Police-involved shootings have made headlines across the nation, and sparked a lot of controversy about when the use of force is necessary. It’s something that police departments train for, and today Fox 25-48’s Erin O’Brien had a first-hand look at what it’s like to be in that situation.
It’s a split second decision that could have big consequences.
“You think you’re just going to a traffic stop and all of a sudden it changes in a matter of two seconds.”
The Holmen Police Department trains for these “shoot, or don’t shoot” situations regularly. But today they gave me the chance to see what their training is like.
First, I got a crash course on the use of force.
Then, I put on a protective vest and took a few practice shots with a fake gun.
The first scenario was a simple traffic stop, pulling over a man who was speeding.
Stop what you’re doing, put the gun down, put the gun down.
“I’m going to kill you.”
But things escalated quickly.
Put the gun down right now
He got out of the car really quickly, I wasn’t even to the car yet, pulled out a gun right away.
The Holmen Police Department is using what’s called “simunition” in these practice guns. It does hurt to be hit by them a little bit but it certainly makes the drills more realistic.
I got hit a few times during the scenarios.
It hurt a little bit, it’s a little red.
The next test had me checking on a man behaving suspiciously near a car — a suspected theft in action.
Stop right there sir, stop right there sir,
“I’ll call a tow truck and do it myself.”
No shots fired. But it could have ended differently.
“He angrily got his cell phone out and you didn’t know if that was a gun.”
And finally, a suicide attempt.
Ma’am, you need to put the gun down, ma’am please put the gown down.
You need to put the gun down.
“There’s really no clear-cut answer on how to answer that.”
“You just have to obviously be well trained, you have to be educated, watch different scenarios that are out there and be prepared and know what you’re going to do before it happens.”
Holmen police say it’s not easy. But with enough practice they can make those decisions with confidence.
In Holmen, Erin O’Brien, Fox 25/48 News at Nine.