Over the past seven years, the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) has built a comprehensive training program for snipers, breachers, and critical incident commanders. With support from the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS), eight officers from PGPD recently participated in a local offering of the Tacflow Academy Sniper Team Leader Course. This training assists Special Operations Division (SOD) personnel in developing and implementing a specialized sniper training program. Hosted by Prince George’s County Police, the training included participation from neighboring law enforcement agencies from around the region.
A combination of classroom and field-based training, this three-day course was designed to break through the institutional complacency that police sniper teams and sniper team leaders often encounter within their organization, providing officers with the knowledge and tools required for a successful sniper program. Students discussed the mission of the police sniper, the selection process for identifying candidates within their organization, and the process for developing qualification courses to meet state reporting requirements. An examination of relevant case law and its implication in the field was also addressed. Course participants learned about sniper mission planning and discussed weapon, scope, and ammo specifications. The course concluded with a live-fire ballistic gel test to compare ammunition currently in use by departments in the field.
PGPD has made great strides in recent years by expanding its sniper capabilities to include urban areas, high-angle, and aerial sniping. While the sniper capability is highly focused on marksmanship, it requires mastery in observation, intelligence gathering, and operational planning. The local delivery of the TacFlow Sniper Team Leader course additionally allowed PGPD to train officers as a group and highlighted the need for more team-based training.
With the completion of the TacFlow Sniper Team Leader Course, PGPD has a better understanding of the need for proficiency in key areas. The department is working towards modifying its training curriculum to emphasize the development of certain skillsets by providing opportunities for officers to build and refine their sniper marksmanship skills, and gain the operational experience needed to perform in high-stress austere environments.