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ASA Certification

 

Sniper Certification Program

The position of the police sniper is one of the most important and most difficult in law enforcement.  It encompasses high expectations, high liability, and immense individual responsibility.  Such a position should require the very highest in standards for selection, training and utilization.  Unfortunately, this is not the case. 

National standards for police snipers do not exist.  What constitutes a sniper varies greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  This variance leads to an inconsistency in selection processes, training of personnel, equipment, policies and most importantly, performance.  In this day and age of accountability, this is no longer acceptable.

The American Sniper Association has established a comprehensive process designed to set consistent standards between sniper programs and test standards of performance for individual snipers.  It will allow us to recognize professional capability in a uniform manner.

What are the benefits of sniper certification to individual snipers and their agencies?  Certification builds trust.  It demonstrates a commitment to have a professional sniper program in place to protect the lives of citizens and other law enforcement personnel.  It provides a benchmark for programs to achieve and maintain.  It will provide a stronger defense against lawsuits brought against your snipers in the performance of their duties.  It will provide greater accountability within the agency, as team leaders and administrators have clearly defined standards to expect and enforce.  It will tell everyone—the agency, administrators, the media, the courts, and the general public—that your sniper program is well-organized, well-trained, properly equipped, and recognized by their peers as being fully capable of doing their job in a consistent and professional manner.  Who among you would want to put anything less on the streets?

Your agency can apply for ASA Sniper Certification for your individual snipers by following these steps:

  • Send a formal request to the American Sniper Association, asking for the Sniper Certification Program Packet.  The request must be on department letterhead, and signed by the agency representative who will be administering the tests.  The packet will be mailed to the administrator and must remain in his control throughout the testing process.
  • The request letter should be accompanied by a check or money order for the application fee.  This fee helps cover the cost incurred by ASA for this testing and certification process, and is non-refundable.  This cost includes postage, printing, supplies, and records maintenance.  The fee schedule per agency is as follows:  1 – 4 snipers from one agency, $50; 4 – 8 snipers from one agency, $100; and 8 – 12 snipers from one agency, $125.
  • The request is to be mailed to: American Sniper Association, 6232 Apple Road, Sebring, FL 33875. 
  • No telephone or electronic requests will be accepted.

Be advised, this is not a simple certificate mill.  In order to receive certification, your agency will be held to a high, but attainable, standard.  Your snipers will have to demonstrate a reasonable level of technical proficiency and knowledge.  Your agency will have to provide documentation of a comprehensive sniper program, which is an integral part of a special operations team structure.  These standards were not arrived at arbitrarily, but have been established after intensive study of agencies nation-wide that have efficient and successful sniper programs.  Further input was gained from nationally recognized sniper trainers, administrators and legal experts.

This process is meant to be educational, as well as motivational.  It will show you how your sniper program ranks compared to others around the country.  It will point out your program’s strengths and weaknesses.  It will be an accurate gauge of your team’s operational readiness.  If your snipers or your agency can’t meet the standards, hopefully this will serve as an incentive to make the changes necessary to raise the level of your program as soon as possible.

If you think you are ready, apply.

Respectfully,

Derrick D. Bartlett

ASA President

 

American Sniper Association

Police Sniper Certification Standards and Requirements

Certification candidates must be members in good standing of ASA.  If not, a completed application for membership must accompany this packet.

Certification candidates must have successfully completed at least a 40-hour basic police sniper course, and must provide documentation of same in the form of a certificate or letter issued by the sniper school’s director.

Certification candidates must have at least one year of operational experience as a sniper at the time of application.

Certification candidates must present a written Standard Operating Policy specifically addressing the agency’s SWAT/Sniper team.  This policy must include guidelines dealing with selection of personnel, training standards, use of deadly force and qualification courses.  In the case of multiple snipers from a single agency applying for certification, a single copy of this course will suffice.

Certification candidates must provide a written copy of their agency’s current sniper qualification course.  In the case of multiple snipers from a single agency applying for certification, a single copy of this course will suffice.

Certification candidates must provide a copy of their agency’s SWAT/Sniper team training program, listing all proposed training topics to be covered in the next 12-month period.  In the case of multiple snipers from a single agency applying for certification, a single copy of this course will suffice.

Certification candidates must complete the Written Examination portion of the Certification Packet, as prescribed in the test instructions.  A minimum score of 85 points (out of a possible 100) is necessary to pass this section.

Certification candidates must shoot the Basic Marksmanship Skills portion of the qualification course as prescribed in the course instructions.  Candidates must attain a minimum score of 84 points (out of a possible 120) to pass this section.

Certification candidates must shoot the Stress Fire Skills portion of the qualification course as prescribed in the course instructions.  Candidates must attain a perfect score to pass this section.

Certification candidates must pass the Police Sniper Functional Fitness Test with an aggregate score of 375 points (out of a possible 500).

Certification candidates, or their agency representative, will have no more than 60 days to submit the completed Certification Packet to for grading and review by an ASA Sniper Certification Administrator.

Provided the certification candidate meets all of the standards and requirements listed here, he will be awarded ASA Certification, recognizing his individual operational readiness and the compliance of his agency.  He will receive a certificate, and he will be listed in the ASA Certified Police Sniper database.  This certification will remain in effect for three years from the issue date.

