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Proper Training Essential

An incident in Cleveland two years ago is giving us some insight into just how difficult it is to properly train a police officer for all the situations he or she might encounter once they begin work in the real world.

In a twist, this officer-involved shooting was a friendly fire incident. And now Bailey Gannon is being sued by his former partner, Jennifer Kilnapp, who says Gannon panicked and “blindly” shot her when they confronted a man standing in a boarding house bathroom with a gun, according to a federal lawsuit.

Kilnapp says Gannon — after he opened a second-floor bathroom door without warning of police presence — saw the man whose handgun was at his side, pointed at the floor, and ran. In fleeing down the steps, he seems to have recklessly fired a shot from over his head. That shot hit Kilnapp, severely injuring her and leaving her unable to return to duty.

Further, she alleges Gannon later lied to investigators about the man with the gun, claiming he was holding it with both hands and pointing it toward the door.

If the allegations in the lawsuit are accurate, Gannon should have been disciplined. But according to the lawsuit, he was not.

Could different training have helped Gannon avoid such a horrific mistake? Perhaps. It is always easy to make such assumptions in hindsight. What is certain, however, is that the incident hammers home how important it is for new law enforcement officers to receive the best, most extensive and thorough training possible.

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