By JEFFREY COLLINS
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's top law enforcement officer spotted an alarming trend while reviewing shootings by police in the state: increasingly, the suspect's only weapon was the vehicle they were driving.
State Law Enforcement Division statistics showed 13 shootings each in 2014 and 2015 in which the officer considered a suspect's vehicle to be a weapon, almost double the average for the four years prior.
So SLED Chief Mark Keel instituted a new emphasis in training for anyone becoming a police officer in South Carolina.
Officers are told to position themselves so they can't be hit by cars. Instructors also emphasize that almost all drivers don't want to harm officers, even if they don't want to be arrested. And they're reminded that a fleeing suspect will likely be more safely arrested soon.