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Failure to Train is Core of Police Shooting Problems

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Tampa, FLGaps in training are a likely cause of death and injury at the hands of police officers in the US according to one veteran police officer and instructor in law enforcement procedures. Tom Bosley, who served as a Florida law enforcement officer for over 30 years, says when deadly shootings make the headlines one of the first questions to be asked should be about the training the officer had to deal with that situation.

“90 percent of it comes down to training,” says Bosley, who is now a law enforcement training instructor at Hillsborough Community College in the Criminal Justice Institute. “If you are not trained to do the job then you are going to make mistakes. If you are not trained to use the equipment that is issued to you then you are going to use it improperly, and again you will make mistakes.”

San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, made headlines recently for coming to training camp wearing socks with pictures of pigs wearing police caps. He said he was making his opinions known about issues between blacks and law enforcement in the US.

In part, Kaepernick blamed lack of training for police shootings. “Make those standards higher,” he said. “You have people that practice law and are lawyers and go to school for eight years, but you can become a cop in six months and don't have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist."

Bosley pointed to the case of a 73-year-old woman who was shot and killed during a police community training exercise in Florida. The Punta Gorda Police Department regularly invites members of the community to participate in a role playing exercise that is meant to instruct the public on how officers make decisions when confronted gun carrying criminals.

Somehow a live round of ammunition made it into the exercise and Mary Knowlton was shot during a demonstration.

“There should be a lesson plan for that kind of role play exercise,” says Bosley. “That’s the standard.”

“We have a plan for that kind of training exercise where the instructor physically looks at the dummy round and hands it to the student,” he says. “We use a special safety gun that won’t fire live rounds. It fires only ‘simunition’ (fake, harmless rounds).

“We have a safety officer who sits at a table. He’s responsible for loading the magazines and giving the magazines to the role player. The safety officer is patted down to make sure he is not carrying live ammunition, or carrying their own gun. They are issued the safety gun and they are issued the guns and the magazine that are loaded by the safety officer,” says Bosley.

“If anyone leaves the room and comes back they have to be patted down again, and checked for live ammunition,” says Bosley. “They say, ‘I just went to the bathroom’. But that doesn’t matter. As soon as you step out of this secure area you became somebody that needs to be checked again.”
“There should be a lesson plan for that kind of role play exercise,” says Bosley. “That’s the standard.”



Attorney Ben Stewart, from Ben Stewart Law in Tampa, Florida specializes in litigating on behalf of people harmed in situations that involve law enforcement. Stewart says every complaint his firm investigates always looks at the police department training.

“You can look at the officer, but you also have to look at the training and supervision of the officer. In law enforcement you are trained to do a job. There should be back-ups in place to make sure everything is happening according to standard practice,” says Stewart.

“You are dealing with the safety of the public and these officers are carrying deadly weapons. In the Punta Gorda case you would certainly investigate negligence. There shouldn’t have been live ammunition anywhere near that training exercise,” says Stewart.

Stewart’s practice has represented people on all sides of the issue around law enforcement. He’s represented police officers who have been injured, members of the public who have been the victims of police shootings, and even people in prison who have suffered injuries as a result of failures of the prison system to adequately protect people.

“Police officers are mostly there trying to do good, but it is how they are trained. That is typically something I put in my complaints. We typically include negligent training, negligent supervision as a part of the lawsuit,” says Stewart.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
Its not training its not criminals it accountability its responsibilities cops have neither. They have immunities that encourage animalistic behaviors and no accountability. Cops can so they do, no questions asked. Immunities reform needed. And the supream court has to be held accountable for given these cops above the law Immunities.

Posted by

on
Bullshit. there is no police training problem. Police have been trained to death, day in day out for years. The problem is with criminals who push further and further into territories of danger encounters with the law and police (of course being encouraged by Obama stupid policies). The result is police are put on the edge constantly, and when they shot is either to protect the public or themselves. Get off the backs of police, these are the finest in the world. stop encouragine lawyers to make every single simple case as a complex one, so they get paid more. What this country needs is Trum.

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