Every cop in the country is required to go through firearm training before they're allowed to patrol the streets or move up in the ranks.
On Monday, we got an exclusive look at what deputies at the Mesa County Sheriff's Office go through.
During the class, instructors said anyone can shoot a gun but the class wasn't about learning to shoot; iIt was about teaching deputies how to stay alive in a gun fight.
After a long day of lecture, we got the chance to use the FATS machine--- the firearm training simulator-- to run through different real-life scenarios that deputies are faced with daily.
Instructors then talked us through what happened and what things should or shouldn't have been done. They say it's important to make your mistakes in the classroom and not in the line of duty.
“When it comes to the firearms side of it, there's this thing called vicarious liability,” Deputy Sheriff John Coleman said. “I am liable for what I train them so I am worried about what they may or may not do from the moment they come into the classroom or for the rest of their career. I have to make sure my training is up to current standards and that we present it in a proper way.”
By law, officers can always use one step of enforcement above what's being used on them. For example, if a citizen has a knife officers can use their gun to stop them. This is known as the use of force continuum.
But after every shooting, officers and the department have a lot of explaining to do regardless of whether the shooting is justified or not. However, officers can't shoot a gun if innocent bystanders could be injured or if lesser force could be used.