply for the purposes of this policy:


  • Armorer – A Sheriff’s Office employee who has been trained in the maintenance and repair of a particular firearm style.


  • Deadly Force – Any force application that is reasonably likely to cause death or great bodily harm.


  • Deputy – All certified Sheriff’s Office personnel regardless of rank, as well as reserve deputies while acting in their official capacity for the Sheriff’s Office. Provisions in this policy that are specific to either a certified deputy or reserve deputy will refer to that title specifically.


  • Firearms Coordinator – A firearms instructor designated by the Sheriff or his designee to oversee, assist, and/or manage the instruction, maintenance, and inventory of all firearms related materials.


  • Firearms Instructor – A sworn employee who holds a current General Police instructor certification from NMDPS as well as a current instructor certification for the specific type of firearm(s) he or she is providing instruction on.


  • Retention Level I Holster – Any holster, regardless of design or material, which utilizes friction only to retain a handgun.


  • Retention Level II Holster – Any holster, regardless of design or material, which combines friction and one retention system (snap, lever, etc.) to retain a handgun.


PROCEDURE:


SAFETY GUIDELINES


  • Always treat all firearms as if they are loaded.
  • Never let the muzzle of a firearm cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until the sights are on the target and you are prepared to shoot.
  • Always be certain of your target and beyond.
  • Personnel are responsible to ensure firearms are stored in a manner that deters unauthorized access at all times whether on or off-duty. Firearms will not be left unattended in a Sheriff’s Office vehicle unless secured by a locking mechanism, lock box (not glove box), or in the vehicle’s trunk.
  • When vehicles are turned in for service all firearms will be removed by the deputy.
  • Loaded handguns will not be removed from holsters inside Sheriff’s Office buildings except in emergency situations.
  • Loaded rifles or shotguns will not be brought inside Sheriff’s Office buildings except in emergency situations. All firearms brought inside Sheriff’s Office buildings other than holstered duty and back-up handguns will be unloaded, the chamber inspected to ensure it is empty, and the action open.
  • Rifles and shotguns will not be carried in vehicles with the chamber loaded except in emergency situations.
  • When reporting to the range for training or qualifications, personnel will not remove loaded handguns from their holster until instructed to do so by range personnel. Shotguns and rifles will not be loaded or unloaded until instructed to do so by range personnel.
  • Firearms should never be handled while under the influence of an intoxicating drug or alcohol.


GENERAL


Use of force by deputies is governed by the Sheriff’s Office Use of Force Policy. These two policies are designed to work in conjunction with one another.


Firearms are a deadly force tool which may be used when the deputy has a reasonable belief that his or her life or that of another is in immediate danger of death or great bodily harm based on the totality of the circumstances known to the deputy at that time.


Deadly force may also be used to prevent escape when the deputy has probable cause to believe the subject poses a significant threat of death or great bodily harm to the deputy or others and a reasonable, non-deadly alternative for apprehension does not exist. In these cases, and when feasible, a verbal warning of the use of force should be given by the deputy. The use of deadly force cannot be used to seize an unarmed, non-dangerous fleeing felon or misdemeanant.


AUTHORITY (ADM.06.01 (A & E), ADM.05.03)


All deputies and animal control officers must receive training in, and demonstrate proficiency annually, with all issued and/or approved firearms before being allowed to carry them. Additionally, all deputies must receive training in the use of force and the Sheriff’s Office Use of Force Policy prior to being allowed to carry a firearm.


Certified deputies while on-duty or acting in any official capacity, as well as reserve deputies while working with certified deputies or acting in any official capacity, are authorized to carry and utilize only those firearms and ammunition that are either issued or approved by the Sheriff’s Office. However, in exigent circumstances they are not precluded from using any means necessary for self-defense.


Animal control officers are authorized to carry select firearms and ammunition issued by the Sheriff’s Office for the purpose of euthanizing animals under the guidelines in the Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Policy. They are encouraged to ask for a deputy’s assistance in dealing with potentially violent subjects. However, in exigent circumstances they are not precluded from using any means necessary for self-defense. Animal control officers are not allowed to carry a personally owned firearm.


