Hartsville police going through shoot, don't shoot training

Hartsville police officers are going through firearms training this week to review when to use deadly force. (WPDE)

Hartsville police officers are going through firearms training this week on "shoot, don't shoot," or when to use deadly force.

Dr. Chris McFarlin with the Tri County Technical College is providing the two-day training free of charge to the police department.

McFarlin is using a judgmental simulation machine that displays different scenarios as to when officers are to deploy deadly force or not.

Hartsville Police Captain Mitch Stanley said the officers go through this type of training at the SC Criminal Justice Academy, but they wanted to offer a refresher course.

"We think it's extremely important with everything that's going on in today's world that we put our officers back through this type of training, so they get a handle on what's going on and kind of refresh their minds as to what they may encounter when they go on a call," Stanley said.

McFarlin said the criteria for an officer to use deadly force in South Carolina involves ability, opportunity and jeopardy.

Stanley said in some situations officers have a split second to make a decision to shoot or not shoot.

"It is extremely hard to judge and that's the world we live in. People don't seem to understand. It's easy to arm chair quarterback after something has happened. But as a police officer for a long time, what we have to do is we have to make a split-second decision, sometime between life and death. And hopefully we always make the right decision," he said.

The department invited the media, religious and community leaders and city staff to go through the training so they can get a better understanding of the decisions officers have to make in tense situations.

Hartsville police will host another firearms training later this year.

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