AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

State: Georgia cops need more training on deadly force

Georgia's top police trainer says state cops need more training around the use of deadly force.

The comments from Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council executive director Ken Vance follow an AJC/Channel 2 Action News special report that found half those shot and killed by police since 2010 were unarmed or shot in the back.

“It tells me that we’ve got to change our training dynamic. We need more scenario-based training,” said Vance, particularly with respect to citizens who are mentally ill. “Everything an officer does at the end of the day falls back to training in most cases.”

Louis Dekmar, police chief in LaGrange, said the fatal shootings in the AJC/Channel 2 report represent only a tiny portion of the countless encounters police officers have with the public every day, most of them harmless, many of them dealing with violent criminals, but each one presenting a possible risk to the officer and the public.

“It makes it sound like the police are driving up and down looking for opportunities to shoot folks,” the chief said. “In fact that’s the rare exception.”

Read more about police shootings in Georgia here.

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About the Author

Ken Foskett has been an AJC reporter and editor since 1989 and is the Senior Editor/Investigations.