TPD claims training stories fell short - WNCN: News, Weather

TPD claims training stories fell short

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Jason Turk was shot on January 9th by TPD. Jason Turk was shot on January 9th by TPD.
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    An 8 On Your Side investigation into police shooting and the lack of Crisis Intervention Team training at the Tampa police department is not sitting well with T.P.D.Police spokesperson Laura McElroy sent an email to News Channel 8 management with the subject line labeled, "The Rest of the Story
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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

The Tampa Police Department is responding to an 8 On Your Side investigation into a January shooting.

The police contend the reports were incomplete and contained errors.

Read Email TPD sent to WFLA-TV managers

The stories focused on a January 9th police shooting in Tampa and the lack of crisis intervention team training at T.P.D.

8 On Your Side's reports were based on the Tampa police department's own records.

Jason Turk told his wife he was thinking about ending his life. He had a gun in his car.

8 On Your Side's reports stated 19 police officers responded to the scene.

Tampa police spokesperson Laura McElroy sent an email to News Channel 8 managers entitled, "The Rest Of The Story," disputing the reports.

She claimed only 8 cops were dispatched.

And "All 8 of them have completed courses on dealing with the mentally ill."

The 9-1-1 recording of the call from Amanda Turk states there were more than 8 officers headed to the scene.

Amanda Turk: "And you've got 8 officers heading over?"

9-1-1 Operator: "Uh yes a few more than that now."

Amanda Turk: "Oh wow."

9-1-1 Operator: "We have a priority response any time there's a weapon involved in anything."

Tampa police records reflect 19 police officers gave statements or interviews about their participation in this incident.

Read Entire TPD report HERE

McElroy is correct, officers did have some training for people with mental illness. About one hour. Not the 40 hours required for Crisis Intervention Team training.

C-I-T training specializes in preparing cops to deal with mentally disturbed people.

Thousands of law enforcement agencies, including the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office embrace the program.

According to C-I-T leader Don Turnbaugh, T.P.D does not.

"They are conspicuous by their absence in the program," Turnbaugh said.

McElroy's email goes on to say that Amanda Turk shared with 9-1-1 that her husband said, "He could point his gun at police to commit suicide by cop."

Contrary to McElroy's creative writing, Amanda Turk did not mention pointing a gun or suicide by cop.

This is the excerpt from the 9-1-1 call:

Amanda Turk: "He knows if he doesn't drop his gun the cops will shoot him."

Within 4 minutes of arriving on scene that night, officer Tim Bergman shot Jason Turk in the face.

McElroy stated, "Turk threatened the lives of the officers."

Threatening the lives of officers is a felony. Jason Turk was not charged with a crime.

McElroy also quoted excerpts from a May interview with officer Bergman that said Jason Turk pointed his gun toward police officers and that is why he fired.

That is different than the statement Bergman gave the night of the shooting when he told investigators he could not see in which direction the muzzle of the gun was pointed.

Her email also points out the state attorney determined the shooting was justified, a fact 8 On Your Side reported 3 times previously.

The focus 8 On Your Side's reports, was that the Tampa police department chose for years not to send its officers to Crisis Intervention Team training, even though it encounters more mentally ill people on the street than it does robbers and crooks.

It started sending officers to C-I-T after 8 On Your Side began asking questions about the Turk shooting.

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