IMPD training new recruits the importance of use of force, non-lethal methods

IMPD is teaching new recruits the different levels of less lethal force. (WTHR Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – Deadly force has always been a critical part of the training for new recruits at the IMPD Training Academy. But what is even more important now are the different levels of less lethal force.

Officer Peter Koe is one of the veteran policemen who has become a subject matter expert on use of force at IMPD.

Koe shared with Eyewitness News the ongoing training using ammunition designed to incapacitate suspects for apprehension.

In fact, the use of non-lethal force is part of the written general orders for The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

“The department has chosen to go with 2581,” said Officer Peter Koe.

2581 is a less lethal force of ammunition commonly known as bean bag bullets. Officers every IMPD district can request training on how and when to use it.

“What it does is give them another level in a given situation instead of merely going to deadly force,” Koe said.

In a training video from 2016, officers demonstrated how the bean bag ammunition works and helps officers preserve life.

Each officer is tasked with assessing the level of danger in their situation. That means knowing how to use the bean bag ammo is just as important as knowing when to use it.

Koe knows split second decisions are critical when deciding the use of force.

In 2004, he survived gunfire himself where officers had to use deadly force. The officers were lured into an ambush where a suspect was armed with an assault rifle with the apparent intent of killing officers.

Police radio transmission from Koe included him informing fellow officers that there was no longer a threat.

“The suspect is down. He is 10-0. I am hit but its only a leg wound, no problem,” said Koe.

Other non-lethal levels include mace and stun guns. Those, along with bean bag bullets, can help trained officers preserve life even when their own lives are threatened.

“They learn the immediate decisions they have to make whether they are in immediate jeopardy,” said Koe.

Koe believes as long as officers have options including new recruits at the academy, it makes for a better officer and possibly a better outcome.

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