The murder of a Knox County police officer early Monday reinforced a growing concern among law enforcement regarding the threat of ambush shootings.
In Summit County, deputies have been conducting "ambush training sessions" at a facility in Green for more than a year.
"The probability of something — whether it's an ambush, officers being ambushed — is becoming more a high probability these days," said Deputy Dave Fatheree, an instructor at the Summit County Sheriff's Office Training Bureau.
"It's happening more frequently. As you can see, we've had several in the last couple of weeks," added Deputy Paul Wright, another instructor.
Danville Police Officer Thomas Cottrell was shot and killed outside of the municipal building Sunday night. His gun and cruiser were stolen. A suspect, Herschel Jones, was arrested early Sunday morning.
Earlier this month, Canton K-9 Officer Jethro was shot and killed while responding to a burglary call with his partner, Officer Ryan Davis.
Also in January, a Philadelphia police officer was ambushed while sitting inside his cruiser. He was injured after several shots were fired. A man, claiming he committed the crime out of allegiance to ISIS, was arrested, according to reports.
Instructors in Summit County examine real police officer ambush situations and incorporate some of the factors in the classroom training.
One scenario has officers come under attack while sitting in a restaurant, which happened in Lakewood, Washington. Deputies who receive training point laser guns at paper plates on a wall to practice movements, tactical decisions and aiming at the right target.
"We induce as much stress as we can on our officers to see how they'll perform under that stress," Fatheree said.
In another scenario, officers write reports while pretending they're working from cruisers inside an indoor firing range. When cardboard cutouts are turned towards them, they fire live rounds.
"We're giving them a chance to go and defend themselves, and again, make good decisions. That's the key to all of it. We're giving them the skills they need to process information, and in that split-second, make the correct decision," Wright said.
Instructors said they'll consider a plan to officer the training to officers throughout Ohio and in other states.
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