- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Police work involves split-second decisions that can change lives in an instant - a concept area law enforcement officers demonstrated to visitors at the Law Enforcement Educational Summit.

Officers demonstrated use of police dogs at traffic stops, shoot/don’t shoot scenarios, stun guns and handcuffing techniques at the Illinois National Guard Armory in Bloomington.

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage said education was the aim of the event.

“This takes away some of the misconceptions people have about police work and shows them it’s not an easy job,” said the sheriff.

Illinois State University Police Sgt. Charlie Summers helped people understand their decision to fire at a perceived perpetrator depicted in various situations in a shoot/don’t shoot simulation.

“One second can cost you your life and you’re not going home one day,” Summers told one person who hesitated on the trigger.

“Some people were not picking up on our cues. They’re not seeing what we’re seeing,” said Summers, referring to a forward movement or other cues that translate to an imminent threat to an officer.

Summers cautioned people that in a real-life situation, their judgment calls would be subject to review. With the approval of concealed-carry permits, more people are carrying weapons, he noted.

The timing was good for the event at which people had a chance to talk informally with police, said Quincy Cummings, president of the local chapter of the NAACP.

“An event like this builds trust. We’re trying to be proactive and show solidarity and unity before anything happens,” said Cummings. Violent incidents in Missouri, Maryland and other places show the importance of open communication, he said.

The crowd of 60 people rotated between the training presentations that gave them a close-up look at methods used by police to stop or control a subject. That information could avert a misunderstanding in the future, said Cummings.

“This gives some perspective so that when an event happens, a person can understand the split-second decision that officers face,” said Cummings.

Bloomington police Detective Tim Power showed people the proper way to lock a pair of handcuffs and the dangers a suspect and an officer can face when the process gets unruly. The interaction with the public was a unique chance to explain those details, he said.

“I like to show people our point of view. I think this is how to do it; it’s a nice open forum,” said Power.

The summit is one of several community events sponsored by local police agencies to improve community relationships.

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Source: The (Bloomington) Pantagraph, https://bit.ly/1EIoXlp

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Information from: The Pantagraph, https://www.pantagraph.com

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