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Old June 17, 2005, 10:28 PM   #26
eka
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"I know what you’re getting at here and I understand it, but I really disagree with this statement and entire concept."

"Priority one for anybody in law enforcement is being an effective buffer between the bad guys and the good guys, going home at the end of the shift is a main goal, but accomplishing the mission (getting an established “badguy” off the streets) is goal number one."

Law enforcement is a dangerous job. At times you will have to put your life on the line. But, there is a difference between being courageous and taking stupid risks. An officer does nobody any good if he goes out, throws caution to the wind and runs headlong into dangerous situations just to boost his arrest stats. No cop enjoys loosing a suspect in a foot chase. If you place making an arrest as a priority over working safely, you are probably going to have a nice write-up on the departments memorial board before long. I would rather have an officer that consistantly makes good arrests and uses good tactics over a cowboy who routinely throws caution to the wind to get the suspect at all costs. It wouldn't be too hard to go out and get yourself killed in a couple of years if you were intent on being stupid, but you could use good common sense and sound tactics and make hundreds and hundreds of quality arrests over the span of a long career. To be an effective buffer between the public and criminals you have to live long enough to make a difference. So, officer safety is number one and getting the bad guy comes in a close second. Thats just the way it is. After all, it's just a job. I have gotten hurt a few times and who knows I may get killed one day. But, it won't be because I was living in a fantasy world thinking I am some kind of super hero here to save the world. I'll do what I can, with what I have to work with. The reality of it is; you just can't win every battle. I will never like it, but I have accepted it.
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Old June 17, 2005, 10:39 PM   #27
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Priority one for anybody in law enforcement is being an effective buffer between the bad guys and the good guys, going home at the end of the shift is a main goal, but accomplishing the mission (getting an established “badguy” off the streets) is goal number one. For that reason, I’m not about to criticize Coop’s chase of the guy into the apartment. Sure its not the safest thing to do from a personal safety standpoint, but it was the most probable one that would result in an arrest. For my money, that’s exactly what he should have done.
Boy, does that sound familiar. Sounds exactly like me 20 some years ago. Then I learned. It sounds like you're fairly new to the badge (understand, that's not a put down, only an observation). I was full of **** and vinegar too back then. I had to learn the hard way that A. Bad guys do get away on occasion, and B. You're going to screw up too, multiple times, before you see a pension. Cops are not supermen, We're human and we make mistakes. Even if we don't make mistakes, there are BG's that are faster than us, know the neighborhood better than us, are sneakier than us, and the list goes on. The important thing is that you pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and go on... just a little smarter the next time. There's always tomorrow, and every BG screws up more than once. You just need to learn to be there when he does. I agree that our primary goal, other than public safety and going home at the end of shift, is to put the BG's in the slammer, but you have to look at the whole picture, over 25 or 30 yrs., and not individual failures. If you don't, you'll be a candidate for either demon rum, or a self inflicted death, especially when you come to realize that you're one of the few that cares, and that the prosecutor, the judge, and the general public, don't. Did Coop do the right thing? Who knows? I wasn't there. Even if I had been there, there's no absolute answer because had he acted differently, we don't know for sure what the outcome would have been. The BG might still have gotten away, or far worse yet, Coop might have been killed. I do know that you can't make a career of second guessing yourself. Learn, mature, and always, always, ALWAYS try to do the Right Thing. I don't care what the general public or armchair warriors think, I am paid to take chances; I am not paid to die. EVERY call, every situation is different. Even if it involves the same people, at the same location, only a few minutes later, it is still fluid, dynamic, ever changing, and judgements have to be made, every day, every second, in a split second. There are no guarentees. Right, wrong, or indifferent, I can say that I would have done the same as Coop.
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Old June 18, 2005, 09:56 AM   #28
Rob Pincus
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Option?

LD, Others,

In the situation where the subject is responding to directions,
rather than remove the gun from the belt and "bring it into play," why not secure the subject in handcuffs first (if the weapon is somewhere other than the small of the back)? Keep positive control with both hands and not worry about pulling the gun out, handing it off or stowing it somehwhere with the subject in a moderately controlled situation at best.

