The next time you see a Rochester Police Department patrol car take a closer look. On the side of every cruiser is an emblem of a badge, and the words "Serving with Pride." It's not just a motto, Officers like Dan Brochu and Luca Martini live it. It's a belief drilled into new recruits at the Police Academy to help them survive in the line of fire.
The education law enforcement recruits receive at the Public Safety Training Facility in Rochester is second to none. 96 hours on the gun range. Real life experience in the field. Six months in the classroom. Plus, physical fitness and team building exercises.
Rochester Police Officer Dan Brochu has returned to work as a Class Counselor, but is limited to half days after being shot. "In police work a lot of times you have to rely on a partner and you have be able to trust your partner. This is team building, trust building. when you know how your partner is trained you know how they're gonna react."
Brochu says this training saved his life, and his partner Luca Martini's life, when they were ambushed. "The night my partner and I were injured we both reacted the way we were trained."
Surveillance video from the apartment building shows a woman running out of the apartment the officers were called to, then Luca saw a man with a gun. "In DT, Defensive Tactics, they train us to keep our hands where we can use them. So obviously we're not walking around with our hands in our pockets. And when the gun was presented I just immediately took like a little step back and just swatted the gun away, the barrel of the gun away from my face."
Martini believes putting his hand up and taking the bullet saved his life. "Absolutely I feel that it did. Had I not done that I definitely wouldn't be here today."
The video of Brochu and Martini's response is a textbook example of how officer training kicks-in during an emergency. "Well I think it saved their lives" says RPD Sergeant Mike Jones. "You react. A lot of people would freeze. Officer Martini immediately, when he saw the gun in his face, slapped it away and went for cover even though he was being shot at. And he got shot multiple times while he was seeking cover but he was able to find that cover. Officer Brochu did the same thing. Sought cover, and once he got behind cover he drew his weapon to address the threat."
Officer Brochu describes what happened. "After I pushed the female away we were taught in defensive tactics to create distance and draw your weapon. If you look at the video you see me turn after I've pushed her, I begin to draw my weapon as I'm moving to cover. These are all things we try to ingrain in recruits. So that it becomes second nature."
"They did exactly what they were supposed to do" says RPD Officer Nicole Tamburello. "Brochu, as soon as you see him run to cover, he gets himself behind cover and even after being shot he gets back up and draws down. You know, gets his gun out, and has enough mental state in him, even after being shot, to still do his job."
RPD Officer Tim Waterman knows both cops well. "And if you look at the video real careful, Dan, after he took care of himself, got cover, he rolled out and just missed taking a shot at the suspect. And he also then crawled into a position where he could cover the stairway in case the suspect came back and re-engaged him."
Tamburello adds this about Martini. "And Luca, he gets through a door at the end of the hall that was closed. Which is amazing since he had been shot three times."
Officer Martini describes what it was like as he barricaded himself inside the apartment. "I was calm. I knew that I'd been shot. I knew I had a pretty bad injury to my right arm, I couldn't move it, couldn't really feel anything. At that point you know your training kicks in. You know, try to get to your gun. Well, I tried, they teach us to use our left hand to get to our gun if our right hand is disabled. I tried that. Obviously I was in worst case scenario. Both, both arms were kind of out of the equation. At the point I radioed for help. Again, worst case scenario, radio doesn't work. So I had a bad hand dealt to me."
Officer Tamburello says "They did exactly what they were trained to do. And if it had been two other cops that weren't as officer safety conscious I think the outcome would have been completely different."
At the Police Academy, recruit class 53 is being prepared to graduate. Their motto is "Second to none, together as one." Officers Brochu and Martini know this is the kind of training it takes to survive when you're in the line of fire.
We invite you to click over and watch our exclusive Web Extra to hear the Officers describe in their own words why training is so important.