San Francisco police undergo use of force training with help of technology

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- ABC7 News got to see first-hand how police train when confronting violent situations. Much like basic recruits, embers of the media began in the classroom then made their way to the scenario room.

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In the scenario ABC7 News Reporter Melanie Woodrow participated in there was a call for a suicidal waitress, but upon arrival, it turned out she wasn't only threatening to hurt herself. She had stabbed a co-worker.

During the first run of the training exercise, ABC7 News was told to react quicker, since another officer in the video already had his weapon up.

In the scenario, the waitress said she was upset because her co-worker was taking her tips.

"I understand you're upset about that, you need you to drop the weapon," said Woodrow as she ran through the exercise.

As she reached for less lethal force, pepper spray, the waitress hurled a knife at her in the video.

"Training is key," said Sgt. Steven Pomatto.

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San Francisco police say civilians had to come to the rescue of an officer who was attacked by a homeless man in March 2017.

On her second try, Woodrow says she reacted faster.

"I need you to drop that knife right now," she said to the armed waitress in the video.

Law enforcement officials running the exercise also said she listened more attentively and successfully de-escalated the situation. The waitress dropped the knife.

"Very good why don't you sit down and talk to us I understand you're really upset," said Woodrow.

In training, there are several chances for each scenario, but in a real life, officers only get one.

"It can turn in a matter of seconds," said Sgt. Pomatto

Officers take a refresher course every 2 years.

"Having this ability to respond over and over and over hopefully will help reduce that stress the tunnel vision that you get that itchy feeling," continued Sgt. Pomatto.

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Officers are in part trained to react quickly, take cover, listen attentively and give commands that include an order and a consequence to get compliance.
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