Letters to the Editor

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POLICE: Some questions need to be answered

Letter by Derek Goudriaan, Lakewood on Sep. 9, 2010 at 9:26 am with 2 Comments »
September 9, 2010 2:34 pm

The complete story isn’t out yet, but the recent number of police shootings has me wondering if their new policy is shoot first (to kill) and ask questions later? And why is it that the first official statements typically defend the officer’s actions? Are they infallible? Surely not, but it is time to ask some questions of police officers:

• Why was your gun the first choice of defense even when no one had been hurt?

• What attempts were made to get officer backup before deciding to use your gun?

• What is it about holding a knife overhead that warrants a police officer ordering someone to drop it, and then shooting to kill when he doesn’t?

I understand and still believe that police are trained to only shoot as a last resort and when acting to protect their own life or the life of another. However, the recent spate of deaths gives the appearance that more and better training is needed.

I don’t want to read about one more police officer killed on (or off) duty. Never. But tragic deaths like these in our community, at the hands of the police, may give criminals the reason they need to shoot first, too, if only because that’s what they think our police do now. Don’t give criminals that reason, please.

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. “shoot to kill”?
    Only in escapist Hollywood fantasies is it possible to shoot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand.
    When training to shoot, the instructions are ALWAYS to “fire for center mass”, the largest part of the body.
    If I had a gun pointed at some one coming at me with a knife, I would aim for the center of him and pull the trigger until the bullets were gone.

  2. johnearl says:

    “Why was your gun the first choice of defense even when no one had been hurt?”

    Would you propose that the officer’s gun use only be reactive? Do you require that all uses of lethal force occur after a (potentially) deadly assault has already taken place? Are you proposing that the officer’s first resort should have been a knife or some other lessor weapon so that he and the attacker were on a more even playing field?

    Deadly force is just that – deadly. When the time has come to project deadly force, nuance is a luxury an officer can ill afford.

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