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View Full Version : simple scenario, need opinions.


GLP Standard
January 15, 2008, 10:58 AM
Ah...how I love these scenarios. This shouldnt be a tough one. I was discussing with a co-worker last night what we would do in a situation like this. I'm an Air Force contractor for Security Forces at the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range in southern Arizona. Granted, we are nothing more than certified "Security Guards" (I prefer the term Security Officer, it sounds less degrading) but we do carry AR-15s when we have aircraft on the ramp, as well as Taurus PT92AR's.

Now for my question: We drive down SR-85 between Gila Bend and Ajo a lot (a 40 mile stretch) when we are working Range Patrol. Say we are driving along, and we see a DPS Officer with a vehicle pulled over on the side of the road. As we're driving up, we see that the Officer is fighting with the driver, who is now out of his vehicle, and has struck the Officer, knocking him to the ground. The Officer is helpless, as the driver takes his gun from his duty holster, and points it at the Officer, attempting to finish the job. Would it be justified to stop the truck, and drop the suspect?

The guy I was discussing this with asked our Chief of Security Forces the same question, and he was leaning towards a "no" answer, but said that its ultimately a decision he would have to make on the spot. I was trained that to have a clear case of justifiable self defense, 4 questions must be answered correctly. The questions, and answers are as follows:
1. Was I or someone else in imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death?
Yes
2. Would a person of ordinary firmness agree with my actions?
Yes
3. Was I the instigator or aggressor who provoked the conflict?
No
4. Was the amount of force used excessive?
No

Seems pretty cut and dry to me, but couldnt they try and argue that just by showing up, I was an instigator or an aggressor? I mean, my supervisor (even as full of sh*t as I think he is sometimes) always tells us that just showing a presence in our uniforms is considered a use of force.

One more question: Everyone there is pretty much under the agreement that if we ever had to use our weapons to defend ourselves, we would be terminated without question, whether it were justified or not. What are your thoughts on this? Its a contracted company who is only in it for the money, not for the safety of their employees unfortunately. Everyones logic behind this, is that they would from that point on see you as a loose cannon, and they would feel that having you as an employee is a liability. Can a contract company like this even legally terminate someone for doing their job, and defending someone or themselves when a court found it to 100% justifiable?

JBriggs
January 15, 2008, 11:24 AM
The ability to terminate would be based on your contract with the company. Does your contract state that termination can only be for cause or that termination is "at the will" of the company? If for cause, there must be a valid, justifiable reason for termination and what is a valid and justifiable reason would probably be set forth in the company policy manual. The term "at will" means that the employee is an employee at the will of the employer and can be fired for almost any reason, justified of not. There are a few exceptions to the "at will" rule, things like gender, age and racial discrimination and so on.

john in jax
January 15, 2008, 02:30 PM
Drop the perp, save the cop - whether you loose your job or not, it is a no-brainer.

A guy here in Jacksonville, FL worked for an apartment complex as a leasing agent and also lived in the complex. He woke up very early one morning (probably because of a gunshot) and heard a woman in the breezeway outside his apartment calling for help and saying she had been shot. He grabbed his hunting shotgun out of the closet and went to help. The shooter, the lady's boyfriend was gone, so out leasing agent handed his shotgun to a neighbor and stated first aid on a very serious thigh wound. It was a serious wound that both the EMT's and hospital say would have taken her life without his quick selfless actions.

Covered in blood he had to spend hours being interviewed first by patrolmen and then by detectives. Still in shock he showered and fell into bed.

In the morning, it all seemed unreal - like a bad dream, but he went into work only to be raked over the coals by his boss and FIRED for "bringing a gun into the workplace". Total BS. he never went anywhere near the office and the Corp. Office later changed their tune to say he was negligent in not reporting the incident to his boss IMMEDIATELY.

The police, the EMT's, the hospital and entire community were calling the guy a hero and thanking him for caring enough do do something for someone in need but that stupid, head-up-its-rump corporation would not let him stay.

When word got out that our HERO was un-employed, he started getting job offers from all over.

