Medford, Ore. police are training to shoot people at traffic stops as part of their winter training, which is designed to speed up their shooting response time in frigid temperatures.
The training scenarios in 20 degree weather included police entering buildings and approaching vehicles with their guns drawn (video below).
The officers, who are expecting crime in sub-freezing temps, fired at a suspect's head drawn on a cardboard target.
“Manual dexterity, it diminishes quite a bit the colder and colder it gets,” Officer Paul Mellgren told KDRV. "We have to engage the suspect whether he has a weapon or not, we have to engage the suspect with our firearm at that point."
Detective Tony Young added, "It’s vital because these officers are out on the street, in this weather, these lighting conditions and they need to be ready to use that deadly force if that situation comes up."
KDRV acted as a cheerleader for the police department's deadly force, but didn't mention the city is being sued for $2 million over a police shooting.
Last week the Mail Tribune reported that the family of Elias Ruiz, 18, is suing the city of Medford for wrongful death.
According to the lawsuit, Ruiz "suffered an emotional breakdown" on Jan. 22, 2012 before he was killed on his front porch while holding a butcher knife and wearing a bullet-proof vest.
According to The Huffington Post, the U.S. Justice Department's Community Oriented Police Services (COPS) program recently warned local police departments about encouraging violence:
Police chiefs and sheriffs may want to ask themselves—if after hiring officers in the spirit of adventure, who have been exposed to action oriented police dramas since their youth, and sending them to an academy patterned after a military boot camp, then dressing them in black battle dress uniforms and turning them loose in a subculture steeped in an “us versus them” outlook toward those they serve and protect, while prosecuting the war on crime, war on drugs, and now a war on terrorism—is there any realistic hope of institutionalizing community policing as an operational philosophy?