Deciding When to Fire: Union Says Omaha Police Undergo Intense Training

Hours after Omaha's police chief addressed the fatal shooting of robbery suspect, Daniel Elrod, the attorney representing the Eldrod's widow says it's happening too often.

In August, two people were killed during a robbery at the Wendy's off Dodge Street. Police say the suspect, there, was armed with this realistic-looking pellet gun.

And in January, two officers fatally shot a woman who police say was armed with several knives.

James Martin Davis, Elrod's attorney, says, "That's 4 deaths in 7 months. The community needs to talk to police about that. About training and making these officers know when they can and cannot shoot."

The head of the Omaha police union tells WOWT that the training is intense.

Sergeant John Wells, the president of the union, says, "If you fail so many tests or you can't pass these tests, you're gone."

First, there's academy training, in which both live and simulated scenarios are presented.

Then there's field training, where the training officer is paired up with an experienced officer who monitors and helps guide all decision-making.

Then there's recurrent training, which lasts all throughout an officer's career.

Police say they had contact with Elrod for one minute and 38 seconds after responding to a robbery call. Sergeant Wells says the time means nothing. He says the question is whether there was a reason to shoot.

Sergeant Wells says, "Officers aren't blood thirsty. We don't want to have to do this anymore than anyone else would."

Police say Elrod said numerous times that he had a gun, but his wife says she thought she heard him say he was unarmed.

Sitting beside her attorney, she says, "All I can tell you, really, is that I miss him, and I love him, and they took my whole world from me."

Omaha Police Chief, Todd Schmaderer, says officer Alvin Lugod is currently, on paid, administrative leave and will continue to be until both the Grand Jury proceedings and an internal investigation is complete.