March 22, 2014
From the outside looking in, it's easy to think that police officers can be trigger happy., but a few Albemarle County residents got a first-hand view on what happens during an officer involved shooting.
The Albemarle County Police Department (ACPD) met with members of the Crime Prevention Council (CPC) to discuss and get feedback on officer involved shooting investigations.
“We talk through the whole process,” says Colonel Steve Sellers of the ACPD. “They had an opportunity to hear from some officers who had been involved in police shootings and how it affects their lives.”
They learned about the administrative side to officer involved shootings investigations, because investigators have to determine if the shooting was justified. They also discussed how information is released to the media.
“The community will always know the details and the facts of the case at some point, but it may not be on the same timeline as the media prefers,” says Col. Sellers.
The council is made up of 16 residents from around Albemarle Co., who act as a voice for the rest of the community.
During the four hour seminar several members of the CPC got a chance to simulate an officer involved shooting.
“Anticipation kind of built, because you didn't know exactly what was going to happen in the simulator and I think that's a big part of it,” says Jenn Downs of the CPC.
One simulation showed a routine traffic stop that ended with person being pulled over, reaching for and firing their gun.
“Officers show up to work every day and they don't know what the next 12 hours is going to look like for them while they are here,” says Downs. There are really so many more pieces of what's going on in the bigger situation around you and what's in the car with the person you are stopping.”
“A simple traffic stop could turn into a shooting situation for an officer.”
The ACPD hopes that this will help educate the community on what really happens in the life of a police officer.