That makes me mad What sort of fool thinks a handgun (9mm or .40 I mean, as I suspect their sidearms are) is the way to put down a loose cougar? You have time to get a long arm, it's not like a cougar is shooting back at you I need an angrier smiley.
They were close to have used their sidearms. And 9mm or .40 is plenty fine for the thinned skin cat, esp. as small as that one.
It's the missing that's important.
Also, if a dog bites someone and is running around the town, it almost always gets shot (with whatever the officers have on them/in car), it's all too easy to assume the protocol there is the same, and a wild/dangerous mountain lion is put down at first opportunity, with whatever means the first officer has available.
There are times when the vehicle itself is used.