This was a great day for me. I had most of the day off to go to Fort Pierce to meet with the gang guys there and go the shooting range. This had been arranged by my good colleague and friend Adam Dobrin from FAU. I went to the Griddle for breakfast first in Boca, before heading up the i-95 to Fort Pierce – I had not been there since February when I last worked with the gang unit up there. I arrived at the shooting range at 1pm, and one of the cops who was there called Rob Pettit, the sergeant who looked after me last time, and he said he was just on this way. He arrived and set everything up, and giving me a Ballistics vest and holster to wear. Now I really felt like a cop!
Rob took a lot of time to show me exactly how the shooting should be done, setting up the targets out in the wooded area and then guiding me with the positioning of my feet and body – when i told him I had done some boxing in the past, this really helped him to be able to remind me how to position my feet and create a posture that would be right. He then showed me how to hold the Glock 21 and pull the trigger slowly before adding a magazine and getting me to practice for real. I managed to hit the target in the first few shots which gave me confidence – it was not as hard as I had thought it would be. He then showed me how to handle an semi-authomatic and I practiced with this – it was really a very interesting experience and one that I never expected to have! Rob and the other officers I had worked with last time, Clay and Chris, then gave me the target poster as a souvenir to take home. It was a really great experience and fascinating to be part of!
After this I switched back into research mode and accompanied Rob, Chris and Clay and the other officers from Port St Lucie on deployment again during a ride along. This was again fascinating and I learned a great deal more about their operations, viewing how they work with other departments such as the drug enforcement officers when drugs dealing issues are involved in some of the gang issues.
I left them at 6.3o as they went off duty and I drove down the road. I got back at 8pm and had dinner and wrote up my field notes. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day.