If your employer/company fires and/or won't stand behind a person for doing the right thing, for aiding another, for saving a life - - do you really want to be working for them?

BikerRN
January 15, 2008, 02:52 PM
You will probably be fired, get used to it.

You may be shown as a hero by the local media, that helps if you are fired. If you are a hero and hailed by the local media as one, it may cause the company you work for to receive some "negative" publicity if they fire you. Heck, I'm an LEO and I expect to be fired and prosecuted if I use my weapon. That way, I prepare for the absolute worst that can happen, short of my death, and cover all my bases before I shoot.

Survive the fight, then survive the courtroom. I was looking for a job when I found this one. I can always find another job, maybe not the one I want, but a job. If I get fired and I was "righteous" in my actions I will of course be looking "to be made whole" in a resulting lawsuit that I will file for being wrongfully terminated.

This is one of the many reasons why I say that I will only help an IDENTIFIED LEO or family when I am off duty by engaging in gunfire. For anything else all I can see myself doing is being a good witness and summoning the "On Duty" LEO's to the scene as I try to escape the situation. Sometimes though you are forced to use the "tool of last resort". For me I can assure you that my guns are most definately a "tool of last resort".

Biker

BTW: Your boss is an IDIOT to say that your uniform is a "Use Of Force". The uniform is a "presence". I can see how the pencil pushing geeks who write policy, but never have to impliment it, would see otherwise though. Force is a verb, it requires some sort of action on your part. The action can be verbal commands, striking someone with a closed fist, hitting someone with a baton, pepper spraying a nefarious creature of human creation or even shooting a firearm. I guess you could call the uniform a "display of force" but not a "use of force".

Th0r
January 15, 2008, 02:52 PM
Sometimes you just have to do what is right. Whatever the consequences of your actions. If a cop is killed and you didnt stop, you are as guilty as the man who killed the cop. In a scenariob like the one you described I would shoot to wound and remove the gun from the suspect.

BikerRN
January 15, 2008, 03:03 PM
I would only shoot to stop never wound.

If I shoot and the action stops I don't care if I missed my target as long as the action stops. Be very careful with your words. The fact that you were "shooting to wound" could be construed as, "The threat didn't warrant deadly force." Now you are up the creek without the proverbial paddle, not a good place to be.

With the two L.E. Agencies I have worked for we were always taught to "stop the threat", never to wound or kill.

Biker

GLP Standard
January 15, 2008, 03:34 PM
I would without a doubt drop the perp where he stood. Theres no doubt about it. I wouldnt stand by and watch a sworn LEO be murdered in cold blood knowing that I have the power to do something about it. No matter what the consequences, I would do whats right and help out my fellow man. We were just discussing it, and it was a good question.

As far as my supervisor being an idiot...youre right ;) He doesnt write policy, hes just a means for management to implement rules when they cant be there. He takes his job way too seriously, and hes not much older than I am (23 years old). I honestly cant even look up to him as a supervisor, or a leader of any kind. I hope hes not a member of these boards :rolleyes:

bushidomosquito
January 15, 2008, 03:37 PM
I'm a HVAC tech and I have many tools given to me by my employer to do my job. If they said "This particular pair of wire cutters is only to be used as a last resort and will result in your termination" I would consider them crazy and seek other employment. The guns are tools and if you are expected to carry them on duty, then you should be allowed to use them for their intended purpose without fear of being fired. Most police shootings result in the officer being placed on paid leave (vacation) which is in keeping with an "innocent until proven guilty" mindset. If every applicant told your emp. to stick their stupid policy (how does defending yourself make you a loose cannon:confused:) they would reconsider. Why work for a security company which has already told you that you would be thrown under the buss when the SHTF? The fact that you were fired won't look good in the civil and possible criminal cases that would follow so the emp. has basically informed you that they would take more than your job. If I were you I'd be reaching for the want ads.

Try this; Tell your employer that you would like to go on duty unarmed or carry only a taser gun because your main concern is "all about the money" and you don't want to loose your job and see what they say. If they can be concerned only with the money they make then why can't you.

