The student news site of Omaha North High Magnet School

Police rely on instincts in the face of danger

September 26, 2014

Police officers point of views and feelings can sometimes be overlooked when it comes to major events including the law. Even if they are not directly involved in an event at hand, they still have opinions of the subject.

On Aug. 9th, 2014 in Ferguson, MO., a young, 18 year-old black male, named Michael Brown was shot six times and killed by Officer Darren Wilson, causing many riots to take place in the St. Louis area.

Police Officer, John Lichty of the Bennington Police Department has never been in a situation similar to Wilson’s, but he still has many things to say about this specific situation.

In Omaha, events like this are rare to happen but the officers have to be prepared for anything.

“This type of situation can happen anytime and anywhere,” Sergeant Tim Pittman of the Bennington Police Department said.

Officer Lichty believes that police are trained in very adverse situations, and that Officer Wilson was pushed to the point that lethal force had to be used.

“They [police] handle circumstances most of us want to close our eyes and pretend they never happened,” Lichty said.

Sergeant Pittman agrees that police officers are trained to a very advanced state and that they are to protect the public and themselves.

“Deadly force is used only to protect the life of a citizen or an officer,” Pittman said.

Officer Lichty does not believe that this is a “black or white” thing, even though the topic of skin color is often brought up in discussions.

“This is a matter of people that respect others and people that are completely selfish and have no regard for others. Almost if you will… godless,” Lichty said.

Lichty believes there are laws that govern our behavior and yet there is a small fraction of bad people that do not follow those laws and are menacing to officers that enforce those law and statutes.

In any situation rules or laws can be overturned by a gut feeling. According to Lichty, a lot of officers rely off their gut feeling. Also he believes that his gut and the rules usually meet up or align together in order to figure out what to do.

“I would tamper with rules and gut and weigh out what to do. If there is no time to think, I would rely off training,” Lichty said.

By this he meant that all training and rules may change in the heat of the moment.

Pittman believes that with more experience you gain, the more gut feelings you gain.

Also he stated that when an officer is faced with an immediate threat of death to himself or someone else, the officer may proceed directly to the use of deadly force.

“My head and my heart can get confused easily, but my gut seems to be about 100% correct,” Lichty said.

Lichty stated that his instinct or gut feeling is to detain and secure both until he has the facts.

“I believe that it [his gut] is my own little angel keeping me safe,” Lichty said.

 

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