The following court cases show the need for live-fire shoot/don’t shoot judgment training.
Plaintiff's son was shot and killed by a city police officer during a street disturbance. The plaintiff settled claims against the police officer before the trial, and the jury considered only federal civil rights claims against the city. The jury awarded damages of $330,000.00, finding that the department's training program, which constituted only a movie and a lecture on the use of deadly force, to be constitutionally inadequate.
Federal appeals court upheld this result, finding that the training provided was inadequate and indicated that the city was "deliberately indifferent" to the need for more training on the use of deadly force. The court found sufficient evidence to show that the officer's use of deadly force was unjustified. The appeals court criticized the city's lack of "live-fire shoot/no-shoot drills” providing practice on when to shoot or not to shoot.
"Viewing the above evidence most favorably to plaintiffs", the court concluded, "it is clearly sufficient to support the jury's determination that the Denver police training program in place prior" to the shooting "was inadequate, and that a direct connection existed between the inadequacy and the shooting."
The court held that Denver Police Department was " Deliberately Indifferent " to the need for better firearm's training of it's officers and stated that this inadequate training led to an officer's fatal shooting of an unarmed citizen.
The court held that the deputies who shot and killed a store owner while responding to what they believed was a burglary in progress were responsible for their actions. The Sheriff of the county was equally at fault since training and supervision falls within his realm of responsibility.
This case involved a 2.2 million dollar settlement. A police officer shot a man who was helping a store clerk who had been shot during a robbery.
The jury awarded $4,911,668 to a man who was shot and rendered a paraplegic by the officer pursuing him as he fled from a stopped vehicle, because of outstanding warrants and illegal possession of a firearm. The plaintiff claimed he had abandoned his weapon before the officer shot him.
City held liable for a $4,370.000 settlement to surviving family of a man shot and killed by officer responding to a domestic disturbance call. Officer thought a stick in the man's hand was a rifle.
The court strongly suggested the need for realistic firearms training. The court held that for law enforcement firearm's training to be valid, it must incorporate: stress, decision making, attitude, knowledge, skill, shoot-don’t-shoot, moving targets, officer required to move, low light or adverse light shooting, in-service training and shotgun training.
Popow vs. City of Margate, 476 F SUPP. 1237 (D.N.J. 1979)
The court held that the firearm's training was inadequate for the circumstances officers had to operate under. The court specifically stated that training needs to include;
a) moving targets
b) low light or adverse light shooting
c) residential areas
or any experience with film or simulations designed to teach the practical application of deadly-force decision making. The court held that firearm's training should also include instruction on State Laws, City Regulations, (and/or policies) on shooting, and how they are applied in practice. The court also held that firearms training must be given on a continual basis.
The Supreme Court stated that " A Municipality's inadequate training may give rise to 42 U.S.C., section 1983 liability when it is deliberately indifferent to the rights of the city's inhabitants and actually causes the plaintiff's injury". The Court enumerated as one example of deliberately inadequate training as being:
"instances in which the need for more of different training is obvious and the inadequacy is likely to result in the violation of constitutional rights".
The court stated that " Police Chiefs may be held liable if they breach their duty to train subordinates and establish department procedures that will provide protection for constitutional rights.”
The court allowed a jury's conclusion to stand that undocumented 'reserve' police training and military training did not constitute adequate training for officers. The court stated "It seems likely that police training, in addition to teaching proficiency in the use of handguns, would include training as to the circumstances in which a police officer should not shoot".
In this case a Federal Appeals Court reinstated a jury's $259,358.19 judgment against the officer for shooting and killing the driver of a car making an escape from an alleged purse snatching. The jury necessarily found that officer could not have reasonably believed himself in danger from a slow moving vehicle, and accordingly officer was not entitled to qualified immunity.
