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How are officers trained to handle crime while off duty?

(WQOW) – Tragedy like what happened in Racine and Milwaukee shows officers can be put in danger even when off duty.

Officials at CVTC’s Law Enforcement Academy told News 18 they would have responded the exact same way John Hetland did when he was shot and killed trying to stop an armed robber on Monday night.

More: Racine officer killed trying to stop armed robbery suspect

Law enforcement instructors said responding while off-duty can be broken down into use of force and safety of the situation.

Sometimes a situation may only require an officer to identify themselves, others could require physical action.

In some cases, an officer may decide they could better serve as a witness for when on-duty officers arrive.

“If they find themselves in a situation where there is the threat of death or bodily harm to another person, they would in most cases, I would say, take some sort of enforcement action to protect themselves or another person,” said CVTC Law Enforcement Academy Director Eric Anderson.

Off-duty officers are allowed to conceal carry, but Anderson said qualifications and handling protocol is up to each agency.

Officers have the statutory authority to enforce the law on duty or off, but there is no obligation to intervene.

Anderson said it often comes down to heart and whatever that officer may feel is right.

Related Story: Milwaukee officer killed in crash

Samantha Wensel

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