FORT MYERS. Fla.- Local T.V. and print reporters participated in firearms training simulation on Thursday. The Fort Myers police run the training, and each officer in the city must take the training two times a year.
"This is really good, because it teaches the officers to become smarter and more intuitive. They can make their mistakes in the training room and not on the street," said Tim Day, director of the Southwest Florida Public Service Academy.
In one scenario, I confront a man who was said to have a gun tucked in his waistband.
He reach for the gun, I fire and strike him with the first shot.
In another scenario, I confront an obviously impaired driver. He gets out of his car and refuses to take his hands out of his pockets. He says he has a gun and will use it and drops into a shooting stance. I fire and strike the man twice. It turns out, he was not armed, he just said he had a gun.
Training Sgt. Roger Valdivia says that's the kind of officer-involved shooting that could reflect badly on police. "It would come out as, officer shoots un-armed man. But the media would not know what led up to the shooting, the part about the hands in pockets and the boasts of having a gun, and dropping into the classic shooting stance. The reporters in a real incident would not know those details, and that shows they should refrain from jumping to conclusions about who is at fault," Valdivia said.
The training comes as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates the fatal shooting of a man by two Fort Myers officers a couple of weeks ago. The FDLE probably will not release its findings for a few more weeks.