Monell holds that plaintiffs who can prove that the civil rights violations they suffered at the hands of government employees were the result of serious shortcomings in agency custom and practice (deficient supervision or training) may recover damages from government treasuries as well as from the employees involved. This decision opened government's deep pockets to plaintiffs and to holds police agencies accountable in the courts for establishing and applying reasonable standards of police behavior.
"I was staring through the scope of my sniper rifle when the suspect emerged from the back door of his residence and aimed his 30-06 at four members of my SWAT Team. The scenario unfolded in seconds. Luckily, I was prepared and my shot broke before his. The threat was stopped and no one else was injured that day.
This was not the first time I had dealt with an armed man emerging from a door. Due to the CAPS training I had taken nine days earlier, I had already experienced that occurrence dozens of times in both shoot, and just as importantly, no-shoot, scenarios. CAPS live-fire training is the most realistic training I have ever experienced and it made me as prepared as I could possibly be for my incident. CAPS training isn't a luxury, it is a necessity."
Officer Eric J. Cusson, Sniper Team Leader
"Our CAPS system has been incorporated into many courses within our curriculum; Defensive Handgun, LE Sniper, Handgun Instructor, Active Shooter Response, just to name a few. We have a one-day class dedicated solely to decision-making with the CAPS simulator. Our students of all backgrounds who are exposed to the CAPS experience consistently come away with some sense of the physiological and mental effects as well as the skills required to recognize, react and prevail in an armed encounter. Their observation and decision-making skills are tested with the wide array of simulator scenarios that may or may not be shoot situations. The no-shoot aspect of training is often overlooked, but just as imperative to a well-rounded program. The portable nature of the system makes it more versatile and convenient to setup and use at remote training sites. I highly recommend the CAPS system to anyone looking to fill the training gaps between weapons handling and range work and force-on-force scenarios."
D.W. Hinkell, Senior Instructor, SIG Sauer Academy
"Brink's Incorporated, a global leader in secure logistic and business services, has been acquiring and integrating CAPS live-fire systems into its comprehensive training programs since 2006. Brink's use CAPS systems throughout North America to improve shooting competency and enhance decision making skills, with CAPS being utilized in both live-fire range training and in classroom settings."
Dennis Casteel, Director of Firearms Training, Brink's USA
"The CAPS System has revolutionized our firearms training program. Not only does it allow our officers to handle their actual live firearms during judgmental training sessions, it also provides them with the confidence and ability to react in stressful situations. The ease of set-up and the simple operation of the unit enhances the joy of using it. It is very effective and brings our firearms training program to an all new level. It is important to mention that the after sales support is second to none. After you experience the CAPS system, you have no choice but to agree with their company motto: YOUR GUN. YOUR AMMO. NO EXCUSES. This is a system that no firearms program should go without. Thank you for a great system proudly made in Canada."
Claude Brunette, Firearms Instructor, Royal Canadian Mint Protective Services
"Under stress you default to the level of your training. The CAPS system allows us to not only tune the physical skills it also adds the much needed dimension of judgment training. The willingness you demonstrated in creating high quality correctional based scenarios in our environment gave relevance to the training that we had previously lacked. The CAPS system allows us the flexibility for use with new staff firearms training as well as more complex high stress emergency team training."
Mike Bennett, Assistant Director, Indiana Department of Correction, Emergency Response Operations, Correctional Training Institute, New Castle, IN
"The CAPS Live-Fire Judgment Training System has been a significant enhancement to our firearms training program. Our agency has used both FATS and PRISM in the past and we purchased a CAPS system because it offers several important advantages.
First, the CAPS system is extremely flexible. We have used it with the entire range of officer-deployed firearms from backup handguns at ten feet, to sniper rifles at 100 yards. Second, the level of realism is higher than other systems that do not allow the use of actual firearms. When we conduct training with our officers on the CAPS system they are using the weapon and ammunition they carry on the street. This improves officer confidence, and allows the instructor to recognize and correct problems that might not be apparent using a simulated firearm.
The majority of our officers say that CAPS is the best firearms training that we provide and I agree."
