Archive for the ‘Use of Force’ Category

Policy, training, tactics

October 18, 2017

This 4-minute St. Louis public radio story and article discuss the role of policy, training, and tactics in deadly force situations. Public pressure is currently focused on tightening policies, but experts think unnecessary police shootings result more often from poor tactics such as failing to use distance and cover.


LAPD recognizes bravery & restraint

September 29, 2017

This article reports the LAPD’s annual ceremony recognizing heroic actions by officers. For the second year, awards included using restraint when fatal force might have been justified, a category that was initially criticized by the police union but now seems to have gained acceptance.

Who owns the streets?

September 26, 2017

This column provides a journalist’s personal account of being assaulted and detained in St. Louis on Sunday. This commentary┬ásays the events were a police riot and notes that others assaulted by police included an undercover officer and an Air Force lieutenant walking with his wife in his home neighborhood. The city’s mayor criticized┬ápolice chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!” and the acting chief saying “we owned the night.”

Handling protests

September 13, 2017

Nice 12-minute radio interview from Phoenix, where police used tear gas and pepper balls recently to disperse protesters after a small group threw rocks and bottles, and where the department is now holding a series of listening sessions with the community. Highlights the challenge of maintaining safety and security when tensions are high and public views are so divided.

Risk acceptance

September 8, 2017

In this column an army major draws some parallels between soldiers and police in regard to facing danger and accepting risk. He notes that statements made by police sometimes seem to place more value on their own lives than those of others, contradicting moral and professional codes.

Prosecutors need policies too

September 7, 2017

This article discusses the challenges that officer-involved shootings present for elected prosecutors, and argues in favor of having a formal protocol in place before an incident occurs. It also stresses the importance of engaging law enforcement and other stakeholders in the policy-development process.

Taser deaths

August 22, 2017

This article begins a series from Reuters on deaths associated with conducted-energy devices (Tasers). The company cites a total of 24 deaths resulting from Taser use since 1983, all due to falls or electrical fires. Examining autopsy findings, though, the news agency identified 153 cases (out of 1,000+ fatalities) citing the stun gun as a cause or contributing factor. The first installment highlights several deaths involving persons who were in mental health or other medical distress.

Re-engineering the traffic stop

August 12, 2017

This column recounts efforts to improve after-action review of officer-involved shootings, based on methods used in aviation and medicine, with less emphasis on finding a person to blame and more on identifying system errors that can be fixed in order to prevent future tragedies. The writer notes that many shootings arise from traffic stops, and wonders whether changes to basic police SOPs could make vehicle stops safer for both officers and the public.

Progress in New Orleans

August 8, 2017

New Orleans signed a U.S. Department of Justice consent decree in 2013, requiring reforms overseen by a federal judge. Monitoring was extended for 3 years this week with an expectation that it will cease in 2020 if full compliance is achieved in 2018 and then sustained, according to this article. The order cites “significant improvement in almost every area of the consent decree, including policies, training, supervision, custodial interrogations, sexual assault and domestic violence investigations, uses of force, use of force reporting and use of force investigations.”

Police leaders reject President’s remarks

July 30, 2017

Several police leaders have repudiated President Trump’s recent speech before a Long Island, NY police audience. In his statement, Chief Thomas Manger of the Major City-County Chiefs Association says “those remarks just confirmed to those who don’t like or trust the police that we give a wink and a nod to excessive force. We don’t. And anyone that does should not be wearing a badge.” He adds “As a cop for the past 40 years, I was appalled when I heard the President of the United States condone injuring an individual in police custody. This violates our Constitution, our Department policy, and the public trust.”