When do police pull the trigger? Law enforcement trainer says it’s a hot topic across the nation

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating the actions of law enforcement officers following Tuesday’s officer-involved shooting in Beloit.

Police officials said officers shot and killed a man, whom they observed to be armed, after he ran from them in a stolen vehicle.

The decision to fire a weapon is something that is made after hundreds of hours of training, according to Ron Betley, who works to train officers across the state.

“Law enforcement use of force right now is a hot topic across the entire country, not just isolated to the state of Wisconsin,” Betley said. “The Department of Justice, the Law Enforcement Standards Board, and all the law enforcement academies take great lengths and great strides to prepare officers for these encounters.”

Betley said when an officer decides to fire at a suspect, it’s because they’ve already exhausted other efforts to de-escalate the situation.

“Any time an officer has a reasonable expectation that a deadly force encounter might present itself, that may be a time when drawing a gun out of a holster might be justified,” he said.

Beloit police did not respond to request for comment, but rather deferred questions to the Department of Justice, which also did not respond to requests for comment.

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