One other thing; If I found out that the security company I had hired had a policy like this in place, I would fire them on the spot. Rent-a cops already have their hands tied enough without the fear of being fired behind every judgement they make.

rampage841512
January 15, 2008, 04:13 PM
Threat needs to be ended. Period. You're right, it is clear cut. It would suck about the job, but I think it would be worth it. And you could probably put in an application with the DPS. I'm sure the guy whose life you saved would be willing to give you a reference.

Hook686
January 15, 2008, 10:38 PM
I prefered it when SAC Security handled USAF security matters. Same might be true for Army & Marine security concerns. I am not a supporter of Regan privatization practices. I much prefered the military man/woman as the primary military security force.

As I recall in those days, the security troops would tell me shooting someone, under duty conditions, and being tried for a crime, up to and including murder, being found guilty, fined $2 (the price of a carton of cigarettes) and then given a carton of cigarettes and transfered to another base . The reasoning being, they cannot be tried again for the same crime and they are removed from the location where friends, or family might be interested in dealing with them.

Some of what you express seems similar to me, if you use your weapon, you are out of the organization ... however the transfer option does not seem to be there. Unfortunately, the double jeopardy does not seem to be eliminated.

Tough position. Like I said I prefered the days that the military was really the military.

PS: Undr today's situation, I'd just keep driving.

Hook686
January 15, 2008, 10:52 PM
... GLP Standard post.



... I would without a doubt drop the perp where he stood. Theres no doubt about it. I wouldnt stand by and watch a sworn LEO be murdered in cold blood knowing that I have the power to do something about it. No matter what the consequences, I would do whats right and help out my fellow man. We were just discussing it, and it was a good question. ....

Afterwards you learn the guy in the uniform was a terrorist attempting illegal penetration of a military facility. The guy in civilian attire was (I don't know the current desigation, but back in the 60's he would be maybe Office of Special Investigations, OSI). So you shot the good guy and the bad guy got free. Are you happy with this scenario now ?

Tanzer
January 16, 2008, 08:25 AM
As hook686 pointed out, no brainers are seldom no brainers.

easyG
January 16, 2008, 10:52 AM
Shoot the guy holding the pistol.

threegun
January 16, 2008, 11:55 AM
Lets see the officer dies if you delay. You delay on the slightest of odds that a uniformed officer seemingly being attacked by a badguy is really a terrorist in disguise being subdued by a plain clothed officer. I'm going to eliminate the guy pointing the gun at the guy dressed in an officers uniform lying next to his cruiser.

shinnery jim
January 16, 2008, 12:23 PM
that actually happened here in Texas back in the 70s. Only the BG was stopped py the DPS on a lonely highway out side of San Angleo, he struggled with the officer and took his gun. A farther and son were on there way home from a hunting trip. they stopped about 75 yards from the action and the father grabbed his deer rifle out of the trunk. He took careful aim at the BG and shot him. NOt a hard shot. but the BG had already emtied the officers sevice revolver into him.
they ran up to the DPS and there was nothing that could be done for him. another car coming the other way had seen the whole thing but didnt stop. but the mans son got the liecence number off it as it went by.
they got back in their car and drove right back to San Angleo and straight to the DPS headquarters and ask to speak to the boss. the officer at the desk ask why and they explained what had happened. they were taken into the office of the commander and ask for the whole story. they gave them the whole thing.
In the mean time the chief had sent out people to check on the whole thing. when he heard of the wittness he sent a car to locate them too
didnt have to look far though, the lady driving the car came to the office on her own, she had gone to the police first,and been told it was under the DPS jurisdiction.
the commander of the DPS kept the man and his son in his office the whole time. he allowed no one but his second in command in there. and never released the name of the man and his son, not even to the other officers.
when it was determanded that his story was true the commander told the man to go home and not to discuss what had happened. That he would take it to the DA and if they needed him that he would be contacted.
This was a big story at the time,but the man and his son were never identified. but the DPS did take up a collection and present the man a custom 1911 engraved with "with gratitude form the DPS'.
true story and glad he was man enough to stop and help

Perldog007
January 16, 2008, 12:29 PM
Your boss is an IDIOT to say that your uniform is a "Use Of Force". The uniform is a "presence".

