20+ Kansas, Missouri officers complete use of police force training

21 law enforcement officers from Kansas and Missouri graduate Use of Force Instructor Training...
21 law enforcement officers from Kansas and Missouri graduate Use of Force Instructor Training on Sept. 2, 2022.(Jason Levy | KLETC)
Published: Sep. 4, 2022 at 1:32 PM CDT
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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (WIBW) - More than 20 law enforcement officers from Kansas and Missouri graduated from the Use Force Instructor Training Program and will teach others in their communities about the appropriate circumstances for the use of police force.

The Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center says on Friday, Sept. 2, it finished a 2-week Use of Force Instructor Training Program.

“There is no more important topic in law enforcement training than the constitutional limits on the use of force,” said KLETC Executive Director Darin Beck. “We appreciated our federal partners coming to Kansas to train experienced officers in not only the latest law but the most effective instructional methods.”

KLETC noted that the program provided officers who attended with foundational information and skills to design, develop, deliver and evaluate others who make critical decisions related to the use of force. It said the first week of the program covered constitutional foundations - specifically the Fourth Amendment - and how previous Supreme Court rulings play into the action.

“The first couple of days of the program is a refresher for the officers,” said FLETC Lead Instructor Christopher Lair. “We travel with an in-house attorney and specifically discuss these cases and how they apply to police uses of force.”

Lair indicated that the Supreme Court Case Graham v. Connor is the foundational playbook for what law enforcement officers are allowed to do regarding the use of force. He said the 1989 ruling outlined several factors used to decide whether police force is reasonable - including the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of officers or others, and whether they are actively resisting or attempting to evade arrest.

KLETC said the second week of the program became more dynamic and involved the use of force scenarios - some of which were designed by participants.

Paul Sullivan, a senior instructor for FLETC and graduate of KLETC’s 126th Basic Training Class, said the instructors ran students through FLETC scenarios before they had them write their own.

“They were able to get hands-on experience,” Sullivan said. “It’s not only about the student going through a scenario use of force encounter, but how that student can write one and then take their classmates and run them through the scenarios.”

Officer Faith Jolly of the Gardner Police Department said she enjoyed the program and the wealth of valuable information. She said she found that the practical scenarios were particularly applicable and realistic.

“The practice exercises really stood out,” said Jolly. “The realistic training over real-life scenarios will be crucial when training officers at my agency.”

To graduate, KLETC said participants were required to pass a written multiple-choice exam, answer and discuss questions related to the use of force, and successfully develop five graded practical exercises.

KLETC noted that the 21 participants who completed the course came from Kansas and Missouri law enforcement agencies. It said they will now take their knowledge and instruct others at their agencies.

“We understand that two weeks is a big ask for a lot of these departments, and we are grateful for the class of 21 that we have,” said Lair. “The time and dedication of the officers to attend such an intensive two-week course is a testament to their agencies.”

For more information about the program, click HERE.