GREENSBORO, N.C. — The use of deadly force is a controversial topic for police officers nationwide. Greensboro police use their own cases and other agencies to train officers on how to react and what is considered reasonable.
According to state law, in the use of force for an arrest “a law-enforcement officer is justified in using force upon another person when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it necessary.”
Retired Sgt. Paul Pell is a firearms instructor for the Greensboro Police Department and said that there must be imminent danger when deciding what is reasonable or not.
Force can be mere prescience of an officer, voice, hand contact, pepper spray, batons, tasers, canines or a firearm.
Police recruits go through countless hours of training on force; 80 hours alone on firearms.
Deputy Chief Wayne Scott said that officers go through annual deadly force training complete with firearm testing.
Scott said officers use their hours of training to determine what is reasonable in their everyday patrol or call.
“We try to train our officers to quickly evaluate those things and make the best decision they can, given the circumstances,” Scott said. “We review most everything we have on body cams now so we have that opportunity to see what our officers are doing. We regularly audit our officers; we look at all of our uses of force and if we think that we need to improve a policy we do so.”
Greensboro police put members of the media trough a simulated test using the Firearm Training System or FATS.
In it, participants had to decide level of force to use on a wide screen interactive video using a gun that shoots a red laser.
Of the 75 force events in 2014 only one time did an officer discharge a firearm on a person.