Thoughts?
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Old June 18, 2005, 01:10 PM   #29
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Good point, Rob. First priority is remove the threat. The obvious threat is the gun, right? Nope. Just like the bumper snickers say, "guns don't kill people, people do". It's his hands that can go for the gun, or your throat or balls. Restrain those first! That's why I like to put 'em on the ground, arms out with palms up and legs crossed. Regardless of where the gun is, tucked front or back, shoulder holster, etc., you need to put him in a position that will make it difficult for him to reach it during your approach. Cuffing is the most dangerous moment. Get 'em on quickly and forget the double-lock and whether or not the key holes are up for now, and then secure the weapon and check for others. Then, you can worry about adjusting the cuffs, double-locking, and getting him up. One of the biggest mistakes I've seen is a lack of very clear, loud, step by step commands to the BG. Every step, every movement MUST be controlled by you. It gets even worse when there's several cops on scene, with each shouting conflicting commands, and that happens frequently in the heat of the moment. That can panic the BG, and panicky people do stupid things. In any case, you can only suggest general procedures. Every scenario is different, and you absolutely HAVE to be able to adjust, adapt, improvise, and most importantly, overcome.
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Old June 18, 2005, 04:51 PM   #30
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I guess I'm also a little ****** the guy just didn't do what I told him to.

I have a badge you know
Well, you've got the most important issue covered: a sense of humor to keep from taking yourself too seriously.

I'm unhappy with the hands on head interlocked method. I was taught it in academy, as well, but it's just not as effective as they thought back when. The thing is, if your perp decides to pull his hands down, he's using some of the strongest muscles in his body to do so. Try it with a partner, and REALLY TRY to get your hands down-- you'll be able to most of the time.

If you can't see a weapon, I like having them holding their hands behind their back, palms out with the back of the hands against each other, and then having them lace their fingers together. When you grip his hands in this configuration, you've got him firmly in control. If he begins to get squirrelly when he realizes that you're about to cuff him, raise the hands and push your weight forward a step. This pitches his head forward and puts him utterly off-balance. Some really don't like this because it puts the hands near the waist, where weapons could be. Agreed, but there are weapons at the neck and hair, on many occasions, too. A better likelyhood of control trumps the "weapons at the waist" argument.

All of which utterly circumvents your problem, Coop. ( ) First, let me express my pride in our Members for not all playing Mondy Morning Quarterback on your situation-- I hate that.

Next, was he immediately aware that you knew of his pistol? What if you had played it cool and told him to sit down while you sorted this out? I'm not telling you that this would have worked, I'm just asking if it was feasible for the situation. I understand that drawing down makes us feel a little better when it's a real live bad guy and we don't know what he's going to do, but if he believes he might talk his way out of it and you don't know the score, he might play along long enough to get himself snared. "Why don't you have a seat while I sort this out?" (gesture to a spot NOT against a wall or car, but near a wall is good. On a curb is not as good. We're putting him at a disadvantage to run, and perhaps even getting him leaning back on his hands.)
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Old June 18, 2005, 05:58 PM   #31
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Boy, does that sound familiar. Sounds exactly like me 20 some years ago. Then I learned. It sounds like you're fairly new to the badge (understand, that's not a put down, only an observation). I was full of **** and vinegar too back then.
I don’t have just a ton of time in, certainly not 20 years like yourself, but I’m no “noobie” to the job. People in law enforcement get jaded; it’s almost a necessity in order to deal with everything. Nevertheless, despite the realization that you can’t catch everybody and half or more of the people out there don’t like what you’re doing, it is your function to do everything possible to be that buffer I mentioned earlier. Call it **** and vinegar if you like, but I make a concerted effort to maintain that attitude. It hasn’t left me yet and I will do everything I can to ensure it doesn’t leave me at some point in the future.

