Pittsburgh Police increasing range time after some officers failed state shooting tests

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh’s acting police chief is speaking out after a Target 11 investigation revealed that his officers were failing the state’s new firearms shooting tests at alarming rates.

Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle broke the story earlier this month. And Thursday Rick spoke with the department’s acting police chief about the recent shooting-range issues.

“Anytime someone doesn’t pass an exam, certainly we are concerned. If there’s a training deficiency we need to look at why that occurred,” said Acting Police Chief Tom Stangrecki.

Earlier this month, the executive director of the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board expressed concerns.

“It is shameful that so many officers can’t pass the firearms qualification. That’s unsettling,” said Beth Pittinger of the Citizen Police Review Board.

“You expect officers to be competent when it comes to the use of firearms?” Earle asked Pittinger.

“That’s not an option. It must be competent. They must demonstrate that on an annual basis,” said Pittinger.

Law enforcement sources inside the department tell Target 11 that typically officers only shoot once a year; when they’re required to recertify.

After the officers failed the new, more stringent state test earlier this month, the acting chief confirmed what sources told Target 11 a couple of weeks ago: that the department will now offer more regular refresher courses.

“Certainly firearms is more than qualifications, it takes practice and repetition, and we are changing as a bureau to offer more range time,” said Acting Chief Stangrecki.

But Target 11 has learned there’s one big hurdle facing the department: how to get all of the officers more range time when the department is suffering from a crew shortage.

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