Shoot or don't shoot? Officer credited for split-second decision - WNEM TV 5

Shoot or don't shoot? Officer credited for split-second decision

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A local standoff could have erupted into controversy but cooler heads prevailed.

Now, a local officer is being celebrated for staying calm as he stared down the barrel of a suspect's gun.

It is a split second decision police officers are forced to make every day: to shoot or not shoot?

Multiple police shootings across the country have sparked controversy and discussion over the issue.

Officer Todd Brow has been in law enforcement for 20 years, including the last five in Buena Vista Township.

He said he’s seen it all and earlier this year he came face-to-face with that life or death question while responding to an alarm at an east side grocery store.

"I had a very bad feeling on the situation. The blank stare he was giving me, his body language, and at the time I realized there was something not going good in this situation,” Brow said.

The suspect had a loaded .45 caliber hand gun pointed in Brow’s direction.

It’s what Brow didn’t do next that earned him a commendation from the Buena Vista Police Department.

“It was such a split second decision that I knew that it could end bad for one or both of us,” Brow said.

Brow decided not to shoot.

Seconds later, the suspect dropped his weapon. Brow credits his training for that split second decision. Training that taught him to be calm and think proactively.

“In my time here in Buena Township, we had a lot of scenario training at our fire arms range on 'shoot, don't shoot' and I believe it can become second nature when you train that way,” he said.

Brow can't say for sure if another officer would have reacted the same way under similar circumstances but he is certain that training is what makes the difference.

"Every scenario we have is not that you shoot somebody. A lot of our scenarios are that you don't shoot. If it doesn't call for shooting, then we move on to another scenario,” Brow said.

The acting chief of the Buena Vista Police Department said Brow did everything right and wanted to use his actions as an example of how to be a good police officer.

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