By Lt. Mike Tuntakit, AA/Public Information Officer
Avenal State Prison
On Dec. 7, the Avenal State Prison (ASP) range staff was recognized for their outstanding accomplishments during the Glock 22, Semi-Automatic Handgun Transition.
ASP range staff was presented the “Going the Extra Mile” award for their dedication and contributions. This year, ASP switched over from the guns of old (Smith & Wesson .38 revolver) to the more modern Glock 22.
With this transition in mind, a new method of teaching and mindset was needed to train all of the officers. Rumors began floating around that if you didn’t pass with the new guns, and learn new tactics, you “needed to find a new job.”
The first challenge for the instructors was to dispel all the rumors so when staff arrived at the range, they wouldn’t be prepared for failure. The range staff explained, demonstrated and imitated the process from the beginning to assure nervous staff that the goal was to help them succeed.
There was new nomenclature, new stances, new draws, manipulation, and much-needed change of handgun mindset for all the staff to learn. With most of the staff unfamiliar with this weapon system, a new approach was needed to ensure a safe and fun experience at the range to get all the staff qualified.
Range staff’s mission was to “run a safe, meaningful, and fun learning environment” so staff would lose their reticence and at the end of the day be confident with their skills.
Now the buzz around the prison is praise for the range staff on their patience and calmness. As of now, all of the staff have transitioned and no one lost their job.