A pair of Dade City Police Department employees have achieved the distinction of earning an advanced firearms certification.
Dade City Police Detective Amanda Chambers and Investigator Diana Surratt completed a local three-day certified firearms specialty class, organized by the International Firearm Specialist Academy.
Chambers and Surratt were among 22 class members from various law enforcement agencies from across the Tampa Bay area. The in-classroom firearms specialist academy took place at the DCPD Training Center in November 2019. The two became the first to successfully complete the course’s 13 learning modules and tests, according to Dade City Police Chief James Walters.
Areas of focus for certification include safe handling practices; accurate identification of firearms and ammunition; competency to explain firearms rules and classifications, and nomenclature; and mechanical operation.
The two members’ certifications became official March 4.
The firearms academy originally was developed by Daniel O’ Kelly, a retired special agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. O’ Kelly recognized there was a learning gap in firearms training and specialty after he served as lead instructor of firearm technology at the ATF National Academy in Glynco, Georgia.
One of the lead instructors for the local firearms class was retired Tampa Police captain Bret Bartlett, who made a presentation during a March 9 Dade City Commission meeting to recognize the Dade City Police employees’ achievement.
The certification, Bartlett said, “is designed to let investigators and officers make better firearms cases so we put more bad guys away in jail, more efficiently.”
“It’s a difficult class,” Bartlett said. “When I took it the first time, I realized there’s a lot more that I needed to learn, a lot more than I knew, so they worked very hard, they were very diligent. There are very few in this whole country, very few certified firearms specialists.”
Chambers was hired by the local police department in December 2016. Surratt was bought on as a part-time employee in January 2017 and became full-time in October last year.
Published March 31, 2021