As the number of officer involved shootings spike, the public as - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

As the number of officer involved shootings spike, the public asks how officers are trained to use deadly force

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How Do Officers Know When to Use Deadly Force? How Do Officers Know When to Use Deadly Force?
Over the past two months, there have been three officer involved fatal shootings in the area. We're working for you to find out how officers are trained to know when to use deadly force. 

Lt. Larkin with the Mt. Hope Police department helped us learn more about the training officers undergo when it comes to firing weapons. Larkin explained that officers all municipal officers and West Virginia State Troopers are required to complete firearm qualifications, which includes classroom training on how to operate a gun safely, a proficiency course in firing a weapon completed at a gun range and 40 hours of firearm instruction.

A separate module - Officer Survivability Training or OST - provides real life situations that teaches officers how and when to fire a weapon. The scenarios include domestic situations, bar scenes and traffic stop modules in vehicles. They even simulate encountering live fire using rubber bullets. 

Lt. Larkin said officers are trained to stop the threat that is presented to them and their training prepares them to know when and when not to use lethal force. He said it's a combination of training and instinct, while balancing skill and using discretion.