How local deputies when to shoot ... and when not to

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 6:32 PM EDT
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BURKE COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Burke County deputies spent the day getting trained with new technology.

Tuesday was the first day the Burke County Sheriff's Office started using a shooting simulator. It helps deputies learn what to do in tricky situations.

At the sheriff’s agency, use-of-force training is something they work hard on. As protests around the country call for better use of force training for deputies, they re-qualify all of their deputies twice a year on use of force situations.

This time, they used a simulator that can play out more than 800 different scenarios.

"Being in a use of force situation is highly stressful, but we want our officers to have the confidence in their abilities to react to whatever use of force situation that they may be in," Sgt. Nathan Jones with the training and professions division said.

Every year, the state requires officers to train for at least 20 hours in four different categories. Burke County requires 60 hours from its deputies.

“We need to do this training more than once a year to keep our officers sharp,” Jones said. “We feel that confidence is the key. Confidence in making the decisions. Confidence in your ability to react to a situation.”

Each deputy runs through a handful of scenarios ranging from domestic dispute to illegal offroading to an active shooter.

Some of the situations are obvious. Others not as much.

“There are some situations where the person may pull out a wallet,” Jones said. “There are some situations where the person may pull out a staple gun, but our officers need to be able to quickly identify if there is a threat.”

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