Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Who's the Victim?

Officer involved shootings are difficult for agencies, as well as for the officers involved. The concern should primarily focus on the officer. The first thing to remember is the suspect is the suspect and the officer is either the officer or the victim. Even if the officer shot the suspect and the officer escaped harm, the officer is still the victim. The officer only had to shoot in response to a perceived deadly threat presented by the suspect. So even if the suspect ends up seriously wounded or killed, it is still the officer who is the victim. It is not about the final result, it is about who initiated the series of events that lead to the shooting.

The suspect always has the opportunity to lay down his weapons and come out with his hands up. The officer has no such option. The officer is following his training, his supervisors instructions, his departmental policies, the law and his own good judgement. All of that is designed to minimize the potential for injury to himself, the general public, and yes, even to the suspect.

When an officer is investigating a stolen car, he is performing his duty. When the driver of that car pulls out a gun and threatens the officer, it is the suspect who has made the decision to move to the level of a potentially deadly encounter. At that point the officer becomes the victim of an assault, or even of attempted murder. The officer is no longer investigating a stolen car, he is defending his life against attack by the suspect. The officer has become the victim of an unprovoked attack and is simply defending himself, as all victims have a right to do; that's what the SGT Says.


Protect_and_Serve said...

If there was any justice, the bad guy (or his estate, family or insurance) would instantly owe the Cop $10,000 for stress for causing the incident.

Bunkermeister said...

Many officers are now suing the suspect when they are attacked, especially if they are injured.