By: Kyle Woosley
Officer-involved shootings have received an increase in national attention over the last few years. In an effort to keep deputies well-trained for these scenarios, the Scott County Sheriff’s Office has been training with simulated technology.
According to the Washington Post, Kentucky has had more than 115 officer-involved shootings in the past year. Georgetown had its own experience with one back in April when a Georgetown Police officer shot and killed 31-year-old carjacking suspect DeShund Tanner. Officials said Tanner was armed at the time of the incident.
Because of these incidents, Sgt. Eddie Hart said this training is incredibly important for both officers and the public to understand.
“We want the public to understand the split-second decision-making that we are constantly being faced with,” he said. “We think it’s important to communicate to others and by you seeing it and you personally going through it and realizing you only have minute seconds to put your gun on target and make a shot on very limited information. A lot of times you’re by yourself. We think it’s important for the public to know that when there is an officer-involved shooting or an officer-involved use of force that it probably went so quick to get to that, all of this kind of Monday morning quarterbacking of what took place. We think it’s good to be transparent in that.”
Transparency has been something at the forefront of the sheriff’s office this year. Back in April, the Scott County Fiscal Court approved the purchase of 50 body cameras for an initial cost of $200,000 through Axon with a five-year contract for the sheriff’s office. This was approved as both a way to hold the sheriff’s office accountable but also protect them in the event of a lawsuit.
The firearm simulator is conducted by a trained member of the sheriff’s office, with both the training and simulator technology being provided by the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) and the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo). The sheriff’s office uses the MILO Firearms Simulation system.
“We try to do it yearly,” Hart said. “They (KLC and KACo) have several of these that’ll go around the state. We go to the range typically four-to-six times a year to do firearms training. But this right here is not only the firearms aspect, it’s also de-escalation. It’s talking to the deputies about what to do, calling EMS, de-escalating the situation and what you do after the fact. That’s why our trainers will talk them through the scenarios. We aren’t just having them run through it and leave. We talk to you about what you did right, what you did wrong, what you could do better, and it’s all to basically save lives.”