We allow police to carry weapons to enforce the law. Some officers may spend much of their career without having to discharge a weapon while performing their duties, but depending on jurisdiction and whether they work in high-risk areas may influence how often they fire their weapon.
The general public would like to believe that law enforcement officers are highly trained and have had special courses to deal with high-stress events, such as those involving the apprehension of an armed and fleeing suspect. While many officers are well trained and competent, there is a wide degree of variance across a jurisdiction like Iowa.
The incident in Oklahoma, however, has opened questions concerning the adequacy of the training for the reserve officer who accidently shot a man who had been wrestled to the ground by other deputies, believing he was grabbing his Taser when he grabbed his gun.
The situation became more problematic when a local paper published a report that the reserve officer hand not had "active shooter response training," and published allegations that supervisors were ordered to falsify the man's training record and three supervisors were transferred by the department after refusing to sign off on some of the training.
The reserve officer, who is a retired insurance executive, claimed he received training from Maricopa County in Arizona, but the Sheriff's office there stated it had no record of such training and as an out of state resident, he would not have been eligible to receive it.
The Tulsa department is opening an investigation into the allegations and the incident.
Law enforcement depends on the public believing in their competence. Events like this serve only to seriously undermine that confidence.