Franklin County Sheriff’s Office begins new use of force training

Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 5:37 PM CDT
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In light of increased scrutiny of law enforcement agencies across the country, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is taking its use of force training to the next level.

Using a simulator on loan from the state, the FCSO is having all its sworn staff undergo thousands of different scenarios in order to learn best practices for using force, and encouraging them to use peaceful approaches as much as possible. While many of the scenarios naturally involve the officers using force, the staff are also training to give commands to avoid violence.

“Maybe it’s a case where they don’t have to use deadly force, and that they are able to communicate with the person because that’s one of the things,” said AJ Smith, Sheriff of Franklin County. “Not only are they using their weapon but they’re having to give commands as well.”

The training involves staff reacting in high-stress situations, but de-escalation is the end goal of all conflicts where it is possible.

“The more we train, the less mistakes we’re going to make,” Smith said. “That’s one of the things we hope to bring out from this. Every time you have to deal with somebody, you’re not going to pull your gun, so a lot of time it’s just having a conversation with them. I know we’ve heard a lot about de-escalation, how to do that, and sometimes it’s just a matter of conversation, how you’re going to talk to someone.”

The FCSO will have the simulator, worth over $50,000, through July.

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