OFF-DUTY FIREARMS


Certified deputies may, but are not required to, carry an authorized firearm while off duty. The carrying of firearms off-duty must comply with the applicable provisions of this policy.


Pursuant to 4-41-10.1 NMSA 1978, only fully certified Sheriffs and full-time, certified Deputy Sheriffs may carry concealed firearms on or off-duty. Certified deputies carrying concealed firearms off-duty under this statute are limited to those firearms and ammunition either issued or approved by the Sheriff’s Office and are not exempt from the limitations imposed by other state statutes such as the prohibition of carrying a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


Reserve deputies are not authorized to a carry concealed firearm off-duty based solely on their special deputy commission. If carrying a concealed firearm off-duty, reserve deputies are required to have a valid concealed carry license and must follow state law.


Nothing herein is intended to prevent any Sheriff’s Office employee or volunteer from carrying firearms while off-duty and in a manner that complies with state statute.


AUTHORIZED FIREARMS


The standard issue firearms for Sheriff’s Office personnel are listed as follows:


  • Certified and commissioned deputies:
    • Glock® 17 or 19 handgun chambered in 9mm.
    • AR-15 style semi-automatic carbine chambered in .223/5.56.
    • Pump-action 12-gauge shotgun.


  • Reserve Deputies:
    • Glock® 17 or 19 handgun chambered in 9mm.


  • Animal Control Officers:
    • Bolt-action rifle chambered in .22 Long Rifle.
    • Pump-action 12-gauge shotgun.


Back-up handguns are not provided by the Sheriff’s Office.


All agency owned firearms must meet the following specifications:


  • Minimum of a five pound trigger pull (tolerance of -1 pound).
  • No modifications to the manufacturer’s trigger or safety mechanisms.
  • No modifications outside those allowed by this policy.


Any employee possessing an agency owned firearm is prohibited from modifying or altering the firearm in any manner. Any requested modification, not prohibited by this policy, must go through a Sheriff’s Office armorer.


The Sheriff’s Office will not authorize any modification to an agency owned firearm that would void the manufacturer’s warranty. Modifications made to agency owned firearms are restricted to the following:


  • Grips;
  • Handguards;
  • Sights/optics;
  • Magazine releases;
  • Slide-lock mechanisms.


The Sheriff’s Office maintains a variety of firearms for training and/or demonstration purposes. These firearms may be utilized by instructors when needed. The Sheriff’s Office equipment technician will issue the requested firearm which must be returned within a reasonable amount of time at the conclusion of the training.


The Sheriff’s Office may issue other specialty firearms and force tools to the SWAT team. These are all detailed in the Sheriff’s Office Firearms/Force Tools – SWAT Policy.


PERSONALLY OWNED FIREARMS APPROVAL PROCESS (ADM.O6.01 (D))


Deputies may carry a personally owned handgun, back-up handgun, rifle, and shotgun (reserve deputies are restricted to handguns only) which meet the following guidelines and are approved through the approval process prior to being carried.


The specifications for personally owned firearms are as follows:


  • Duty Handguns
    • Approved calibers include:
      • .45 ACP
      • .40 S&W
      • .357 Magnum
      • .38 Special
      • 9mm
    • Revolvers must be double action.
    • Semi-automatics can be double action, double/single, safe action, or single action with a functioning thumb and grip safety.
    • Minimum of six round capacity.
    • Barrel length must be between four to six inches.
    • All original factory safety mechanisms must be present and functional.
    • No unsafe modifications as determined by an armorer or the Firearms Committee.
    • Minimum trigger pull of five pounds (tolerance of -1 pound).
    • Handguns equipped with a red-dot optic must have co-witnessed iron sights.
    • Color or finish must be black, gray, stainless, or subdued earth tone.
    • No stickers, etching, painted symbols, or art.
    • Must prove to be reliable in a function check.


