Police taught to fire back in threatening situations

Wednesday, July 23rd 2008, 7:21 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

Oklahoma City police officers have shot three people in less than two weeks. According to News 9 legal analyst Irven Box, in tense situations the officers have to determine what threat the suspect in their decision on the amount of force to be used.

Oklahoma police explained an officer's actions that lead to the recent shooting and consequential death of an 18-year-old.

"As he was bringing his arm up...the officer felt threatened at that time and fired we know two rounds at the individual," Capt. McCool said.

Box said it makes no difference that the teen killed didn't have a gun in his hand. According to Council on Law Enforcement and Training, or CLEET, the suspect also has to be seen as a continuing threat.

"Somebody that flees after shooting somebody and still has the weapon, still has the ability to carry on injuries or additional deadly force to the public," CLEET spokesman Steve Emmons.

There's a wide range of what can be considered a threat. Guns, knives and cars can be considered threats and weather can affect officer's judgments. In CLEET training, officers are taught if they're confronted or feel threatened with deadly force, they should return deadly force.

"The officers are taught to shoot in a location that is going to hit the person and yes, kill them," Emmons said.

All police officers in the state are required to have CLEET certification as a minimum training.

Oklahoma City Police have their own academy which exceeds CLEET standards.

All three officers involved in the three shootings are on paid adminstrative leave while the cases are investigated.

Ultimatley, it's up to the district attorney to determine if the shootings were justified.