Extensive police training pays off when BA Police face a teen pointing a gun

Wednesday, April 17th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

This week Broken Arrow Police had to deal with a 14-year-old girl with a gun. It just goes to show the number of dangerous situations police face.

Officers train for hours on end. But as News on Six reporter Steve Berg explains, sometimes it comes down to instincts and fate. Officers fire hundreds of rounds on the range. But on Monday, when a 14-year-old middle school girl pulled a gun on a Broken Arrow police officer, it was the bullet not fired that made the difference.

Lt Kevin Marks, Broken Arrow Police Dept: "If we were to create a worst-case scenario for an officer to be put in, the situation two days ago would have ranked right up there." A firearm training simulator can present officers with dozens even hundreds of realistic scenarios. But as far as what happened Monday. "The officer was dealt a set of factors that we probably couldn't recreate if we tried. Having to make the decision to take a young child's life, I can't think of a decision that would be more difficult."

But officers know every bullet can be deadly. Captain Todd Wuestewald, Broken Arrow Police, "It doesn't matter if they're 14 years old or 44, they can pull the trigger just as easily as anybody else." Training Captain Todd Wuestwald says technically, an officer is supposed to approach every person with a gun the same way, but it's obvioulsy different with a 14 year old girl. "They did expose themselves to undue risk in order to avoid taking a life. So it's a very commendable action on their part."

When all the training is said and done, sometimes the last factor is luck. "You're hoping the Lord is with you on that particular day."

The Broken Arrow girl ran away from school after she was sent to the principal's office. She pulled the gun when police and a school official were chasing her.

At last report, police still don't where she got the gun. They are going to continue to look into that.