Livingston County Sheriff Bobby Davidson showed me a picture of him at a recent training session. He was holding a carbine and standing with Chief Ray O'Neil of the Marion, Kentucky Police Department and Dale Willingham, the instructor and owner of Jackson Knob Firearms Training Center in Crittenden County.
Sheriff Davidson also showed me his certificate for passing Basic Tactical Carbine Training from Jackson Knob. Willingham has been a Chicago Police Officer for the last twenty-five years and is currently assigned to the S.W.A.T. Team.
“I am getting ready to retire in February of 2014 from the Chicago Police Department and we have had property in Crittenden County for more than twenty years. About six years ago I purchased an additional 60 acres, built a home and last year I decided to open a Firearms Training Facility and built a 100-yard firing range. I have been involved in the Departments Heavy Weapons and S.W.A.T. since 1991 and was one of the teams primary snipers,” explained Willingham. “Through my job I have been trained and certified on Tactical Pistol, Carbine, Fully Automatic Weapons, Long Range Rifle (sniper), Shotgun and Less Lethal. I also hold Instructor Certifications in Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun and I'm also an NRA Range Safety Officer.”
Sheriff Davidson is thrilled to have someone this qualified in our backyard. “I think Dale has a desire to make our local law enforcement better. We are looking forward to him providing additional training to members of the Livingston County Sheriff's Office,” shared Davidson.
Willingham is an NRA Certified Pistol and Rifle Instructor and is a Certified Instructor at The Hollow Training Center located in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, owned and operated by Petros “Pete” Milionis. This site, along with Jackson Knob are used as alternate training locations. “Right now we are geared toward law enforcement and we plan to offer civilian courses in the Spring 2014. We have been teaching basic tactical carbine to local Law Enforcement Officers, so they are completely familiar with it and when is the proper time to use it in responding to a serious call,” added Willingham.
Crittenden County Sheriff Wayne Agent and two Deputies as well as Marion Police Chief Ray O’Neil have also participated in training at Jackson Knob Firearms Center and like Davidson plan to send additional members of their departments for additional training. “With the carbine certification we teach safety as well as what the gun can and can’t do and qualify each officer on this gun, to better prepare them for any type of situation. We are also planning additional training and certification for pistol and shotgun as well,” he added.
Due to Willingham’s affiliation with other instructors and facilities, there is a Three Day Active Shooter exercise planed in early November 2013, with the Livingston and Crittenden County Sheriff's Department along with the City of Marion Police Department. This exercise will teach officers how to respond to a mass school or work place shooting. Jackson Knob will also be hosting a Three Day Tactical Shotgun Course in early December 2013, taught by Retired Seal Command Master Chief Hershel Davis.
Once Willingham retires from the Chicago Police Department, he will be moving to Marion and his business will expand more. “With all my training, my heart is in helping prepare law enforcement, so I am working with the officers in the county I will be living in and other nearby counties, so they can be better prepared to handle most any call they receive,” commented Willingham.
“I have known Wayne, Ray and Bobby for many years and they came out and used the new range and took classes from me recently. I want to share the knowledge and experience that I've learned throughout my career, to help make the officers in this area ready to safely handle any calls.
Jackson Knob Firearms Training Center LLC also maintains a Federal Firearms License and Willingham is also a Certified Glock Armory. The Training Facility is located in rural Crittenden County a few miles from Marion, Kentucky. You can contact Officer Dale Willingham atJacksonknob@gmail.com or 773-619-8750.