Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 26, 2007

FALLS POLICE: Taking survival training to the Bank

Falls cops get the chance to train for the day they hope never comes

Bank Miller knows a bit about what it takes to survive on the streets.

“I’ve been involved in shootings,” he says as he takes a break on the Niagara Falls Police Department’s firearms range.

More than that, he won’t say. A longtime federal Drug Enforcement Administration agent, and the agency’s former chief firearms instructor, Miller has been in situations he can’t recount to a reporter.

However, retired now from active law enforcement work, Miller’s new mission in life is keeping cops alive on the streets. He does that as the director of training for Action Target, one of the largest weapons training and supply companies in the world.

“We would hope that officers are never involved in shootings,” Miller said, “but if they are, they can be prepared (to survive).”

Miller was in the Falls to attend the retirement party of Falls Range Officer Bobby Gee. They have been friends since they met while Gee was taking one of Miller’s training courses.

As important as being a good shot is to staying alive, Miller begins his training by concentrating on an officer’s mindset. He says even spirituality and religion play a role in being prepared to defend yourself.

“You know we are brought up (religiously) to value every human life,” Miller said. “And now we put you (a police officer) on a job where you may one day have to take a one, that’s not always easy (to reconcile).”

From his days in the DEA, Miller says he began to develop a sense of what it takes to survive a cop’s nightmare.

“We would always debrief agents who were involved in shootings, but it’s hard, if you haven’t been in a shooting, to explain the mindset you need to survive,” Miller said. “None of us know for sure how we’re going to do under the stress of a shooting.”

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