South Carolina may end untrained police officers on regular patrols

SOUTH CAROLINA — South Carolina lawmakers worry newer police officers could be putting themselves and others in danger.

Right now, officers with no prior training can patrol by themselves in their first year on the job. This policy has been around for decades because of the long wait times for academy training.

But, there is a new house bill to end that policy.

The proposal would only allow an officer without the certification earned through 12 weeks of training to patrol or arrest someone if they are with a certified officer.

“Just because you can shoot a gun is not proper training,” Republican Rep. Eddie Tallon said.

The training includes instruction on the law, firearms, tactics to remain safe, strategies for keeping the peace and order and de-escalating problems.

It is in response to an officer who was shot and killed last month at the Florence Regional Airport.

Officer Jackson Winkeler was untrained, but he pulled over a car and the driver James Bell is accused of killing him.

Bell is still behind bars and is facing murder and armed robbery charges.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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