Training to use deadly force - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

Training to use deadly force

Rochester, MN (KTTC-TV) --

It wasn't supposed to happen, but an undercover officer took a man's life Tuesday night in a drug bust gone wrong. KTTC investigates what decisions an officer must make before pulling the trigger.

"Everything else has to be eliminated before you decide to use deadly force. Because once you make that decision to use deadly force, there's no taking it back."

That's what law enforcement instructors like Randy Mohawk teach students who want to be police officers.

It's also a decision that was made Tuesday night when an undercover officer shot and killed 26-year-old Mario Campos. It was a drug bust that turned into a nightmare when officials say Campos injured an officer with his car while trying to flee the scene.

Mohawk says using deadly force is rare, at least in non-metro cities.

"I've spent 27 years in law enforcement before retiring and coming into the teaching profession, and during that time, I've drawn my weapon a number of times, but I've never fired at an individual with my fire-arm."

Mohawk says he can't possibly imagine what the undercover officer is going through, but he says every officer deals with the stress differently.

"It depends on what happens after. If he gets counseling and other things that help you deal with the stress of the shooting incident," says Mohawk.

Now he teaches RCTC students how to make the best decisions in dangerous situations.

While students learn to shoot accurately during the simulation, the point is to use other means of communication to handle the situation.

"These scenarios requires student to use, not only good judgment, but also to use good verbalization skills, good evaluation skills, to determine what's appropriate for each scenario."

While Mohawk hopes his students never get into a shoot-out situation, he says he hopes they will be well-prepared mentally for whatever comes.

According to Mohawk, an officer involved in a shooting normally retires within 5 years of the incident due to stress. As for weapons training at RCTC, a student must have 2 years of it before he or she can graduate.

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