Law Enforcement Training For An Unexpected Tragedy

A tragedy like the officer involved shooting Wednesday in Sacramento tests the training of police officers and deputies. The events that resulted in the death of Deputy Robert French could not possibly be anticipated.

Sgt. Tony Turnbull says safety training starts in the academy but it doesn't end there. “We have advanced officer training in tactics so people stay fresh on those types of things. But you can only be as safe as you possibly can. What happened yesterday had nothing to do with officer safety.”

Ongoing, regular training helps seasoned deputies keep alert and aware. But no amount of training can prevent what happened Wednesday in Sacramento. “You know it comes a time that if someone wants to kill us they’re probably going to get the first shot off. That’s just unfortunately the reality of the job that we do,” said Turnbull.

Sgt. Bryce Heinlein with the Sacramento Police Department says they have a peer support unit and a group of sworn officers and civilians who provide guidance and counseling in the aftermath of such events. “They hold individual and group follow-up sessions with employees who are potentially affected by any type of critical incident or tragedy.”

 Heinlein says supervisors are also given training in recognizing what a critical situation is, what the symptoms are and getting those employees resources to help cope with the situation.

 Both the Sacramento County Sheriff’s office and the Sacramento Police Department point to the work of community chaplains in the aftermath these type of events. They provide peer support to officers, as well as victims and their families. And the chaplains do this critical work on a volunteer basis.

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