Recertification will require the submission of proof of continued ASA membership, proof of ongoing training, and continued service as a sniper.

 

 

ASA SNIPER SCHOOL ENDORSEMENT PROGRAM

Purpose

The stated mission of the American Sniper Association is to enhance the image, abilities, proficiency and safety of the professional tactical sniper through education, support and information sharing.  To that end, we feel it is our responsibility to ensure that schools purporting to provide training to police snipers are meeting their obligations, and giving those snipers the education, information and skills they will need on graduation day to complete their mission of protecting lives.

Justification

Agencies have limited time and money to allocate to sniper training.  Therefore, they need to make sure they are getting the best training available when they send personnel to a class.  Unfortunately, not all sniper schools are created equal.  Although billed as a sniper school (or some other similar title), many schools are not providing their students with the knowledge and skills necessary to function as a SWAT Team sniper upon graduation.  Some are simply trigger schools, spending all of their time on shooting, while ignoring other equally important aspects of sniping.  Some are teaching information which is outdated or just plain factually wrong.

The American Sniper Association sees the need to initiate a program which will encourage sniper schools to meet unified standards for course content.  The goal is to be able to assure a student attending any sniper school endorsed by ASA will receive an education which will comply with industry standards, will be current and complete in content, and will be of sufficient length to provide both classroom and field training experience in fundamental aspects of sniper skills. 

Criteria

The endorsement program only pertains to Basic Police Sniper Certification courses, or their equivalent.  Advanced, intermediate, in-service or special application courses are not eligible for endorsement at this time.

The Basic Police Sniper course can only be open to current law enforcement, corrections and military personnel.  No course open to civilian students will be eligible.

The class must be a minimum of 40 total hours.

The course instructors must be current or retired law enforcement or military personnel, with operational sniper experience.

Standards

To be eligible for endorsement, the candidate course must meet or exceed the following minimum standards of content:

  1. Comprehensive classroom instruction in Cover, Concealment, Covert Individual Movement, Hide Selection, Hide Construction, Hide Management, Observation and Reporting, Ballistics (Internal, External and Terminal), Range Safety, Marksmanship Fundamentals,  Use of Force Legal Issues and Mental Preparation.  (Terminal Ballistics must include teaching Cranial Vault as the primary targeting area.)
  1. Sufficient hands-on and field training hours to cover Fieldcraft Skills – Cover, Concealment, Covert Individual Movement, Hide Selection, Hide Construction, Observation and Reporting.  (“Sufficient” is a subjective standard.  However, in this context, it is intended to mean “Enough hours of instruction, demonstration and practice to learn the skill in question.”)
  1. Live-fire range training hours to provide sufficient instruction and practice in Basic Marksmanship Fundamentals, Position Shooting (Standing, Sitting and Kneeling, in addition to Prone), variations of prone shooting, including supported and unsupported, from a variety of distances (0 – 200 yards, if facilities allow).  Range training must include instruction and practice of Cover Safe.
  1. All instruction and information disseminated must be in agreement with current published ASA positions, policies and best practices.
  1. A written examination addressing material covered during the class.
  1. A standardized live-fire qualification course  (To be considered standardized, the qualification course must incorporate stress, time limits, clearly defined or explained anatomy-based scoring areas, and a known standard passing score.)

Method

Schools seeking endorsement can provide proof of the course content compliance one of two ways.

  • The candidate school can allow an ASA Representative to attend the class under consideration.  The representative can either attend and participate as a student, or choose to simply audit the class as a silent observer.  The representative must be afforded full access to all class lectures, activities and printed course materials.
  • The candidate school can submit a comprehensive course information packet for evaluation by ASA staff.  This packet must include a detailed course outline, the qualification course, any and all student manuals, handouts and the written exam.

Materials will be checked for accuracy, as well as adherence to current published ASA industry standards.

Verification

The course materials will be submitted to the American Sniper Association for examination.  If a staff auditor was involved, he will prepare a detailed after action report.  If the course content meets or exceeds all of the above listed standards, ASA will issue a Letter of Endorsement to the school.  The candidate school will be entered into the database of ASA endorsed schools.  This information will be made available to any agency contacting the ASA for school referrals.

ASA reserves the right to perform periodic spot checks on endorsed schools to ensure continued compliance with standards.

Benefits

Any sniper school which has successfully completed the Endorsement Program will be listed in the American Sniper Association’s database as such.  When agencies contact ASA looking for reputable schools to which they should send their personnel, they will be referred to those carrying a current ASA Endorsement.  Schools awarded an endorsement will be allowed and encouraged to display the ASA Endorsed logo on their website, promotional and training materials.  ASA will use its information network to further promote endorsed schools.

Process

The director of a sniper school wishing to participate in the ASA Sniper School Endorsement Program should contact us directly at 863-385-7835, or info@americansniper.org, and arrange to initiate the evaluation process.  There is no fee for this program.

Disclaimer

The American Sniper Association does not run a sniper school, and has no intention to incorporate any of the materials submitted to build a program in the future.  ASA recognizes the importance of proprietary materials, and will protect any and all copyrights for intellectual properties.  ASA will not reproduce or distribute any of the submitted materials in any form to any third party, without the expressed written permission of the submitting school.