Quote:
The reality of it is; you just can't win every battle. I will never like it, but I have accepted it.
and
Quote:
Even if we don't make mistakes, there are BG's that are faster than us, know the neighborhood better than us, are sneakier than us, and the list goes on. The important thing is that you pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and go on... just a little smarter the next time.
I would wager I know about people getting away better than most; it is part and parcel of what I do. That doesn’t change the fact that each and every time I am faced with some kind of situation requiring action, I do what I have to do, regardless of the personal risks I might face.* If I ever decide that I can’t or won’t do that anymore, then it will be time to find another job. Despite that, I know full well that people have gotten away from me, and they will get away from me in the future. That fact has zero bearing on how I should handle the specific situation I find myself in. I learned a long time ago that if I do anything less than my dead level best and give any less than everything I have, the second guessing that follows a missed collar is far harder to deal with than the second guessing that comes from making a wrong decision.

* I know you guys do the same. I’m not trying to imply you don’t.
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Old June 18, 2005, 07:02 PM   #32
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Ahenry- It's the same as my pursuit/code 3 driving policy. If I wreck out due to my cavalier driving, I didn't do anybody any good. I have to finish the course in order to do anybody any good.

In the same way, when pursuing on foot, I have to keep my pursuit as tactically sound as possible. It increases the chance that my suspect will get away, but it also ensures that I make it back to squad meeting the next day sans injury, ready to confront evil yet again.

As for Coup De Ville- I think you did pretty good! I have learned that I am too familiar with seeing guns, and I don't vocalize it fast enough to my cover officers. "GUN!" is the appropriate response to seeing a firearm in the field. It only takes a second, and gets everybody up to speed. It is the WAY you say it and your actions that follow that communicate to the others what they need to do.

I assume the two suspects who didn't run were arrested. I hope she didn't continue to interview them as you pursued the third.

I don't like the idea of chasing a suspect who is holding a handgun. I'd do it, but I wouldn't like it. My ASP might accidentally fly out of my hand while running and hit him...
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Old June 18, 2005, 08:19 PM   #33
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I understand the concept (as I said earlier), I just don’t agree with it. You know I’ve said for years that every action has a consequence, but you also know my other long held mantra, “future consequences don’t dictate current actions”. I know on the surface those views seem diametrically opposed, but you should know what I’m getting at. Just because a possible action might have future negative consequences to our personal safety, those consequences have no bearing on what I should do in that given situation. In other words, do what is right regardless of personal costs. I will freely admit that we aren’t really taking about a right vs. wrong here, but the concept holds.
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Old June 18, 2005, 08:24 PM   #34
ahenry
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I don't like the idea of chasing a suspect who is holding a handgun. I'd do it, but I wouldn't like it. My ASP might accidentally fly out of my hand while running and hit him...
Just F.Y.I, that is a good idea but I can speak factually here, it doesn’t work.
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Old June 18, 2005, 11:08 PM   #35
Capt Charlie
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My ASP might accidentally fly out of my hand while running and hit him...
In my day, it was a 5 D-cell Kel Light, and it worked.... if your aim was good.
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Old June 19, 2005, 02:18 AM   #36
jwise
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Too bad nobody makes a Taser that's the size of a Streamlight M3, and attaches to the accessory rail on my Glock! I'd gladly trade my light for a Taser (I can always hand-hold my light.)

Ahenry- I'll take this conversation off-line, as its not germaine to the original thread.
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Old June 19, 2005, 01:30 PM   #37
Coop de Ville
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Qualified in shotgun, but we are not allowed to carry them on the street. I have an asp and oc spray... Tasers are way out. I doubt our Dept. will ever use them....

Best -Coop
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Old June 19, 2005, 01:44 PM   #38
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Coop

Can't carry a shotgun?? Tasers are out?? Man, it sounds like you've got another one of those chiefs that have degrees in accounting or administration, but never put a day on the streets in their lives! :barf: There seems to be an alarming trend in this direction, especially on large depts. Thank God all our brass, including the chief, are mustangers.
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Old June 20, 2005, 12:42 PM   #39
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I don't think he's ever spent a day on the street. He's a professional chief. A politician.