  • Duty Rifles
    • Approved calibers include:
      • .223/5.56 only
    • Must be a semi-automatic type action only (any mechanism designed to make a semi-automatic fire in a fully automatic manner is prohibited).
    • Barrel length must be between 16 to 24 inches.
    • All original factory safety mechanisms must be present and functional.
    • No unsafe modifications as determined by an armorer or the Firearms Committee.
    • Minimum trigger pull of five pounds (tolerance of -1 pound).
    • Rifles with an optic (red dot, magnified, etc.) must have an independent back-up sight system in case of optic failure.
    • Color or finish must be black, gray, or subdued earth tone.
    • No stickers, etching, painted symbols, or art.
    • Must prove to be reliable in a function check.


  • Duty Shotguns
    • Approved calibers include:
      • 12-gauge only
    • Must be a pump or semi-auto type action only with a single magazine tube feeding system.
    • Barrel length must be between 18 to 24 inches.
    • All original factory safety mechanisms must be present and functional.
    • No unsafe modifications as determined by an armorer or the Firearms Committee.
    • Minimum trigger pull of five pounds (tolerance of -1 pound).
    • Color or finish must be black, gray, or subdued earth tone. Wooden stocks are permitted.
    • No stickers, etching, painted symbols, or art.
    • Must prove to be reliable in a function check.


  • Back-Up Handguns
    • Approved calibers include:
      • .45 ACP
      • .40 S&W
      • .357 Magnum
      • .38 Special
      • 9mm
      • .380 ACP
    • Minimum of five round capacity.
    • Barrel length must be between one and a half to six inches.
    • All original factory safety mechanisms must be present and functional.
    • No unsafe modifications as determined by an armorer or the Firearms Committee.
    • Minimum trigger pull of five pounds (tolerance of -1 pound).
    • No color restrictions will be required for concealed firearms. If the firearm is worn open carry it must meet the same color and finish requirements as duty handguns.
    • No stickers, etching, painted symbols, or art.
    • Must prove to be reliable in a function check.


Personally owned firearms must originate from one of the following approved manufacturers:


  • Duty Handgun – Beretta, Colt, Glock, Kimber, PARA USA, Ruger, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and Springfield Armory.


  • Back-Up Handgun – All of the above plus Kahr Arms, Kel-Tech, Taurus, and Walther.


  • Rifle – Armalite, Bushmaster, Colt, Daniel Defense, DPMS, JP Enterprises, Remington, Rock River Arms, and Smith & Wesson.


  • Shotgun – Benelli, Beretta, Browning, FN America, Heckler & Koch, Mossberg, Remington, Smith & Wesson, and Winchester.


Firearms not originating from one of the above listed manufacturers may be submitted to the Firearms Committee. The committee must unanimously agree to approve a firearm not listed in this policy. “Kit guns” or firearms built from combing parts (slide, frame, upper and lower receivers) from different firearms, regardless of manufacturer, are prohibited.


The following approval process must be completed prior to carrying a personally owned firearm:


  1. The firearm will be inspected by a Sheriff’s Office armorer and the “Armorer’s Firearm Inspection Report” will be filled out completely. The armorer will conduct an inspection and function check to ensure the firearm is suitable for duty use and within policy parameters.
  2. Once the firearm has passed inspection, the deputy must qualify with the firearm on the appropriate qualification course with a Sheriff’s Office firearms instructor. Firearms that are to be carried in a concealed manner are only required to shoot the back-up qualification course while any firearm that may be carried in the open will require the daytime and nighttime qualification course as required by NMDPS.

    The instructor will complete the “Qualification Form” only if the deputy obtains a qualifying score. At least one qualification course will be shot in its entirety with duty ammunition to test the firearm for reliability and function. In the event a firearm fails to function reliably, the instructor will not sign off on the qualification form.

  3. The deputy will then fill out the “Approval Request for Personally Owned Firearm” which will be forwarded along with the inspection form and the qualification form to the Undersheriff. Incomplete forms will be returned to the deputy without approval.


If the approval request is granted, documentation of the approval will be entered into the employee’s training file and the deputy will be notified. If the approval request is denied, the original forms will be forwarded back to the deputy indicating the reason for the denial and a copy placed in their training file.


This approval process will remain valid for the duration of the approving Sheriff’s term. Any personally owned firearm taken out of service for a period or more than six months or for any modifications (including refinishing, changing or adding optics or sights, etc.) must be re-approved. Annual armorer inspections must be completed as indicated by this policy.