Sgt. Mark Stout, West Bloomfield Police Firearms Training Unit, West Bloomfield, MI
"Our students repeatedly tell us that CAPS is the best form of firearms training they have ever been exposed to. Over the years several of our students have been involved in deadly force encounters and have stated that the CAPS training they received at Center Mass, Inc. played a significant role in their success. We have always known the value of CAPS and wholeheartedly endorse the system and the company. If you're in the market for a firearms training system you are going to be hard pressed to find a system that is as durable, versatile, and economical. For live-fire training as realistic as it gets, CAPS is the best system on the market."
Jeff Felts, President, Center Mass Inc., Canton, MI
“Weighing all of the factors used in our research criteria including price, ease of operation, availability, realism, and versatility in relation to the entire use of force continuum, the CAPS System rated higher in every category than its peers. We have now had our CAPS System for over two years and have yet to utilize even half of the scenarios included with it.”
We are very happy with our system and would highly recommend it to other law enforcement agencies as the best judgmental system on the market.”
Captain Timothy B. Kentch, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, MO
“After researching several judgment shooting simulator systems for training, we purchased CAPS. We were looking for a training simulator which would allow our members the most realistic training experience. The fact that our officers could experience realistic live-fire judgment type training with department issued pistols, ammunition, and other non-lethal equipment, was a great advantage to our training program. The versatility of CAPS allows us to train at both our indoor or outdoor training facilities.”
Staff Sergeant Ronald Owen, Training Coordinator & Firearms Instructor, Oneida Indian Nation Police, New York State
“Our CAPS system proves our officers true firearms skills with what they carry on the street. The scenarios produced for our department by CAPS ensure both the relevance and realism of our training. The dependability of the system and after sales support from CAPS make it the system to choose.”
Sgt. Ron Raneri, Range Master, Instructor/Trainer, Waltham Police Department, Waltham, MA
“We are certainly pleased with the CAPS simulator. This valuable training tool cannot be compared to any other firearms training product on the market. The key point is that officers use their issued duty weapon. The more we train and develop our skills with the system the better prepared we are should we have to respond to a critical incident.”
Captain of Police, Howard L. Mintz, City of Newton, MA Police Department
“What an impressive and versatile training tool. The fact that this system is so portable, allows us to use it indoors and outdoors, with pistols and rifles. The quality of training was exceptional. The pace and surprise of some of the scenarios pushes our officers to their limits.
As a firearms trainer it's not only valuable in teaching combat shooting but also, use of force, judgment, and weapons handling. Since we are firing live rounds from duty weapons, officers get immediate feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. We use it for line officers to snipers and swat. Everybody loves the training and can't wait to train on it again.”
Detective Andy Boisvert, Firearms Instructor, Gillette Police Department, Gillette, Wyoming
“The decision to buy the CAPS machine was an easy one to make for our department. It allows us to provide the decision-making training needed with our duty weapons, and at a greatly reduced cost to the department. The hands on training by the CAPS staff and scenarios provided are right on the mark. As an industrial department, the capability of customizing scenarios for our facility based on previous incidents is an invaluable training tool. I've shot the rest and bought the best.”
Captain Bill Granzow, US Steel Security, Gary Works, Gary, Indiana
“Just wanted to take the time to thank you for the recent update on the CAPS system. I would have written you sooner but I've been so busy with moving the trailer all around the state so it is actually your fault. The reviews on the training with CAPS are incredible.The phase most commonly used is "This is the best training I have ever had". This comes not only from older Officers but also from the recruits I teach in the Academy.
Our Mobile Firearms Trailer has been used by the following Agencies:
Plymouth County Sheriff’s Dept., Federal Marshalls, Brocton P.D., Bridgewater P.D., Ridgewater P.D., East.Bridgewater P.D.,Bridgewater State College, Halifax P.D., Hanover P.D, Hanson P.D., Hingham P.D., Hull P.D., Kingston P.D., Marion P.D., Mattapoisett P.D., Pembroke P.D., Plympton P.D., Rockland P.D.,Whitman P.D.,University of .Massachussetts College Police, Boston, Swansie P.D.Just to name a few.
