There was a lot of gunfire in Lockhart Thursday because of a training exercise for Central Texas law enforcement officers.
Hex Tactical Resources helps officers prepare for an ambush with patrol vehicle close quarters battle training. Hex trainers said one second is sometimes all an officer has to decide how to react to an active shooter.
"If the threat has presented itself at the hood of your car then there's no point in getting out of your car if there's danger now," said Hex Tactical Resources instructor Mike Pendley.
Last week a New Jersey police officer was ambushed and shot while still in his patrol vehicle. Hex Tactical Resources instructors are trying to prevent another incident like that from happening again.
"Knowing that an officer is going to be responding from in his vehicle he needs to be able to fight from his vehicle," said Pendley.
Pendley said many officers hesitate to shoot through the windshield of their patrol vehicle during an active shooter situation and that could mean the difference between life and death. That's why in the training course officers are taught to shoot through windows, doors, windshields and headrests.
"We want to get officers where they're more in their environment. An officer spends 90 percent of their day in and around their vehicle. It's their office," said Pendley.
Thursday, Central Texas officers learned how to use their patrol vehicles as cover while firing a weapon and trying to ignore nearby stressors. Officers practiced with several different weapons at multiple angles. Hex instructors said this kind of field training prepares them for what they could encounter on the job.
"Then when it presents itself in the real world they already have some training to revert back to. Whereas if all they've ever done is square up on a range and run a very sanitary, very static range then they're not going to be prepared for the chaos of a gunfight," said Pendley.
"Most of our gunfights won't be standing in front of the target. It's going to be moving and shooting and trying to find cover," said Sgt. Daniel Williams of the Lockhart Police Department.
Officers who attended the course said it was fun, but not easy.
"Keep calm, take cover, make sure you have control of your own emotions. Obviously everything is going to be escalated, so just stay calm and remember your basics," said Williams.
There is a second class for a different group of officers Wednesday and Thursday in Lockhart.
Hex Tactical Resources said there are still openings in that class and officers who want to can sign up at hextacticalresources.com.