WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WJBF) – In a split second, officers of the law must make decisions. Sheriff’s deputies in Burke County are receiving more use of force training while including the tactic, de-escelation.
“No officer gets out of their vehicle or comes to work each and every day wanting to take somebody’s life,” said Sgt. Nathan Jones.
While many people in America demand for better use of force training for law enforcement, in Burke County, Sheriff’s deputies are trained twice a year.
Sgt. Jones said, “In my mind and for any deputy out there confidence is needed in this business. You have to have confidence in your decision-making abilities.”
It’s a mandate in Georgia that all peace officers have 20 hours of training, but in The Bird Dog Capital, deputies are required to have sixty hours. Some put in far more than that.
“Every agency across the country ought to follow a certain standard and you can’t fall below that. States of course can be more restrictive. We don’t want a national police force but we need some national standards,” suggested Sheriff Alfonzo Williams.
Sgt. Jones said, “Use of force training should never stop. We should always strive to be better and that’s every department, every agency across this country.”
Through the use of force simulation deputies react to a variety of different scenarios which can be surprising. Depending on what happens, the deputy either uses a weapon or tries to de-escalate the situation.
“Bring tempers down, and it doesn’t have to be involving weapons. We’re talking about verbal altercations. We can come up and try to de-escalate the situation. We’re not trying to make inflammatory comments like, ‘well, you need to listen to me or you need to shut up.’ We’re going to talk to them like they’re a human being,” explained Sgt. Jones.
As technology improves, so does police training.
“If it’s wrong, it’s here in training we’re able to correct it. We’re able to talk about it. If it’s right, we’ll also critique it and try to find something they may be able to do better,” said Sgt. Jones.
He added the Sheriff’s Office is always trying to exceed the standards.