Garner Police train to make split-second decisions

GARNER, NC (WNCN) — It’s the center of conversations all over the country. The split-second decisions police officers have to make that could end a life.

Police use of force is under intense scrutiny, so on Monday the Garner Police Department invited WNCN to get an inside look at what officers go through.

Police rarely have to use deadly force, but any situation can escalate in seconds

“The best thing people can do when police show up is to be compliant. They’re going to get a chance to share their side of the story,” explained Lt. Joe Binns.

“The bottom line is the law says when we get to a scene we’re allowed to control it because were there for people’s safety,” he added.

Garner police walked us through real-life scenarios they practice.

Chief Brandon Zuidema says constant training and transparency is part of building trust in the community and preventing future problems.

“It’s probably unfortunately not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when something occurs that will challenge us and our relationship with our community. So we’d much rather be proactive and be out ahead of that,” said Zuidema.

Our team said the simulation was stressful and eye-opening.

“we’re constantly evaluating , everything from how the person is reacting to our presence, what are their hands doing, watching the people around us, we’re watching body language,” explained Binns.

“If they’re not doing what the police are asking to then they become part of the problem not part of the solution,” explained Binns.

“We look at not just what’s legal, not just what doesn’t violate policy, but what’s the right thing and what’s best for our citizens,” Zuidema added.

WNCN has done extensive reporting on local police use of force and the discrepancies in record keeping between some departments.

You can check out that story here: http://wncn.com/2015/02/02/police-use-of-force-records-inconsistent-across-jurisdictions/

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