Metro Police Undergo Training Following Federal Probe

LAS VEGAS -- The U.S. Department of Justice is expected to give Metro Police an update on how well the department is doing when it comes to reducing officer-involved shootings.

The justice department conducted a study of the Metro last year following the high number of shootings involving police officers in 2011 when 12 people were killed by police.

The justice government gave Metro 80 recommendations toward reducing shootings, increasing officer safety and changing the police department's culture regarding deadly force.

Metro officers are undergoing more reality-based training putting them in lifelike situations where a shooting might occur.

"What we try to do is, when the call allows us to, is to slow that momentum so that we have an opportunity to communicate better, get more resources there, and to successfully complete the call," said Metro Lt. Tim Leveque, who trains staff.

In one scenario, a suicidal man holds a gun to his head. The officers radio for help. Through communication they de-escalate the danger. After a few minutes, the suspect surrenders. This scenario is an ending Metro wants in real-life.

"Out of the 80 recommendations, we are 70 percent complete," said Metro Captain Tom Roberts with the Office of Internal Oversight.

With the Department of Justice recommendations in action, fewer officers are pulling the triggers of their guns.

"We've seen a reduction in our numbers and a reduction in the number of deadly force encounters," Roberts said.

The turnaround is happening as police come face to face with danger more than before.

"You're definitely encountering a more violent criminal these days than you did 20 years ago," said Metro officer Kevin McCord, a SWAT training coordinator.

He was shot less than a month ago when a woman held her two kids hostage. Her two children were saved, and she survived.

"At the end of the day, a successful mission is when everybody comes out alive. Nobody gets hurt, and we all go home at night," McCord said.

The Philadelphia Police Department has also gone through the same federal review. Officials from Philadelphia were in Las Vegas observing the reality-based training.

The justice department's official report card on Metro will be released this week.


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