COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - With several Colorado officers and deputies already killed in shootouts this year, we wanted to know: how do law enforcement officers prepare for the situation they hope to never be in?
Realistically, officers train for shooting situations but do not frequently have to use force or deadly force in their everyday operations.
However, officers have to be ready to use force if they are put in a situation where they find themselves or someone else in danger. It is a calculated decision, and once that decision is made, the focus shifts to how force should be used to stop the threat as quickly as possible.
When it comes to pre-service training, officers are typically given about 80 hours of firearms training. This kind of training, and the timeframe for it, tends to be fairly uniform in Colorado and the U.S.
Each recruit must pass an in-depth marksmanship test, shooting under time restrictions from different distances while moving.
After the initial training and certification, training requirements are then regulated by each department. That means training can look very different depending on what the agency requires.
Most agencies, however, use a combination of scenario or decision-based training, and marksmanship.
The scenario training can be done on a range or simulator, where officers are put in positions where they have to decide whether or not to use force.
The marksmanship it to make sure that if force is used, officers do so accurately, and effectively.
Watch KRDO Tuesday for part two of our investigation, in which we take a look at the numbers to see the training's effectiveness.