San Francisco police officers are now being trained with a new directive when they fire their weapons in order to reduce killings at the hands of police.
Since January, officers at the police academy have been trained to fire two rounds from their service weapons and then assess the situation. Previously, officers were trained to fire more shots.
The new directive follows the case of Mario Woods, who died at the hands of police.
Woods’ body had 20 gunshot wounds, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.
San Francisco Police Commissioner Victor Hwang said the department was already moving to use such techniques before the Dec. 2 death of Woods, but the violent Bayview killing has spurred the department to reform.
“You can see that the Mario Woods case has already had impact,” Hwang said.
The new training techniques are aimed at teaching officers not to open fire when their fellow officers do, in order to prevent multiple shots at the same time, according to Hwang.
“Now, during each stage of fire, they fire no more than two rounds per stage,” said Cpt. Gregory Yee, who commands the police academy.
Additionally, officers are being trained to ask questions of other officers when they arrive on a scene, instead of pulling out their guns if other officers already have their weapons drawn.
“Back in October, we started looking at training-based [best practices],” Yee said.
After Woods’ death at the hands of five officers, Mayor Ed Lee directed the San Francisco Police Department to begin the process of reforming its use-of-force policies to ensure de-escalation techniques and the sanctity of life are at the forefront of police tactics.
The federal Community Oriented Policing Services office has also agreed to review the SFPD’s practices as well. Their first community listening session is set for Feb. 24.