Recent officer involved shootings re-spark debate at home

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Deadly police shootings are not only rocking major cities, right here in Fresno County families are reeling after two fatal confrontations locally. (KFSN)

Deadly police shootings are not only rocking major cities, right here in Fresno County families are reeling after two fatal confrontations locally.

On Thursday Clovis police shot and killed a man while trying to serve a warrant. Nearly two weeks ago Fresno police killed an unarmed teenager during a traffic stop.

And as video of high profile police killings gripped the country renewed debates about police violence are back in the local spotlight.

Oliver Baines, Fresno Councilmember, and a former officer said, "I can tell you there is something, some gap there. Whether it's fear or a lack of training, there clearly is something going on in my mind."

The officer involved shootings of two black men this week prompted protests nationwide.

Here in Fresno, the city is already dealing with community outrage. Last month, police officers shot and killed Dylan Noble, an unarmed white teenager.

"If nothing else, I think there is a lot to be gleaned from how to handle these situations. Not only from officer interaction, citizen interaction, and an agency management tool," said Baines.

According to a Washington Post study, last year there were 990 people shot dead by police officers. This year the number is set to be even higher. But criminologists say people also have to look at the bigger picture.

"When viewed, and you isolate that number, it seems huge. But we have to keep in mind, the police interacts with the community thousands of times per day," said Kevin Callahan, criminology instructor.

Law enforcement experts said there has also been an increase in violent attacks against officers. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, so far this year, there have been at least 21 firearm related deaths.

"You have the community on one side pressuring them to make perfect decisions all the time, you have their administration on the other side pressuring them to make perfect decisions all the time as well. So they are crunched together in this vice," said Callahan.

The Fresno Police Department has taken several steps to cut down officer involved shootings. There is de-escalation training, cultural sensitivity classes, and now the use of body cameras.

Video, that officers hope in the case of Dylan Noble will help repair community ties.
Related Topics:
societyofficer involved shootingshootingfresnoclovisfresno countyFresnoClovis
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