Local law enforcement explain police procedure in tense situations
Officials say when officers are sent out on a call with reports of a man or woman having a gun in their hand, then police are going to have their weapon ready as well.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Fatal shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana in two days are causing people to question how and why they happened.
WDRB spoke with local law enforcement to explain police procedure and what warrants an officer to pull out a gun.
Officer Dennis Clark with the West Buechel Police Department, who has been in law enforcement for 30 years, said every situation is different, but that if police are sent out on a call with reports of a man or woman having a gun in their hand, then police are going to have their weapon ready as well.
The only sure thing in the day of a police officer is uncertainty.
“I may pull out the taser, and in a split second, think I need my weapon,” Officer Clark said.
He said the two recent fatal police shootings are situations no officer wants to be in. He added that in training, officers learn to react by going from verbal commands, to hands-on defense, pulling out a taser and only then using a firearm.
Officer Clark said if a suspect's actions escalate, then he has to meet that response.
“When the officer gives you a command, then respond to that command in the way he wants you to respond. If he tells you to put your hands up, put your hands up. If you think you're being done wrong, that's not the time or the place to argue it. That's not the time or the place to resist arrest,” Officer Clark said.
Wednesday night, an officer in Minnesota shot and killed a man during a traffic stop. In cellphone video recorded by the victim's fiancée, you can hear the officer say something while still holding his gun.
"I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand off of it,” he said.
The victim's fiancée says he told the officer he had a gun on him when he was reaching for his wallet that held his ID.
Officer Clark has also dealt with pulling someone over who had a concealed carry.
“Everyone that I pull over that has ever had one of those cards has immediately, upon me walking up because that's part of the training they take, they say, 'I’m carrying a concealed weapon, and I have a carry concealed card,'” Officer Clark said.
He says most times, he never sees their gun.
But because of the way some people look at police officers in recent years, Officer Clark said it has changed him.
“I catch myself maybe not pulling my weapon as soon as I should or maybe not pulling my taser as soon as I should because of that, and that hesitation can get me killed,” he said.
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