In light of recent incidents across the Upper Peninsula, there are questions surrounding protocol police officers follow in tense situations.
Police officers only draw their weapons when they believe their life or the life of someone else is in danger. This can lead to the use of deadly force if deemed necessary. In some instances, split second decisions need to be made to save the lives of others.
It is important to note that an officer drawing a weapon is a very rare occurrence.
"Nobody wakes up in the morning, puts their boots on, straps that gun belt on, walks out the door thinking they're going to be shooting their weapon," says Cpl. Guy LaPlante of NMU Public Safety. "It's the last thing they want to do and again it has a very big impact on that person and the community they serve."
Every police officer goes through rigorous training that includes the simulation of high stress scenarios. These scenarios are played out to train an officer how to make the proper decision under duress.
"Their mindset, the fear, all of that has a part to play with it and they are trained in that type of reaction," says LaPlante.
In smaller communities there are also fewer officers patrolling the streets. This can also mean that some officers will be making decisions on their own.
Recent events will probably not lead to more officers in small communities, but other municipalities work together when more help is needed.