A look at Billings officer involved shooting protocols - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

A look at Billings officer involved shooting protocols

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With two officer involved shootings in two days, the Billings police department is doing its part to ensure its protocols are effective and justifiable in any deadly situation.

KULR-8's Mary Jane Belleza has a breakdown of these procedures in officer involved shootings and how the Billings police department is handling these cases.

Billings police officers undergo a great deal of training when it comes to shoot or don't shoot scenarios and while deadly force is never their first thought, there are situations where non-lethal force just would not be appropriate.

What started as a domestic dispute on the 1800 block of Yellowstone avenue ended in deadly force at Lucky Lil's casino.

According to Police Chief Rich St. John, a Billings police officer had no choice but to open fire after he felt the patrons lives were in danger.

Chief St. John says while using a taser is a less lethal option, it is not an appropriate tool in a deadly force situation.

"From one end of the building to the other is a lot longer and is not in the capability of our tasers so that would not have been an appropriate tool in that situation under any circumstances," said Chief St. John.

With six officer involved shootings in the past year, Chief St. John says these incidents are life changing events for everyone involved.

"It's very traumatic for the officers, it's traumatic for the families, certainly it's affecting anyone who's been shot, killed or wounded and affects their family," said Chief St. John. "It highlights the danger and unpredictability of this job."

Officer Brent Becker is now on administrative leave after opening fire on the suspect.

The Department of Justice and the County Attorney's Office and an independent review of the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an investigation. 

Officer Becker will also meet with a mental health professional before returning to duty. 

These protocols are followed to ensure any officer involved in a shooting is fit to return to work.

Chief St. John tells KULR-8 Officer Becker is an 11-year veteran of the Billings police department.

The incident this morning marks his first officer involved shootiing.
 

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