Sunday, July 14, 2013

Homeless With a Knife

A homeless, mentally ill man was shot to death when he confronted six police officers with a knife.  Homeless, mentally ill people can be very dangerous.  They can also be very unpredictable.  It is important to maintain distance from such people when they are obviously armed.  A man with a knife can cover 20 feet or more and stab an officer in most cases before the subject could be shot and fall to the ground. 

One technique is to keep your police car between yourself and the suspect.  In this case the suspect was in a parking lot, it should not be too difficult to park your car sideways to the suspect and talk to him over the hood of your car.  With three to six patrol cars the suspect could be almost surrounded.  A man armed with a knife is at a great disadvantage if he has to climb over a police car to get at you.  In fact, you could simply remain in your car and use the public address system to order him to drop the knife. 

Less lethal weapons such as PepperBalls, bean bag shotgun, rubber bullets can be very helpful in a situation like this one.  The Taser is limited because the range is very short, often only about 15 feet.  However, if the patrol car were deployed as a barrier the suspect could be allowed to get closer and then be hit with the Taser darts.  I am sure these officers had no evil intent.  The way to avoid shootings of this type is for agencies to properly train and equip their officers before this type of event; that's what the SGT Says.

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