If a personally owned firearm that has been approved for use is going to be voluntarily taken out of service, the deputy will turn a memorandum in to the firearms coordinator stating that they no longer want approval to utilize the particular firearm. This memorandum will be forwarded to the Undersheriff and attached to the documents pertaining to that firearm and maintained in the training file.


AMMUNITION


The Sheriff’s Office provides duty and training ammunition for all issued firearms as well as select calibers of personally owned and approved firearms. Only ammunition provided by the Sheriff’s Office may be utilized for duty in an issued firearm. While the brand of the ammunition may change, the general configuration for ammunition is as follows:


  • Handgun (Certified & Reserve Deputies):
    • Factory loaded hollow point bullet designed for the purposes of self-defense.
  • Shotgun (Certified):
    • Factory loaded 12-gauge 00 buckshot designed for tactical use.
    • Factory loaded 12-gauge slugs designed for tactical use.
  • Shotgun (Animal Control):
    • Factory loaded 12-gauge buckshot.
  • Rifle (Certified):
    • Factory loaded .223/5.56 jacketed soft point or ballistic tip bullet designed for tactical use.
  • Rifle (Animal Control):
    • Factory loaded .22 Long Rifle jacketed hollow point bullet.


Ammunition for personally owned handguns that are approved under this policy in calibers not provided by the Sheriff’s Office must be supplied by the deputy under the following specifications:


  • Factory loaded from a reputable manufacturer;
  • Hollow point bullet designed for self-defense purposes; and
  • Constructed of a brass case (aluminum and steel cases are prohibited).


Due to safety considerations, at no time will hand-loaded ammunition be used for duty or training in an issued Sheriff’s Office firearm or any firearm during a Sheriff’s Office function. Factory loaded ammunition in aluminum cases may be used for training purposes only.


Training ammunition for handguns and rifles is typically of a jacketed, ball style. Aside from factory loaded birdshot loads, slug and buckshot ammunition for shotgun training is the same as the duty issued.


Issued or approved duty ammunition will be carried, both on and off-duty, in all issued or approved firearms and in all reloading sources while on and off-duty.


Duty ammunition for all firearms will be cycled out of service on a three year rotation. This may be achieved by utilizing duty ammunition for a qualification course.


Each year, the Sheriff’s Office will provide ammunition for qualifications for one of each type of firearm (duty handgun, back-up handgun, rifle, and shotgun), regardless if it is an agency issued or personally owned firearm that has been approved. Deputies wishing to qualify with more than one of the same type of firearm are responsible for providing their own ammunition. Qualification ammunition for a personally owned firearm in which the Sheriff’s Office does not carry will be supplied by the deputy.


NUMBER OF FIREARMS PERMITTED


Deputies are authorized to actively maintain up to two of each type of firearm (duty handgun, back-up handgun, rifle, and shotgun) for use. This may be achieved by qualifying with an agency issued firearm and a personally owned firearm, or by qualifying with two personally owned firearms. In the event a deputy chooses to utilize a different firearm from what he or she is currently qualified with, the approval process for the new firearm (if applicable) must be completed and a memorandum stating which firearm will no longer be in use will be submitted to the firearms coordinator.


GUIDELINES FOR CARRYING FIREARMS


All certified deputies, regardless of assignment, are required to carry a duty handgun and at least one duty long gun (rifle or shotgun). Reserve deputies are required to carry a duty handgun while in uniform.


The Sheriff’s Office does not issue rifles or shotguns to reserve deputies. In emergency situations, reserve deputies who have successfully completed an approved training course and are current (within the year) on qualifying with that same type of long gun, may utilize a certified deputy’s long gun of the same configuration (rifle or shotgun).


The Sheriff’s Office issues Level II retention holsters for all issued handguns. Any holster personally purchased for an issued or approved firearm to be carried on duty (excluding back-up handguns that are fully concealed) must be at least a Level II.


All back-up firearms will be carried in a concealed manner. A Level I retention holster may be used for firearms carried concealed as long as the firearm remains completely concealed during the course of normal carry.


