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Sammy Yatim boards a streetcar in Toronto on July 26, 2013, in this still taken from court handout surveillance video.HO/The Canadian Press

All officers have to undergo yearly training that includes "stress-inoculation" designed to help them manage volatile or threatening situations, a ranking member of the Toronto police service testified Thursday.

Deputy Chief Michael Federico, a 43-year veteran of the Toronto force, also testified that officers are taught they have a duty to prevent death and serious injury, as well as a duty to both obey and enforce the law.

"Protection of life is paramount," Federico told court. "It's fundamental."

Federico's evidence came at the trial of Const. James Forcillo, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and attempted murder in the death of Sammy Yatim, 18, whom the officer gunned down on an empty streetcar in July 2013.

Yatim died after being hit by eight of nine shots the officer fired at him in a videotaped killing that shocked the city.

As a representative of Forcillo's employer, Federico made it clear he would not be offering an opinion on the officer's conduct in killing Yatim.

Instead, the prosecution said he would only be testifying on police use of force for which he was formally qualified as an expert. That expertise includes de-escalation techniques and training, jurors heard.

Training attempts to recreate stressful scenarios that might induce normal human reactions such as rapid heart beat or sweaty palms as a way to teach an officer how to deal with such symptoms, Federico said.

But every case is different, he said.

"We couldn't possibly anticipate every situation. There's no recipe or formula," Federico testified. "There are principles that are sound; there are general practices that have proven to be effective."

Officers are also given legal training that includes Criminal Code provisions that they may only use deadly force to stop a killing or serious injury.

Federico continues testifying Friday.

Earlier Thursday, one of Forcillo's lawyers tried to show jurors that the officer could have been closer to the teen than previously estimated.

Lawyer Lawrence Gridin pressed expert witness Eugenio Liscio to use margins of error to estimate the distance between Forcillo and Yatim.

Ultimately, Liscio came up with a minimum of 2.66 metres from the tip of Yatim's knife blade to the officer's gun-hand — about a metre less than what he had previously testified was the likely distance using 3D computer modelling.

"This is an extreme estimate," Liscio testified, adding video of the incident shows Yatim's arm was not outstretched.

After a round of legal wrangling, defence and prosecutor agreed the appropriate distance between Forcillo and Yatim for jury purposes should be about 2.77 metres.

Either way, Gridin suggested, Yatim could have leapt off the streetcar where he was shot and stabbed Forcillo within a second and a half.