Use of Force Training
It seems that almost every time you turn on the news, listen to the radio, or even scroll through your social media feeds, there is yet another huge debate over an officer-involved shooting death. Officers are under more scrutiny than ever these days, and lawsuits are on the rise. Because of this, departments are turning away from firearms training simulators and focusing on use of force training and force options training to help better prepare their officers for things they may encounter in the field.
Shooting Deaths & the Mentally Ill
When officers put on their uniforms and go out into the field, they never know what they will encounter. To many officers, anything out of the ordinary presents an immediate danger, and this can lead to unjustified injuries and shooting deaths. In fact, some claim there is a crisis in Ontario, Canada; some 65 mentally-ill people have died during their interactions with officers in Ontario alone since 1978. Because of this, the families of the deceased, the police departments, and even the officers themselves agree that more use of force training is urgent even with such a low yearly incident rate.
A Police Officer’s Basic Training
Police officers in both the US and Canada receive basic training through a Police Academy before they put on their badges and their firearms. This training covers only the basics, though, and rarely does it include in-depth de-escalation or crisis intervention techniques, which appear to be seriously lacking. Unfortunately, it is lack of use of force training that leads to most unwarranted deaths. The good news is that increasing the amount and type of training available to officers could save lives.
Are the Mentally Ill Truly Dangerous?
This is the biggest question when it comes to the use of force against someone who is mentally ill. Is it objectively reasonable? For most police officers who have never received any kind of formal training on how to de-escalate situations or even intervene when someone with a mental illness is obviously having a crisis, the answer remains unclear. Of course, if someone who is mentally ill brandishes or fires a weapon, then use of force may be necessary. However, many people killed during their interactions with police officers were completely unarmed.
How Use of Force Training Can Reduce Shooting Deaths
Use of force training is a wonderful tool for teaching officers how to de-escalate situations and intervene when someone is clearly in the midst of a crisis. VirTra’s V-300 simulated training can provide officers with the opportunity to interact with such people in a virtual world. Officers may be given the opportunity to interact with armed and unarmed subjects. What’s more, instead of just the traditional debriefing, officers also have the ability to see how their actions play out right in front of them on the 300-degree screen.
The rise in shooting deaths has become a media sensation, and people around the globe tend to get involved in one debate after another over whether use of force was justified in certain situations. Fortunately, with use of force training, officers can better prepare themselves for a variety of situations they might encounter and make better decisions on the fly.