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The concerns of Wichita citizens are warranted.
Gun shots ringing in Old Town, a man firing a weapon inside a store, police officers using deadly force to subdue a subject - each situation raises questions on how the Wichita Police Department responds to the scenario.
The justification for each action varies.
"It's a complex answer," said Lt. Doug Nolte. "One of the things we talk about with the use of force is there are many different reasons or need progressions in that."
Within the past year, officers have killed people in situations ranging from a man robbing a store to a woman who allegedly would not drop a knife when commanded to do so.
Nolte said officers spend 23 weeks in academy training, then an additional 12-14 weeks in a field training program to learn how to respond to any incident. At times, a Taser or mace may be enough to subdue a subject.
Officers must be aware of their circumstances, Nolte said, and are taught to make split-second decisions if necessary. If deadly force is used, the incident is vigorously investigated.
"Any time an officer is using force, there are policies and regulations that we will consider their actions by," Nolte said. 'There is, of course, state law. Then, as kind of the double blind protection, not only do we investigate, but we let outside agencies such as the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Sedgwick County District Attorney's office into that so that there is a transparency."
In August, a man fired a gun at a security guard inside Burlington Coat Factory. Police quickly responded to the scene and apprehended the suspect.
"There's a lot of training we do on use of force, but specifically for an active shooter, there are techniques that we train, strategies that we put in play and we drill our officers on those to make sure that if there was a situation that comes up, we are prepared and our officers are prepared," Nolte said. "In any situation where you have an active shooter - where the shooting is going on and we are responding to it - we train our officers to stop the threat."
But any thought of a shooter in a crowded area can bring nervous thoughts of other recent tragedies around the country, such as the Aurora, Colo. theater shooting or the murders at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin.
"One of the questions that has come out in recent shootings is what can someone do that finds themselves in that position," Nolte said. "It's very important for people to be thinking about that - It's unfortunate, but it's important that they do to be prepared."
Nolte said citizens should be aware of their environment. They should know where exits are in an establishment. If they cannot reach an exit during a disturbance, they should seek concrete or thick walls to protect themselves. If the situation becomes dire, a person needs to be mentally prepared to fight to survive, he said.
Nolte discussed these issues, as well as the department's social media campaigns and traffic questions with KFDI News Anchor Kyle McCaskey on the "At Issue" program. The podcast can be downloaded here.