Coast Guard – To use, or not to use lethal force

BALTIMORE - Petty Officer 2nd Class Miguel Santoyo, a tactical coxswain at Coast Guard Station Washington, D.C., takes cover during a judgmental pistol course in the station's training room at 3:30 p.m., Feb. 8, 2011. During the course, members must take cover to protect themselves during a hostile training situation and make the determination to use deadly force when their life is threatened. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandyn Hill.

Petty Officer Miguel Santoyo takes cover during a judgmental pistol course. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Brandyn Hill

BALTIMORE – Members at Coast Guard Station Washington, D.C., conducted a judgmental pistol course in the station’s training room Tuesday.

The course tests a member’s ability to react in hostile situations where the member must decide whether or not they should use their weapon as they face armed personnel during simulated vessel boardings.

Members were given four training scenarios where they were evaluated for their ability to comprehend information given before the scenario, monitor a hostile situation as it progresses and determine if or when a person’s life is threatened, enabling the use of lethal force. Each scenario results in a pass or fail evaluation in which the member must pass all scenarios to complete the course.

The member must have completed all boarding team member personnel qualification standards and the Coast Guard’s use of force training prior to being eligible to take the judgmental pistol course. The judgmental pistol course is a prerequisite course a member must complete to earn boarding team member and boarding officer qualifications, enabling the member to carry a weapon in the line of duty.

Qualified boarding team members and boarding officers must renew their judgmental pistol course semi-annually to maintain their qualification and ability to carry a weapon.

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