Respectfully disagree. Anybody who has taken the Monadnock pr24/expandable baton or Defensive Tactics course knows that the use of force continuum starts with Uniformed Presence and ends with Deadly Force.

Training at Trump Plaza Security in Atlantic City we were also taught that the mere presence of Uniformed Security Guards (even ones in purple pants with pink "blood" stripes) could be considered a use of force. The example we were given was a little old lady suddenly surrounded by Uniformed Guards to the point were the subject was unreasonably intimidated could be construed as excessive force.

I don't make this stuff up, just report it.

So maybe the brother's boss is an IDIOT who has taken a class or two :cool:

Th0r
January 16, 2008, 01:27 PM
I would only shoot to stop never wound.

If I shoot and the action stops I don't care if I missed my target as long as the action stops. Be very careful with your words. The fact that you were "shooting to wound" could be construed as, "The threat didn't warrant deadly force." Now you are up the creek without the proverbial paddle, not a good place to be.


I omitted to mention that I would almost certainly fire a warning shot. Chances are that the "perp" would probably be scared somewhat, but if he didnt stop or shot back what would you do then? I certainly wouldnt fire shots that were going to miss.

BikerRN
January 16, 2008, 01:55 PM
Quote:
Your boss is an IDIOT to say that your uniform is a "Use Of Force". The uniform is a "presence".

Respectfully disagree. Anybody who has taken the Monadnock pr24/expandable baton or Defensive Tactics course knows that the use of force continuum starts with Uniformed Presence and ends with Deadly Force.

Training at Trump Plaza Security in Atlantic City we were also taught that the mere presence of Uniformed Security Guards (even ones in purple pants with pink "blood" stripes) could be considered a use of force. The example we were given was a little old lady suddenly surrounded by Uniformed Guards to the point were the subject was unreasonably intimidated could be construed as excessive force.

I don't make this stuff up, just report it.

So maybe the brother's boss is an IDIOT who has taken a class or two

You're right, mea culpa. :)

The boss' answer was not one that I would be expecting from a Security Specialist Supervisor, sorry but I made an assumption that has turned around and bit me.

To me "Use Of Force" is an action, I guess my age is showing some. :)

Biker

Perldog007
January 16, 2008, 04:47 PM
To me "Use Of Force" is an action, I guess my age is showing some.

I like the classic definition better mineownself. The learned seem to have a different take on things these days. :cool:

Re: the employers policy - I have known two Special Police Officers (glorified sworn in security officers) in D.C. who were involved in justifiable shootings. Both lost their jobs in the aftermath. Though not formal policy, seems to be the way private companies handle things.

Also knew two cops who were involved in shootings. One in more than you would think is possible. They both retired out just fine.

I don't think I could just drive pass a LEO getting the worst end of a fight. I have only jumped in once before - at the officer's request (he knew me). That is pretty scary, but just to leave the officer in the wind - tough call.

crankshop1000
January 17, 2008, 07:01 PM
A uniform is simply a "uniform" way to easily identify a member of a particular group. In you case security officer. You will have a symbol of your authority as well, your badge and insignia.While you perform your assigned duties, you are authorized to use reasonable force to bring about the desired outcome.In your case deadly force is authorized. You employer has armed you and hopefully trained you in how to react in certain instances.Your employer cannot determine or dictate how you will actually react under pressure.You can be terminated for any number of reasons. You can also file suit against your employer for unjust actions. You may think at first blush that your employer will quickly abandon you should you have to use your weapon. In fact the opposite is true, you will be better defended by a private employer because the employer has the deep pockets that a lawsuit is in search of, not you.An employer will not risk alienating a potential witness against them (you).You will find that the more some people talk, the less sense they make.Getting too deep into the what ifs sometimes just muddys the water. Trust your training on the mechanics and trust what is between your ears to carry you through the rest.