GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - Pitt county residents got some hands-on firearm training from Pitt County Sheriff's deputies.
It's called Citizens Academy, and it's aimed at teaching ordinary people the ways of the law. Firearm safety and proficiency was the lesson slated for Monday's class.
Under the supervision of Pitt County Sheriff's officials, citizens tried their hand at shooting. For many of them, it was the first time handling a firearm. "Any time you got someone who's got a gun for the first time in their hands, it makes you a little nervous," said Sheriff Neil Elks. "But they really did a good job. They listened to our instructors very well this morning."
For some, the training is simply for fun. Others, however, have real-life reasons for participating. "If somebody comes into my house I'm not going to wait and ask them are you a good guy or a bad guy," said Nancy Niemi, of Greenville. "I'm going to shoot."
Even for self-proclaimed semi-experienced shooters, like Greenville's Robert Joyner, the training is valuable. Not only for their protection, but the protection of those around them. "You can never be too safe. You don't point at anything you don't intend to shoot," said Joyner. "I was taught to hunt when I was a kid, which kids are not taught today. So they don't know anything about gun safety."
Overall, it seems the training was a success, adding to the comradery already shared between the Sheriff's Office and Citizens Academy members. "They're just so interested in what we do for a living and that is very encouraging to me. Inspires me to come out here and do this more," said Sheriff Elks.
Citizens Academy members will continue their training. Up next, virtual reality similar to an exercise shown in a story aired on Newschannel12 on July 16th, followed by processing a crime scene and responding to real-life situations in a simulated exercise.
Those interested in participating in Citizens Academy should contact the Pitt County Sheriff's Office.