Dick Fairburn has a B.S. in Law Enforcement Administration from Western Illinois University and was the Valedictorian of his recruit class at the Illinois State Police Academy. His career as a firearms instructor began in 1978, with the NRA Police Firearms Instructor course at the Illinois Police Training Institute and continued with training from Gunsite Ranch, Thunder Ranch and numerous Police in-service courses. His career as a researcher began with a nationwide survey of police firearms training conducted as an independent study at Western Illinois University in 1982. The 1982 study became Dick’s first published work as a two-part article in the Police Marksman magazine. Subsequently, Mr. Fairburn has managed ground-breaking research programs exploring the Stopping Power of police handguns, the training effectiveness of different handgun trigger systems and a comparison of first-generation Active Shooter Response training to historical Active Shooter incidents that eventually led to expanded, second-generation training programs such as the NTOA’s Multi-Assault Counter-Terrorism Actions Capabilities (MACTAC) class.
In 1998, Dick’s reputation led to the rare opportunity to transition a major US police agency to new sidearms and an innovative, gunfight-based training program. That agency has seen its “hit rate” during gunfights improve from 11 percent to 62 percent. The firearms training program was documented in his book Building a Better Gunfighter.
Dick has been writing for police publications since 1983 primarily on firearms-related topics. His print articles have appeared in Police Marksman, SWAT, POLICE, Law and Order, Guns & Ammo, Handloader and Western Horseman magazines. In the modern era of the world-wide web, Dick’s writings have been posted on PoliceOne.com and Guns & Patriots. He continues to serve as the Law Enforcement Firearms columnist for PoliceOne.com. In addition to more than 300 published feature articles, Mr. Fairburn has published two firearms training books, Police Rifles in 1994 and the above mentioned Building a Better Gunfighter in 2010.
Dick is currently serving as the Public Safety Director in a Central Illinois community, overseeing the police and fire departments, as well as the 911 center.