Shoulder holsters are prohibited for use. Deputies choosing to carry a back-up firearm concealed on their body armor may do so as long as the barrel is pointed in a downward direction.


Certified deputies dressed in civilian clothing while on-duty will wear a visible handgun with a visible badge as near to the handgun as practical. Certified deputies working in an undercover capacity may be exempt from the requirement to carry a handgun, badge, or commission card with prior approval from a Sheriff’s Office supervisor.


Rifles and shotguns will be carried either in a locking device in the cab of a vehicle or secured in the trunk.


Off-duty certified deputies carrying a concealed handgun will also carry either a badge of office or commission card.


The method of carry for concealed firearms is left up to the discretion of the deputy but is required to be secure.


CONDITIONS OF READINESS


Semi-automatic handguns will be carried loaded with duty ammunition in the chamber and a magazine loaded with duty ammunition inserted into the handgun. Single actions will be carried with the hammer cocked and the safety in the safe position. Double actions (either double action only or double/single) will be carried with the hammer de-cocked and the safety in the safe position if equipped. “Safe actions” such as the Glock incorporate internal safety features that are not required to be activated or deactivated by the user. Revolvers will be carried with all the chambers loaded with duty ammunition and the hammer down.


Deputies assigned to the patrol or civil division will carry a minimum of two external ammunition sources while on-duty and in uniform.


Deputies assigned to uniformed administration, detectives, training, or other administrative duties will carry a minimum of one external ammunition source while on-duty.


Shotguns will be carried with the chamber empty and the magazine loaded with duty ammunition (either buckshot or slugs). In tactical situations the chamber may be loaded (with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction) at the discretion of the deputy. When loaded, the safety will be placed in the safe position until an immediate threat has been identified.


Deputies may carry extra shotgun ammunition in holders mounted to the side of the shotgun receiver as well as on duty gear as long as it is professional in appearance.


Rifles will be carried with the chamber empty and the magazine loaded with duty ammunition and inserted into the rifle. In tactical situations the chamber may be loaded (with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction) at the discretion of the deputy. When loaded, the safety will be placed in the safe position until an immediate threat has been identified.


Deputies carrying a rifle will maintain a minimum of two external ammunition sources ready for use.


BOOKING FACILITIES


All firearms, visible and concealed, as well as all ammunition sources will be secured in the lock boxes provided at the jail or in the deputy’s vehicle before entering any jail or booking facility. This prohibition may be waived during an emergency situation with prior approval from both a Sheriff’s Office supervisor and a detention center or jail supervisor.


MAINTENANCE


All firearms will be maintained in a condition ready for immediate use. They will be kept clean and functional as designed by the manufacturer. Sheriff’s Office firearms will be field stripped only. Disassembly beyond field stripping will only be performed by an armorer. Any firearm turned in will be inspected, cleaned, and function checked by an armorer prior to being re-issued.


Deputies choosing to carry a personally owned firearm are responsible for all maintenance and repair expenses required.


FIREARMS COMMITTEE


The Firearms Committee is appointed by the Undersheriff and will consist of the firearms coordinator, an armorer, and a firearms instructor. The support services lieutenant and the staff member responsible for policies will also sit on the committee as supporting members. The committee will meet as needed and make recommendations on the following:


  • Firearms or associated equipment purchased and issued by the Sheriff’s Office;
  • Ammunition purchased and issued by the Sheriff’s Office;
  • Personal firearms and ammunition approved for use;
  • Requests for modifications that require approval;
  • Policy revisions; and
  • Training issues.


All documentation regarding the Firearms Committee’s meetings and decisions will be maintained by the firearms coordinator.


TRAINING


No deputy is authorized to carry or use a firearm without successfully completing the mandated training and qualifications.


The Sheriff’s Office will provide firearms training throughout the year. Deputies will use the same holster, firearm(s), and equipment they normally use while on-duty. Protective body armor will be worn during any live fire training or qualification.


All firearms training and qualifications will be conducted by qualified firearms instructors and supervised by the firearms coordinator.


