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Reporters, law enforcement experience deadly force training

Training

Brendyn Medina, community relations specialist with the Rapid City Police Department, helps man the camera Monday for a television news reporter who is playing the role of an officer exchanging gunfire with an armed robbery suspect. 

Law enforcement officers from the Rapid City Police Department and Pennington County Sheriff's Office along with members of local media were put through multiple scenarios where they had to decide whether deadly force was necessary. 

The training exercises were held Monday at the Central State Fairgrounds in Rapid City. 

Reporters from local radio and television news stations as well as the Rapid City Journal acted as patrol officers during the training simulations. 

Non-lethal pellet handguns were used by both the volunteers acting as armed robbery suspects and the officers tasked with apprehending them.

"So the idea behind the training is to get our officers as close to a lifelike situation in a controlled training environment that we can," said Sgt. Nick Davis of the Rapid City Police Department. "So on the street, there's a lot of unknown variables to our officers. And they tried to recreate that here at the training as well, to make it so that they are learning real life training opportunities. We want them to make those real life mistakes in a training scenario and learn from them there."

Davis explained that using lethal force an officer has to identify means, opportunity and jeopardy.

"Meaning the suspect needs to have means, meaning they have a gun or a weapon or something that could seriously injure. They have to have the opportunity. If they've got a rock that could kill me but they're throwing it from 300 yards away. that's not opportunity. But if you and I are not far away from each other, and you're pointing a gun at me, that's opportunity that's there. And then jeopardy means that my life is in jeopardy or somebody else's life is in jeopardy."

The 10-day training will run through the rest of the week at the fairgrounds. 

For those who want to have a better understanding of what patrol officers do and what situations they come across, Brendyn Medina, spokesman for the Rapid City Police Department, said a ride-along is a great way to learn more. 

To request a ride-along with an officer, fill out the form which can be found online at https://www.rcgov.org/47-ride-along-consent-form/21-ride-along-consent-form.html.

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