Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Shooting Policy


A police department has a new policy that says officers are never to shoot at a vehicle unless the occupants are a deadly threat with a weapon other than the vehicle.  So if someone tries to run down and kill a police officer, the officer is not permitted to shoot the driver of the vehicle.

There are several problems with this policy.  If an officer is in fear of his life and he shoots the driver, will he be fired?  Will the agency be sued and face greater liability or less liability because of their policy?  If the officer does not shoot and is injured or killed, will he or his heirs sue?  Will the agency have liability for that? 

What if the lives of third parties are in danger and the officer does not shoot?  Suppose someone says that if the officer had fired, the dead innocent bystander might have lived?  Police use of force policies should allow the officer the greatest possible discretion under state and federal law.  Officers should be trained and skilled enough to make those decisions; that's what the SGT Says.

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