Shoot or Don't Shoot? Hobbs Police Train to React

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

HOBBS- Indoor and outdoor training simulations, about 16 hours a month for the Hobbs Police Department SWAT team mean officers don't think, they react.

"Most of our training is as realistic as possible," Officer Michael Stone said. "If an officer trains enough the training kicks in and they will automatically react appropriately in that situation."

Officer Stone says it's never easy to decide to use deadly force, but the department uses a color coded chart to help train officers on how they should react to different situations.

"As it moves up into the orange and red zones obviously that person is getting more aggressive, it kind of gives officers an guideline of how they can react," Stone said.

In the Reactive Control Model, developed by three law enforcement agents for police use, lists several scenarios including what to do if a police officer meets an armed assailant.

If an officer has no choice but to shoot, Officer Stone says an police officer must aim for the chest and head.

"It's a split second decision," Detective Corey Helton, in charge of the Sniper Unit, said. "Officers are not discharging their firearm to kill somebody, they're discharging to stop the action."

Stone says sometimes a show of force is enough to stop a subject, if it's not they must stop the action.

"Especially if the action is threatening another citizen or the aggressive action is coming toward you," Stone said.  "It's something that comes with the job, but it's going to be tough even if it's a citizen that's faced with that."