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6/22/2022 General Assembly passes legislation requiring corrections officers to qualify with firearms annually
STATE HOUSE –— The General Assembly today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Thomas E. Noret (D-Dist. 25, Coventry, West Warwick) and Sen. John Burke (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick) that would require annual weapons qualifications for correctional officers.

 “Proficiency in firearms is very important, especially when we’re discussing the use of deadly force,” said Representative Noret, who served for 20 years as a Coventry police officer. “We expect excellence and professionalism from all law enforcement officers; that means we should provide them with the training necessary to carry out their duties. This legislation would ensure that our correctional officers have undertaken the necessary training to use their weapons competently.”

The bill (2022-H 7705A, 2022-S 2811A) would require correctional officers to qualify annually with the pistol or revolver they carry rather than the previous requirement of once every two years.

“Weapons training may be the single most important component of ensuring public safety when it comes to law enforcement officers or anyone authorized by the state to carry a weapon,” said Senator Burke. “This will fix our statute by mandating the same annual qualifications of correctional officers that we require of other law enforcement officials.”

The bill has the support of Patricia A. Coyne-Fague, director of the Department of Corrections, who told the House Judiciary Committee that the legislation would put Rhode Island in line with neighboring Massachusetts and Connecticut, which both require annual recertification from their correctional officers.

The measure now moves to the governor’s office.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903