Call up any one of these agencies and talk to their Firearms Instructors. Many have had the trailer four times already and CAPS never seems to get old or repetitive. Thank You Again!”
Captain Bob Bethoney, Plymouth County Sheriff’s Training Instructor
"We were impressed with several things. First was the simplicity of the entire system. Next was the availability to have a number of home brew scenarios filmed and acted locally using our own staff. We also like the fact that this system was highly portable and could be used both for line personnel as well as our snipers. And finally, probably the most important in my mind, was the ability to use your own firearm in the judgmental training process. By using an actual firearm, we bring back from our static training the fundamental components of flash sight picture and trigger control and implement them at the dynamic level. This makes for a very telling experience."
Sergeant Michael Brian, NPD Training Unit Naperville Police Department, Naperville, Illinois
"I have been in Law Enforcement for 16 years and have been a Firearms Instructor for the past six. The best and only way to train officers in the use of firearms is for the officers to train with the actual weapons they carry on duty. I have used the CAPS simulator to train our complete 60 officer department and have received nothing but positive feedback from them and other officers who have been exposed to our CAPS system. For less than $ 600.00 we built a training building which allows us to use the CAPS system on our outdoor range day and night. The CAPS system is the best thing going."
Sergeant Nat Brown, Firearms Training Section Newnan Police Department, Newnan, Georgia
“The Bridgeview Police Department has always maintained a firearms certification program for their officers, but needed something that would exercise the officers mind as well as to train them in the proficient firing of their duty weapon. CAPS allows us to challenge, and to critique our officers in a live fire situation within a simulated environment.”
Chief Charles Chigas, Bridgeview Police Department, Bridgeview, Illinois
“I have been in Law Enforcement for the past 21 years, 17 of them as a firearms instructor. CAPS is the most realistic “User Friendly” training tool I have seen. Talk about great training with your own weapon system. Everyone of our members look forward to range day.”
Sgt. Mark Mahoney, Hornell Police Department, Hornell, New York
“I have been involved in the law enforcement business for 30 years and have been a weapons trainer for 22 of those years. I have seen us go from a time when we thought bullseye shooting was "state of the art", to using a 16mm projector to run scenarios, to turning targets in "shoot don't shoot" decision-making to the various interactive systems.
CAPS is the most versatile cost-effective method of training a person to deal with use of their weapon. CAPS is real world in real speed, using the officer’s own weapon and live ammo to respond when appropriate. All the training is done in front of an instructor, so that the officer’s actions can be discussed, concerning the use of force, legal relevance as well as departmental policy. In this day and age, I feel it is a “must do” for our officers.”
Bill Porter, Training Coordinator, Smith & Wesson Academy, Springfield, MA
"The CAPS system is what most of us have wanted but until now couldn't afford. This system was conceptualized and operationalized by Dave Young, a deep-thinking firearms training professional who has long recognized the need for just such a system. Dave is also a perfectionist, and this system is but another example of his pursuit of excellence. If you had convinced yourself that you needed the resources of the Federal Reserve to buy a quality video-based firearms training system, it's time to reconsider."
Tom Aveni, Board Member, Police Policy Studies Council, Spofford, NH
“The CAPS Simulator fills a void in judgment and use of force decision making in firearms training. It is currently the only system available which allows the organization to conduct scenarios for patrol rifle and for police snipers. Considering the rising demand for rifle utilization during critical incidents it can give the rifle shooter the ability to deal with video scenarios at realistic, extended distances. For the organization looking for the most low cost, versatile, safe, and effective training simulator for their use of force training the CAPS Simulator can’t be beat.”.
John M. Peterson III Firearms Instructor, New Hampshire