Part one of this report was about a problem Fayetteville Police are dealing with: an increasing number of ‘suicide by cop’ attempts.
Every time an officer responds to a call there’s no way to know what will happen. They have to make life or death decisions in an instant.
Photographer William Henry and investigative reporter Natalie Eucce put themselves in the deadly force simulator to get some real perspective on those situations.
Be warned the videos above are based on real-life active shooter situations.
“Ma’am get back in the car,” Corporal Tiffany Lindley yells as she participates in the simulator. “Drop the gun, drop the gun!”
“You’re looking at real world video with actual guns,” Corporal Dallas Brashears explains.
You might recognize video from 2011 when Fayetteville Officers responded to IHOP and a man got a hold of now-Corporal Tiffany Lindley’s baton and severely beat her with it.
With help she got the situation under control without deadly force and continues her training regularly as an officer.
So how does the police department ensure their officers will stay calm under the pressure and make the best decisions?
40 hours of firearms training, 106 hours of use of force training, less lethal weapons training on weapons like a baton, pepper spray, and a taser, an 18 week field training officer program, annual training on the use of force policy for lethal weapons and tasers, biennial training for less lethal weapons, and the use of force simulator.
Traffic stops and school shootings were just some of the situations we encountered in the simulator.
William Henry was first shown a traffic stop where a man pulled a gun on him. Then, what looks like the same situation but the man pulled out his wallet.
“Why didn’t you shoot?” a deputy running the simulator asked.
“I dont know, it didn’t look like a gun,” Henry responded.
Between an officer showing up and firing their weapon Fayetteville Police has what they call six levels of deadly force: officer presence, verbal commands, using hands, less lethal weapons, presenting deadly force, and then using deadly force.
“The typical officer, we will try to stay one level above what the suspect is doing,” Corporal Dallas Brashears said. “It keeps us in check.”
In the past ten years, Fayetteville Police Officers have fired their weapons 5 times: all have been deemed justified. Three of those five times were fatal shootings. The other two, the suspect wasn’t hit.
To view the first story we aired earlier tonight click here.