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Drills help teach officers when to shoot

Holmen police practice with shoot, no-shoot scenarios

Drills help teach officers when to shoot

HOLMEN, Wis. - For those in law enforcement, when it's a matter of life or death it's important to know when to pull the trigger.

In a number of cases nationwide, different police officers have come under scrutiny for shooting civilians on the job. The Village of Holmen's police chief, Shane Collins, said his officers haven't had to use that kind of force yet this year, and he hopes it will never come to that.

However, he wants his officers to be prepared for all kinds of situations out in the field and have the knowledge and training to make the right call. He invited News 8 in to participate in the same kind of training sessions Holmen officers do to practice emergency response.

There were three training scenarios for media to participate in Tuesday: a man threatening the life of an officer after being pulled over, an angry man trying to get into his car but thought to be breaking in, and a suicidal woman during a domestic disturbance call. In each case, the person role-playing as the officer had to decide how best to handle the situation.

Collins said Holmen police officers go through hundreds of hours of emergency response training using similar drills.

"Our biggest goal is to make sure these officers go home at the end of their shift," Spears said. "We want to make sure their actions are ethical legal, but also effective."

The training helps them commit to memory a number of things when deciding whether or not to shoot.

"We went through weapon, intent and delivery system. Those are the three criteria we need to use deadly force," Spears said. "We need to make sure that person's threat is imminent and going to cause great bodily harm to us or someone else."

Often times police don't know what they're walking into.

"We're going through what-if scenarios every day," Collins said. "Every call we're going on we're thinking possibly this could turn out bad."

Police said situations move quickly, so knowing when to use deadly force has to be second nature. In that split second, it takes someone with a lot of training to be able to make the right call.

To add both transparency and accountability to situations like this, Collins said the Holmen Police Department is working to make sure officers have their body cameras recording for every interaction with the public.

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