-Coop
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Old June 20, 2005, 03:58 PM   #40
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Hang in there

Coop, your dept. will come around eventually. It may take a few lawsuits or significant hikes in liability insurance and/or workers comp claims. Find out who insures your dept and drop a dime to them. Our municipal association not only recommended the tasers, but wrote us a $1500 check to boot.
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Old June 20, 2005, 06:15 PM   #41
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Rule #1. Go home at end of shift. mission accomplished.


One little trick I picked up at the academy..... (assuming some sort of compliance). If you can get them kneeling, have them cross their ankles, then have them sit back on their own feet. Give them about 2 minutes of waiting for their legs to go numb. And, if you're really worried about them getting froggy, stand on one of their crossed feet
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Old June 20, 2005, 07:26 PM   #42
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Coop, why didn't the dispatcher send more than one unit to a call such as that? Three males loading guns into a car in D.C.--not the time for the lone rangers or two rangers in one car. It sounds as if such calls have become commonplace and the guard has dropped. It is the "just another false alarm" problem that gets people killed.

It sounds like a classic felony car stop where the perps need to be defanged by a team of officers never leaving cover.

They're having budget problems in D.C. and want you to spread yourself thin, it sounds like. I'm glad you made it back home. Maybe the Virginia suburbs are hiring. God bless.
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Old June 20, 2005, 08:04 PM   #43
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So, question.... something we didn't learn in the academy.

You're drawn on a suspect with gun... how to disarm? All the perps we contact run, and I'm not gonna shoot someone in the back unless warranted. He made no threatening gestures towards myself or any other. Of course I could have written whatever I wanted....

Any thoughts?
Cuff him first and fast? If you can't do that, pretend you didn't see his gun, quickly get right up on him, stick your gun in his ear and grab his? If he runs, and he has his gun in his hand and you're not going to shoot him, I'd let him go. He has the advantage and there's no sense letting him shoot you for what may be nothing more than a weapons violation. A former coworker was killed in a similar situation. In the old days if you ran from a cop with a gun in your hand and kept going when he told you to stop, you know what would happen. I chased a 15 year old once who I thought was probably an enforcer for a drug dealer. He bailed out of a car with 3 other young guys, all heavily armed. Shotguns, AR-15's AK-47's pistols and a lot of ammo. He was a good 50 yards ahead of me going into the neighborhood. I never did that again. He could have popped me any time he wanted to and been released when he turned 21. The risk did not come close to equalling the potential reward.

I will never, ever chase someone with a gun into a situation where they hold all the cards because I am not allowed to shoot him while he's escaping based on department policy. And it WOULD be because of department policy, because in this state, you can not be prosecuted for shooting a fleeing felon.
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Old June 21, 2005, 09:00 AM   #44
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They sent us in alone because we had two people. We usually ride alone and in that case they would send two cars. These calls come out every hour and usually it's nothing. They're gone before we get there.

I got something funny though.

Chief had his cruiser stolen yesterday from in front of his house....
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Old June 21, 2005, 09:55 AM   #45
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You're drawn on a suspect with gun... how to disarm? All the perps we contact run, and I'm not gonna shoot someone in the back unless warranted. He made no threatening gestures towards myself or any other. Of course I could have written whatever I wanted....
Interesting.
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Old June 24, 2005, 05:24 AM   #46
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Just wanted to chime in with my two cents here, but before I do I'd like to say that I think you handled the situation perfectly. An extremely dangerous situation which, in the end, didn't result in anyone being carried by six OR judged by twelve. (And I'm, of course, referring to the GGs here since the BGs will, without a doubt, have their day in court or in a box soon enough)

The armed non-compliant/fleeing felon has to be one of the most difficult tactical situations we can ever be faced with. Even if you do manage to run the kid down, now you're in a one-handed wrestling match with someone that, while equally impaired, isn't burdened with any sense of responsibility for public safety when it comes to that lead-slinging hogleg still clutched in his remaining meathook. There's just not many ways that scenario can play out that end happily.

