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Retired police officer gives insight on de-escalation training

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 5:41 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Friday morning’s officer-involved shooting has sparked a conversation, with some in Lexington now wondering how police officers are trained before they’re sent out in the field.

“It ranges from everything from traffic stops, where as an officer you really don’t know in a training scenario what’s going to happen,” said Don Evans, retired Lexington Police officer. “You could be set up to do a normal citation. It could suddenly turn into a situation where you have someone who is aggressive and trying to shoot you.”

Retired Police Officer, Don Evans, worked for the Lexington Police Department for more than 20 years. He says he’s pretty much seen it all now, but for those just starting out, it’s a different story.

“You can have someone that’s agitated and you’re there to try and get them to calm down,” Evans said. “Some people don’t want to be arrested, but you have to figure out how to talk them into the cuffs to keep everyone safe. And there’s some people who refuse to do that, but you still figure it out. It’s a changing circumstance.”

Evans says LPD operates under what’s called scenario-based training.

“The bottom line is you want to do everything you can to make sure all involved goes home safely, or goes to jail safely,” Evans said.

Evans says 99 percent of cases officers work will end this way. But he says they need to be trained how to deal with the one percent that don’t go as smoothly.

“Are you able to de-escalate a situation if that is an option,” Evans said. “If it becomes escalated, are you able to deal with that and can you deal with it in a legal way?”

The Lexington Police Department trains officers based on some guidelines set by the state, but Evans says the LPD has also set their own standards for officer training.

“They take each scenario and see what they could have done differently, if anything could have been done differently,” Evans said. “How they can improve training, even for an individual officer. All of that is taken into account.”

Evans says in a situation like Friday morning’s shooting, supervisors will look at what went wrong and what was handled correctly. He says they’ll use these scenarios for officer training.

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