QUALIFICATIONS (ADM.06.01 (B))


To demonstrate proficiency with all firearms issued or carried by Sheriff’s Office personnel, qualifications are held during the year to reasonably accommodate different shift schedules. Proficiency is demonstrated by shooting at least the minimum passing score on a prescribed course of fire.


Pursuant to the requirements set forth in section 10.29.9.14 of the New Mexico Administrative Code, all deputies carrying a handgun are required to successfully complete a minimum of one daytime and one nighttime firearms qualification on an annual basis. The course of fire and minimum acceptable scores for these qualifications is set by the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board.


Along with this requirement, the Sheriff’s Office requires annual qualifications on all firearms carried by deputies. Courses for qualification approved used by the Sheriff’s Office are maintained by the firearms coordinator.


Deputies carrying a shotgun must qualify with both slugs and 00 buckshot. In the event a deputy chooses to carry a shotgun as their only long gun, and fails to qualify with both slugs and 00 buckshot, he or she will be placed on administrative duty and must proceed with remedial training as outlined in the policy.


Firearms instructors will document all qualifications scores to include both passing and failing scores. Any training provided to a deputy after receiving a failing score will be documented on the qualification form.


Upon completion of qualifications, the firearms coordinator will conduct an audit and identify any deputy who took three attempts to qualify or received remedial training. Those deputies will receive mandatory remedial training as assigned by the firearms coordinator.


Firearms qualifications for SWAT Team members are coordinated by the SWAT Team Commander. The qualifications standards are outlined in the Sheriff’s Office SWAT Policy.


Animal control officers will receive training and be required to demonstrate proficiency annually with issued firearms. Training and qualification courses will be developed and conducted by firearms instructors based on job duties. If an animal control officer is not able to demonstrate proficiency with a firearm it will be immediately surrendered to the firearms instructor and the remedial procedures outlined in this policy will apply with the exception that the officer will be allowed to return to duty without the particular firearm. In the event an animal control officer fails to qualify after receiving remedial training, an administrative review will be conducted to determine the proper action to be taken.


FAILURES TO QUALIFY


For all qualification courses, deputies will have three attempts to achieve a passing score. All three attempts will be made during the same range session and with the same firearm(s) unless a circumstance such as an injury or equipment failure reasonably prevents it. Failed qualification attempts are cumulative and changing firearms after a failed attempt does not start the process over.


In the event a passing score is not achieved on the first course of fire, personal instruction from a firearms instructor is encouraged prior to the second and third attempt with a description of the remedial training recorded on the qualification form.


Deputies will not return to armed duty unless they have successfully achieved a passing score during one of the three attempts with all issued and/or approved firearms. This provision does not include a failure to qualify with a back-up handgun or a long gun provided that the deputy maintains qualification with at least one long gun.


If a deputy fails to shoot a qualifying score on the third attempt, they will be immediately assigned to temporary unarmed duty status by the shift lieutenant. The instructor in charge of the failed qualification will, without unreasonable delay, submit a memorandum to the firearms coordinator explaining the circumstances to include scores for each failed attempt, instruction provided in between attempts, any reasoning provided by the deputy, and problems identified by the instructor. This memorandum will be forwarded up the chain of command to the Sheriff.


Under the supervision of the administrative lieutenant, the deputy will be assigned to remedial training with a designated firearms instructor. Remedial training will be scheduled as soon as reasonably possible and at the convenience of the Sheriff’s Office. At the conclusion of the remedial training, based on input from the instructor and demonstrated progress by the deputy, training may be extended for a reasonable amount of time.


Once all remedial training is concluded, proficiency must be demonstrated by shooting two consecutive passing qualification scores in a single range session. Once proficiency has been demonstrated, the deputy may return to armed duty.


Deputies failing to demonstrate firearms proficiency after remedial training are subject to termination for failure to meet established job qualifications. Firearms instructors will submit a memorandum detailing the remedial training, describing what types of training that have been completed and the final outcome of the training. This memorandum will be sent to the firearms coordinator and forwarded up the chain of command to the Sheriff.


A deputy who fails to qualify, receives remedial training, and then fails to qualify again on the next scheduled qualification session will be immediately assigned to temporary unarmed duty status by the shift lieutenant; reserve deputies will be suspended from the program. The Firearms Committee will convene and review the circumstances to determine if there is a specific problem(s) that additional training may correct. The committee will then report their findings to the Sheriff or Undersheriff.


