Sunday, March 14, 2010

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

We make choices every day. Police have a lot of discretionary power. Give this person a warning. Write them a ticket. Take them to jail. Ignore it and hope they go away. Each of these police activities take place after someone else has made a decision to break the law.

When we make the decision to take them to jail, they are then faced with a second decision to make. Will they submit to our authority or will they resist? If they choose to submit, hands behind your back, handcuffs on, cursory search for weapons, in the police car, off to jail, and no one gets their hair mussed.

If the suspect decided to resist, then it is the officers turn to make a decision. What level of force is reasonably necessary to take this person into custody? I don't want to get hurt. I don't want to hurt any third parties, I want to subdue the suspect but don't want to hurt them more than I have to in order to take them into custody. I may need to pepper spray them. I may need to zap them with the Taser. I may need to hit them with my baton. I might even have to shoot them. The decision of the officer will be precipitated by the decision of the suspect to resist the lawful commands of the officer. It is the suspect who will start the escalation, it is the duty of the officer to end it; that's what the SGT Says.


Bob G. said...

Like we used to say:

"Attitude IS Everything"...!
(on both sides of the shield)

Bunkermeister said...

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.