INSTRUCTOR BIO

"Tom retired from LAPD with over 31 years of service. In 2011, he moved to Northern Colorado.  Since moving there, Tom was repeatedly encouraged and supported by close friends and colleagues to begin his own firearms training business."

SGT. THOMAS A. BURRIS

LAPD, RETIRED

 

Tom was born and raised in the Los Angeles area. During high school he decided on a career in law enforcement. Attending Rio Hondo College, in Whittier, CA, Tom received an AA in Administration of Justice. During this time he was hired as a Police Student Worker by the Los Angeles Police Department. This position required an employee to be a full-time college student and work 20-hour weeks. Tom worked at several divisions learning the inner workings of the LAPD.

On March 5, 1979 Tom started the LAPD Academy to begin a 24-weeks of recruit training. Upon graduation he was honored as the “#1 Shooter” in his class. A year was spent on probation working patrol in Southeast Area. After the usual 9-month post-probation transfer rotation into Communications Division, Tom was transferred to Central Area (downtown) and worked numerous patrol assignments. For seven years, he worked uniformed foot beat details on L.A.‘s infamous Skid Row area. Tom says those foot beat years were the best “true police work” years of his career.

An appointment in 1982 as a Field Training Officer (FTO), gave Tom the opportunity to personally train new academy graduates in the practical, finer points of patrol operations. For six years Tom was a member of LAPD’s Pistol Team, earning several competition awards, including medals at the annual Police Olympics.

Early is his career Tom turned his interest to the area of firearms and tactics training. Attending various training institutions such as: Lethal Force Institute; Defense Training International; Gunsite; International Tactical Training Seminars (ITTS); and HK Training, to name a few. Tom took the ‘best practices‘ from what was learned, and instituted those techniques and tactics that were useful to himself and his fellow officers.

His law enforcement duties took Tom to numerous shooting scenes involving law enforcement officers and civilians in self-defense situations. Tom was able to de-brief well over one hundred individuals involved in these self-defense situations. In his travels, Tom has interviewed numerous individuals across the United States, involved in defensive shooting situations (civilian, law enforcement, and military).

Tom is a graduate of LAPD’s Handgun Instructor Training School (HITS), and the Shotgun Instructor Training School (SITS). He was a graduate of the first Urban Police Rifle (UPR) Cadre class. And was a member of the Tactical Shotgun (slug) Cadre. Tom instructed LAPD’s less-lethal Bean-Bag shotgun program, the 45 ACP pistol transition program, the Glock pistol transition program, and the Remington 870 shotgun transition Throughout his career Tom planned and conducted hundreds of hours of divisional level shooting and tactical training for patrol and detective personnel. And he also conducted training for numerous specialized units as well.

In 1999, Tom was promoted to sergeant working as a patrol supervisor in Pacific and Hollenbeck Areas.  He continued his training of Department personnel.  In his position, Tom responded to and participated in the investigation and control of several officer-involved-shooting (OIS) scenes.  This allowed practical experience in the investigation of lethal force incidents.   
 
Tom has been an Affiliate-Instructor for Defense Training International (DTI) for 25 years.  He has worked with John Farnam (DTI president) throughout those years, and honed his skills as a firearms instructor.  This experience has allowed Tom to train hundreds of civilian, law enforcement, and military students, outside of his LAPD duties.

During his LAPD career, Tom was one of thousands of LAPD personnel who participated in such events as the: 1984 Olympics, 1987 Pope visit, 1992 L.A. Riots, and the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

In July 2010, Tom retired from LAPD with over 31 years of service. In 2011, he moved to Northern Colorado. Since moving here, Tom has been encouraged and supported by close friends and colleagues to begin his own firearms training business.

Personal Firearms Instruction (PFI), is the result of his endeavors!

AFFILIATIONS & MEMBERSHIPS

 

    • Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors (ADSI)

    • International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI)

    • National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA)

    • Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO)

    • National Rifle Association (NRA)
      Endowment Member, Certified Instructor #16961841