Broken Arrow Police Recruits Train On Ethics, Firearms

Thursday, April 16th 2015, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Police work can be life or death in a matter of moments; that's why officers go through months of training before ever hitting the streets.

Broken Arrow police said they spend hundreds of hours training so that in those high-stress moments the right reaction kicks in.

More than 150 shots were fired in Broken Arrow Wednesday; each bullet at the hands of the officers-in-training.

It's week seven of Broken Arrow's 25-week police academy, and Wednesday was the first time cadets touched a firearm.

Before they picked up the weapons, the main topic at the training camp was ethics.

They discussed real-life police shootings, like the one in South Carolina that killed Walter Scott.

When teaching lethal versus non-lethal force, Sergeant Thomas Cooper said officers must determine if a suspect is armed and a threat to themselves or the public.

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"You know, unfortunately, out on the street you can't play through every scenario. Each one's different. But it's really that decision-making process that we emphasize, and it comes down to that individual officer," he said.

The decision-making process starts at training camp. The trainees spend 100 hours with firearms, but also train with Tasers and pepper spray.

Cooper said it's easy to play quarterback when watching video of a shooting, but it's the officer's training that forms a split-second reaction in the field.

"If it's a stressful situation you're going to go back to what you learned on the range,” he said. “That mind frame of what's your decision going to be, make sure it's a sound decision and then, ultimately, act on it."

Officers said it's difficult recruiting with everything in the news, but they have high hopes for the nine new trainees, and hope to instill in them when it's right to fire and when it's not right to shoot.

When asked when officers should shoot and when they shouldn't, Cooper said it can vary and even depend on a suspect's mental state.

He said officers must weigh whether a suspect is armed and how big of a threat they are.

The Broken Arrow Police Department is still hiring and accepting applications through July. If you're interested you can learn more online.