If after this review a second remedial is provided and the deputy fails to demonstrate proficiency by shooting two consecutive qualification scores they may be subject to termination for failure to meet established job qualifications.


Deputies who have received three mandatory remedial training sessions in a five year period and then fail to qualify with a duty firearm in that five year period may be subject to termination without any further reviews or attempts at remedial training.


INSTRUCTORS


Sheriff’s Office firearms instructors operate under the supervision of the firearms coordinator who reports to the administrative lieutenant. Any memorandums or concerns brought to the firearms coordinator will be promptly relayed to the administrative lieutenant.


Firearms instructors are responsible for training, proficiency testing, and documenting firearms performance. Instructors will maintain their skills and continually update their knowledge of current techniques, tactics, and case law.


The firearms coordinator will schedule agency firearms training and is responsible for approving any training course to be taught.


Instructors are responsible for range safety and have full authority on range regarding safety and qualification oversight, regardless of rank. This includes the authority to remove a deputy or equipment from the range that they believe to be unsafe. In these cases, a memorandum describing the circumstances will be sent to the firearms coordinator.


Instructors will identify any unusual firearm malfunction and report them to a Sheriff’s Office armorer in a timely manner.


ARMORERS


Not including routine cleaning, armorers are responsible for the maintenance and annual inspections of all issued firearms. Armorers are also responsible for the annual inspections of personally owned firearms. Any firearm found to be out of policy specifications or otherwise deemed to be unsafe will be immediately removed from service.


Armorers will perform an annual inspection of all firearms to include ones that are personally owned. This inspection, along with any repairs made, will be documented and a final report provided to the support services lieutenant no later than December 31st of each year. The support services lieutenant will review the documentation to ensure that all firearms are accounted for, have been inspected, and are within policy specifications. A memorandum summarizing the inspection will then be sent to the Undersheriff for review. Annual inspection reports will be archived for future reference.


Repairs and approved modifications to agency owned firearms will only be made by a Sheriff’s Office armorer, the manufacturer, or a qualified gunsmith. It will be the armorer’s responsibility to perform a function check and test fire each firearm that has been worked on to ensure its operational readiness.


Sheriff’s Office armorers trained in the specific make and model of a firearm may, without violating this policy, replace a factory trigger to factory specifications.


It is recognized that Sheriff’s Office armorers are not factory certified for every type of firearm that might be approved; therefore, inspections of personally owned firearms will be for unsafe modifications or operating conditions that a general firearms armorer would recognize. Armorers unfamiliar with a certain type of firearm platform will not “guess” about the safe or unsafe condition of a firearm. Uncertainties regarding a firearm’s suitability for duty will be forwarded to the Firearms Committee for review and recommendation. An armorer or the Firearms Committee may request a deputy to provide a spec sheet for any personally owned firearm prior to an inspection.


Armorers have the authority to remove a firearm, optic, or equipment from use if they believe it to be unsafe or not otherwise suitable for duty use. A memorandum describing the circumstances will be directed to the firearms coordinator.


For the purposes of this policy, any function check performed by an armorer will include, but is not limited to:


  • Ensuring all safety mechanisms are present and fully functional.
  • Optics and/or sights are securely attached and fully functional.
  • Testing the trigger pull weight to check for compliance with policy requirements.
  • Checking for loose and/or missing parts.
  • Ensure proper functioning of the slide/bolt stop, magazine release, action release, etc.
  • Testing all magazines for functionality, damage, etc.


CROSS REFERENCES:


  1. SJCSO Policy OPER-304.00 “Use of Force”
  2. Right to carry concealed arms [4-41-10.1 NMSA 1978]
  3. SJCSO Policy OPER-311.00 “Animal Control”
  4. SJCSO Policy OPER-344.00 “Firearms/Force Tools – SWAT”
  5. NMAC 10.29.9.14 “Entry Level and Requalification Firearms Training”
  6. SJCSO Policy OPER-325.00 “SWAT”