Sometimes even training exercises can lead to injuries. A University of Maryland Police recruit who was shot in the head during a training exercise has now filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit, reported Police Magazine. The lawsuit names the city, county and individual officers involved in the training.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Officer Rodney Gray was shot in the head during an unauthorized firearms exercise. Baltimore police training supervisor William Kern, 46, was charged by a grand jury with misdemeanor counts of second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. Gray was training with city officers at an abandoned psychiatric hospital named the Rosewood Center in Owings Mills, when Kern shot him in the head at approximately 2:30 p.m.
The news source reported that Kern has claimed that he thought he was firing Simunition rounds. The other officers involved in the incident have been suspended as the Baltimore Police Department completes an internal investigation of the incident. Following strict regulations and requiring each individual to have completed training certifications that are stored in a legally defensible database is crucial for everyone's safety.
Immediately following the incident, many people had questions, including Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts, who spent hours at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center with the injured officer.
"I probably have more questions than you have. It's going to take time to get answers to those questions because, for me, it's unacceptable," Batts said during a press conference at 9 p.m. the same day as the incident, according to the news source. "We're going to take the time to dig to make this better so we don't have this happen again."
City Councilman Brandon M. Scott, vice chairman of the public safety committee, expressed his concern following the shooting.
"It's an unspeakable tragedy, but there are a lot of questions that need to answered," he said. "I will do everything in my power that we find out what happened and that something like this never happens again."
Following the shooting, Batts suspended all police academy operations and training programs pending a safety review.
The Baltimore Sun reported that retired Lt. Col. Michael Andrew, who oversaw the city's SWAT teams, claims that live ammunition is rarely used in any training scenario. In addition, most guns that are used during training are marked with red handles and have no magazines or firing pins.
The multi-million dollar lawsuit is the latest development in the case. Keeping track of educators' training certifications with compliance software can better ensure that the right level of experience is held by those teaching new recruits and that proof is easily accessible. Lawsuits like this can leave a department and individuals open to severe financial and career difficulties. Methodically tracking compliance with training and certification standards can allow departments and training academies to avoid costly litigation by spotting problems before they escalate.
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