Saturday's officer-involved shooting has raised questions about how police decide to use deadly force. NBC29 went to a training academy for law enforcement in the area for answers.
The Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Training Academy in Weyers Cave trains most of the officers in our viewing area. Every law enforcement officer in Virginia is required to go through an 18-week training program.
Police officers enrolled in the academy start with a familiarization shoot. They spend the next few weeks reviewing constitutional and case law.
Then, officers move on to scenario-based training - which includes situations with real role-playing and a computer projection program.
The computer simulation puts officers into a room where a video scenario such as a school shooting or domestic situation involving a gun plays on a big screen. This is when they are tested on their decision to shoot or not to shoot.
Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Training Academy Assistant Director Andy McNally said, "Judgment calls in law enforcement happen in a split second. One minute things may be fine, the next minute you may be in a life or death situation - for you or someone else in the public that you have to rely on. Officers are given minimum split seconds to make a life-changing decision for them as well as the other person involved.
The computer-based training tests the officers' reaction speed, decision making, and accuracy. Academy directors say officers in training often fail to shoot when they should.
Trainers say the investigation and counseling after an officer-involved shooting differs by department. Generally the officer is debriefed and the situation is assessed from there.
Saturday's incident is the second shooting involving an Albemarle County police officer in two weeks.
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