What are officers taught about using deadly force?
I-TEAM visits FLETC to get answers after police-involved shooting in Kingsland
GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. – The police-involved shooting in Kingsland has raised questions about how officers are trained to deal with real-life situations and what they’re taught about using deadly force.
To get answers, the I-TEAM went to the nation's largest Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, or FLETC, where local law enforcement officers are also trained. It's located in Glynn County, Georgia.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provided a glimpse of the training it gives to 70,000 local, state and federal law enforcement officers every year.
"When you see a student walk across that stage and graduate with a badge and a gun, you know they have been trained by the best in the business," said FLETC Deputy Director William Fallon.
The I-TEAM asked the veteran instructors about the use of force and how they train officers.
"We want them to be used to situations like this. I want them to be able to handle themselves in situations like this," said FLETC Division of Physical Techniques Chief Kelly Dixon. "We don’t want them to underreact and we don’t want them to overreact."
Students train for hours on gun ranges, both real ranges and digital ones. They’re taught when to shoot and when not to shoot. During a simulation, the I-TEAM was told to shoot only when the target was squared up, presumably armed.
The FLETC in Glynn County partners with 96 different agencies. But they all have a common goal: to make sure officers conduct themselves properly.
In Georgia, police officers are required to take 20 hours of training every year. They’re taught use of force and de-escalation.
Police interactions can be dangerous for both the officers and the public. That's why trainers try to prepare students for that stress with real-world scenarios so they have the best chance to make the appropriate decision.
"Even what people would consider a casual stop (is) still somewhat stressful for everyone involved -- the person being stopped or the officer involved," Dixon said.
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