Fatal C. Oregon police standoffs rare, tragic

Authorities say deadly force is last option

C.O. police train for dangerous situations

BEND, Ore. - On Tuesday night, Deschutes County sheriff's deputies said they returned gunfire, killing an armed woman near Redmond. Fatal officer-involved shootings are a rare occurrence in Central Oregon and one CERT team organizer said Wednesday using force is the last option.

In a standoff situation, police never know what the suspect will do. The Community Emergency Response Team trains for hostile scenarios, but when someone's life is in danger, they say it can be a split-second decision.   

"It's stressful for all officers involved," said CERT Assistant Team Commander Sgt. Brian Beekman. "An extremely difficult situation that you can't (fully) simulate."

On Tuesday night, responding officers shot and killed a Redmond woman, as she fired at them.  

"I've been a police officer for 12 years, and I've never met a police officer who wants to use force, lethal force," said Beekman. "That's the furthest thing from our minds and a last result in a situation."

There hasn't been a deadly officer-involved shooting in Central Oregon since 2008, when the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team was on the scene of a drug deal.

"At the time, the drug detective involved, it was his belief that the person inside the vehicle was reaching for a weapon," said Beekman. "And he fired rounds into the vehicle."

Authorities say they emphasize strong communication in dangerous situations, team up in two-man pairs, and they're supplied with a long list of equipment, like armored plates and vehicles. But some situations still end tragically.

"No one wants to ever be in that type of situation, but unfortunately, sometimes our officers are forced into it," said Beekman.

The CERT team trains twice a month for several situations.  They also take part in dealing with mental health crisis calls.

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