Local and regional law enforcement officers will don costumes and mount their bikes to raise money for the association formed in May of last year by Bartow County lawmen. According to the bylaws, the organization was formed mostly by high-ranking Bartow County Sheriff's Office officials to continuously maintain and upgrade the firearms training of law enforcement personnel.
Currently with about 35 members representing six to seven area law enforcement agencies, LEO-FIA, a nonprofit, seeks to become a state and regional firearms instructor organization to address universal problems encountered by professionals engaged in the field of firearms instruction.
"We share information. We share different training methods and different information, how to work with, for example, problem shooters -- if you have an officer who is just starting out, you're getting him ready to go to mandated training and you're getting him prepared for firearms and he has a tendency to do this or do that and he doesn't get the fundamentals," BCSO Lt. Jeff Lawler said. "Trying to get the fundamentals across to him would be ... like me telling you how to swing a [tennis] racket and someone else telling you the same thing in a different way."
In addition to training new officers, the association is dedicated to "encouraging the development and operation of training programs to firearms instructors among law enforcement, security, criminal justice and investigative agencies and organizations; encouraging the development, improvement and conduct of those programs to meet those needs; and conducting an annual training conference to provide members with education in the latest techniques and technologies available to law enforcement firearms instructors," according to its bylaws.
Lawler said the LEO-FIA formed to provide education and training for law enforcement agencies with low training budgets.
"What I'm looking to get out of this organization is more hands on training for the instructors," he said. "A lot of the training we go to is a lot of classroom and not as much hands on and what I'm expecting is more hands on training."
Money raised in the ride set to leave at 10 a.m. will be used to train and build membership -- founders of the association and organizers of the event are encouraging officers with regional law enforcement agencies to sign on as members.
The general public is invited to participate in the ride, which will begin at BCSO at 104 Zena Drive in Cartersville and continue to Carter's Lake, where lunch will be served. The cost is $25 per bike and $10 per passenger. Registration begins at 9 a.m. at BCSO and participants can pre-register by Oct. 23.
Door prizes will be given, and participants will take part in Best Individual and Best Couple costume contests.
For more information, contact Lawler or Capt. Mike Shinall at 770-382-5050.