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Covington Co. officers get training on police use of force

The training was hosted by the Andalusia Police Department and held at the Andalusia Training Center.
The training was hosted by the Andalusia Police Department and held at the Andalusia Training Center.(Source: Covington County District Attorney's Office)
Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 10:38 AM CDT
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COVINGTON COUNTY, Ala. (PR) -The Covington County District Attorney’s Office recently presented training to Covington County law enforcement officers on the topic of police use of force. The class sought to train local officers on policies, procedures, and the state of the law concerning the topic.

District Attorney Walt Merrell said, “Our police officers here locally are some of the best around. This wasn’t a matter of me telling them ‘you need to do this.’ They came to me, because they want to be the best Departments they can be. Our current climate makes it hard to be a police officer, and police use of force is a hot topic. Knowledge and preparedness are what will separate our officers from the ‘bad cops’ we see on the news.”

The training was hosted by the Andalusia Police Department and held at the Andalusia Training Center. It was presented on two separate days to ensure all officers, regardless of their shift, could attend. Officers from Andalusia Police Department, Opp Police Department, Florala Police Department, and the Covington County Sheriff’s Office all participated.

The training was broken into four parts. The first portion addressed federal policy and caselaw from the United States Supreme Court and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The second subdivision of the training focused on state law and its application to police use of force. Thirdly, the officers were taught practical application of the material learned earlier in the class. Such practical application used videos and local body camera footage to address topics that might arise in a use of force investigation. Finally, officers were taken through scenarios and asked to respond to given situations with their opinions of whether use of force would, or would not, be warranted.

“These classes took our officers to the next level of training and preparedness. While we never want them to be put in a position where they have to use any force, we understand that theirs is a dangerous job, and sometimes they have no other choice. This training will better prepare them for when and under what circumstances force is appropriate,” commented Merrell.

The training was presented by the District Attorney’s Office staff, to include Merrell, Chief Assistant District attorney Grace Jeter, Assistant District Attorney Nikki Stephens, and DA Investigators, Chief Nickey Carnley and Brett Holmes.

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