Bedford Police discuss training to keep officers, community safe

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

BEDFORD, Va. (WFXR) — The Bedford Police Department has had six incidents this year involving officers drawing guns, but through real-life training, each was handled with the appropriate amount of force, police explained.

Lt. Robert Kimbrel says verbal de-escalation is always the first line of defense.

With more incidents being documented nationally, he says police realize that many people are on edge when it comes to traffic stops, which is why it is necessary for training to continually evolve.

In December, the department held training for all of their officers, at night, to simulate real-life pressures. Kimbrel said in December that was meant to prevent unsafe situations.

“They’re not just using force against a person that may not need that force used against them, but what they’re doing is responding to the actions of the subject.

The Bedford Police Department currently has about 25 officers on the force, all of whom went through that December training.

Officers say interactions like a traffic stop can be scary for both neighbors and officers. However, they say those interactions should not strike fear in the public because of safety concerns. In addition, they’re actively working to dispel bad police interactions through de-escalation and communication.

According to officers, it is important to let training keep evolving so officers can take into account peoples’ fears when being stopped.

Police say it is perfectly okay to drive for a bit, as long as you reduce speed until you reach a safe, well-lit location. You are also advised to turn on your hazard lights and the overhead dome light, leave your hands on the steering wheel, and roll down your windows.

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