Heartfelt sympathies go out to the police under this policy/leadership.
It sucks working for people who don’t understand the reality of a lethal force encounter. People who don’t understand how little time is available for the right decision, how dynamic and fluid situations are in real life vs on paper, in the book, or in some scripted scenario/video trainer.
While this is indeed “an alternative…” it certainly won’t be applied in a way that “preserves life.” I can’t imagine a more ridiculous statement in regards to firearms and the credible use of lethal force.
It set’s the public up with unrealistic expectations.
Firearms are NOT a less than lethal option, anyone who tells you different is ignorant, run – don’t walk away.
You can’t guarantee less-than-lethal from a lethal weapon – hence the term – lethal force/weapon.
Hell, you can’t even guarantee less than lethal for tools meant and sold as such (go ahead, Google “man killed after being tasered” or “… after being shot by bean bag round”). To even suggest such a thing sets unrealistic expectations and is as irresponsible as it is fallacious.
Any time you inflict real trauma into a human being it is unrealistic to assume that just because it’s not in the head or thoracic cavity it will be less than lethal (i.e., sever an artery and your suspect still bleeds out rather quickly – as we see all too often in mass shootings).
Even punching someone in the gut can kill them.
More importantly, while lethal force is rarely the option, when it is the option it is the ONLY option.
If lethal force is not authorized it shouldn’t be used. If it is authorized and needed then the need is instant, not some point in the future – imminent. If the need is instant then no lesser means will do right now, and if no lesser means will do right now, that means you need the suspect’s actions to stop right NOW, or else you would still be using less than lethal means. If you need him to stop right now (i.e., he’s in the middle of shooting/stabbing, etc, other innocent people will likely die (again, immediate vs. imminent) then lethal force (the only kind of force firearms can dish out) is appropriate.
It’s not a realistic training goal.
Training to shoot to “disarm” is unrealistic because hands and arms are tiny targets that tend to move rather quickly in a lethal force encounter (see the video below). Under the stress of a lethal force encounter, precision shooting goes out the window (what’s your department’s current hit rate in gunfights?). Do you really want your officers shooting at mainly empty space – flinging rounds into God knows what or whom in a fight for life as they attempt to hit the fastest moving part of a human being’s extremities in an attempt to “disarm”?
Again, what’s your department’s current hit rate in gunfights?
You’re setting your officers up for failure on the street when they have to shoot a determined suspect multiple times for a failure to stops.
This policy sets your officers up for failure in the courtroom – for using what now seems like excessive force when they have to shoot a determined opponent multiple times in order to stop his actions.
And it stands a very real chance to harm the officer’s mental health (PTSD) when the suspect still dies and they have to go through the trauma of killing someone when their training taught them that lethal force could be applied non lethally via a firearm. It is especially true when they only intended to stop the suspect through “wounding” and “injuring” them but stopping the bad guy took too long and therefore other innocents died.
It exposes the officer to unnecessary risk and they will pay the price with their lives when the suspects won’t follow the same rules of shooting “disarm or injure.”
Selling this type of snake oil as public policy certainly won’t inspire “public trust and confidence” when this policy goes terribly wrong, and it will – because such a blatant disregard for the reality of lethal force incidents inevitably will crumble like your SNS in a fight for life.
The article mentions that “The department is hoping other law enforcement agencies follow their lead.”
Since it defies logic, reason, and displays an utter disregard for the reality of police work when it comes to lethal force encounters. I can’t imagine any serious department even considering it.