Sergeant David Eckels
Patrolman Barry Clifford
While each officer with the Ross Township Police Department is responsible for their own duty weapons, the department stills maintains a separate Firearms Training Unit to provide additional specialty firearms training and support.
Maintenance responsibilities fall to the Department Firearms Instructors and armorers, Sergeant David Eckels and Officer Barry Clifford. They are responsible for cleaning and maintaining all department owned weapons, which include the Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun and .223 caliber patrol rifle. They are also responsible for assisting officers with the care and maintenance of their own individual duty weapons and controlling ammunition inventories for the department.
Sergeant Eckels and Officer Clifford maintain current certification as armorers for the AR-15/M-16 patrol rifle, along with Sig Sauer, Glock and the Smith & Wesson M&P pistols, all of which are authorized for use within the department. They are always seeking updates on department owned weapons and ballistics information for the various ammunition brands and calibers that are on the market today.
Both Sergeant Eckels and Officer Clifford are NRA certified handgun, shotgun and patrol rifle instructors, and each year they oversee the required annual firearms qualifications. This includes a night shoot qualification for each officer in the department. All officers are required to re-qualify with their duty weapon, appropriate department shotgun and any off duty weapon the officer will be utilizing. In addition, most of department’s officers are selected for specialty weapons such as the AR-15 patrol rifle and must qualify with those weapons in addition to the normal qualifications.
Sergeant Eckels and Officer Clifford have been instrumental in the development of various other firearms exercises, which include the creation of live fire tactical scenarios, that add a sense of realism and stress not normally found in traditional firearms qualification. This training better prepares the individual officer for the uncertainties found on the street.
The Firearms Training Unit has also developed a training program for less than lethal munitions and delivery systems. This includes the use of the x-26Taser. The development of this training has provided officers with an even greater range of tools to overcome a threat and will help to ensure the safety of both the police officer and the public at large.