There have been a lot of good suggestions on handling the situation safely, but really the only method that we know for CERTAIN results in an acceptable outcome is the one that really happened.

As SCCop suggested, I've also been giving a lot of thought (and probably too little practice) to using my weak hand to draw my Taser and providing my own lethal cover for a non-lethal takedown. I'm sure this violates a handful of policies and is at least a bad idea for a number of reasons, but it's also something that I may have to do someday in a situation just like this one. So probably worth rehearsing a bit.

Now all that being said, one technique that I've used to gain a tactical advantage in a number of situations similar to this is the old Barney Fife routine. It never ceases to amaze me how much of a positional advantage you can gain on someone by just playing dumb. The stupid cop is every BGs wet dream...they want cops to be slackjawed yokels..so they're all too eager to believe a little bit of swagger and "Y'all boys having some car trouble here?" This is most effective when you work with a regular partner or a relatively close shift that can pick up on when you go into Fife mode and get their spider-sense tingling. Play it cool enough and you might even be able to swagger yourself into a position where you can, through rapid and violent application of physical force, take the armed subject to the ground and have him disarmed or at least in a position where he cannot possibly access the weapon before he even realizes that he's been played.

Then again, if you try the routine and fail to sell it, you might just end up back at the beginning of this post...carried by six or judged by twelve.

Like I said, only one method has been tried and tested in this exact scenario, and it worked. So if it aint broke....

Nice job Coop.

-Decaff
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Old June 24, 2005, 06:42 AM   #47
Long Path
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And it WOULD be because of department policy, because in this state, you can not be prosecuted for shooting a fleeing felon.
Really, Frank? So TN v Garner doesn't apply in your state? (I'm assuming you mean escaping prisoner.)
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Old June 24, 2005, 02:15 PM   #48
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Fleeing felon is a catch all. Or a catch none.

Not only does the person fleeing have to be a felon, but you must believe that you or another is in imminent/ immediate danger of death or grave injury.

If there was a dead victim on the ground and I knew this guy did it, then yeah, I'd pop him in the back... easy shot.

Coop
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Old June 24, 2005, 02:29 PM   #49
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If there was a dead victim on the ground and I knew this guy did it, then yeah, I'd pop him in the back... easy shot.
JJ&E, all in one?
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Old June 24, 2005, 04:43 PM   #50
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JJ&E, all in one?

No. Protecting the innocent third person he may run into after showing that he has little or no regard for human life by having just killed someone else and is fleeing into a public place, still armed, that contains lots of innocents and hostages for the taking, that hardly qualifies as JJ&E. If an armed suspect were running into a shopping mall or a day care, I may feel I need to shoot him. If his back is whats available, so be it.

I could argue, honestly, that Coop de Ville took too many chances ordering this guy to drop the gun. How many times should we be expected to order someone to drop a gun? Is his non compliance his way of buying time or building courage to draw his weapon? My uniform is the first symbol of authority, the marked car etc. Next comes my verbal order to comply, I have an armed subject, who is capable of using deadly force against me, or my partner or anyone else, in less than two seconds, who is refusing to obey my lawful orders. I have had many, many confrontations with armed suspects and citizens alike, the good guys obey your orders, the bad guys, bolt and run, or comply.

Techbrute, I'm honestly curious, why does that seem strange or bothersome to you?

Honestly, Coop, I was just using that as an example, many bad guys have gotten away from me in 20 years of doing this, given the situation you had, you did everything right, I would not have shot him either, until I saw the first hint of him reaching for the gun, but, I wouldn't fault an Officer, or citizen for feeling justifiably in fear of their lives when there is an armed guy, within touching distance, that refuses to comply. You chase him, at as safe a dsitance as you can, until you can get help there, or, you lose sight of him. The fact that he did not pitch the gun is actually more bothersome to me than anything, and what you took for him holding the gun while he ran, may very well have been him trying to drag it out of his baggy pants and the front sight was caught on one of the three pairs of pants he was wearing under his street clothes (if your bad guys are anything like ours, they are big believers in the "layering" method)
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