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Author Topic: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action  (Read 110084 times)
G M
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« Reply #200 on: December 06, 2009, 10:18:46 AM »

Force Science NewsForce Science News #133: Oregon Sergeant & District Attorney use creative approaches to help spread Force Science awareness

A police sergeant and a district attorney in Oregon have independently found new ways to spread Force Science insights about officer-involved shootings to broader audiences, to the benefit of law enforcement and civilians alike. Both hope that others with a vested interest in deadly force events will follow their lead in other jurisdictions.

The sergeant is Craig Allen, training supervisor for Hillsboro PD, an agency with 185 sworn located in Oregon’s Tualatin Valley in Portland’s suburban ring. A year ago, Allen graduated from the first U.S. certification course in Force Science Analysis, conducted in San Jose, CA, by the Force Science Institute, parent entity of the Force Science Research Center.
“I was so excited about what I’d learned about the scientific truths behind force encounters that when I got home I wanted to get the word out to as many people in law enforcement as I could,” Allen says. His chief, Lila Ashenbrenner, who regularly distributes copies of Force Science News to all the department’s supervisory staff, shared his enthusiasm.

Initially, the PD contracted with the Institute to sponsor a 2-day seminar on Force Science research findings, featuring FSRC’s executive director Dr. Bill Lewinski and a staff instructor, Sgt. Joshua Lego of the St. Paul (MN) Police Dept. Quickly, more than 50 representatives from agencies throughout the Pacific Northwest signed up.

In processing registrations earlier this month, it occurred to Allen that his department’s insurer, City County Insurance Services, based in the state capital, “might want to send some risk managers over” to monitor the program. “I knew a little bit about the company because I’d done some Taser demonstrations for them,” Allen explains.

A call to Penny Marlette, manager of CCIS’s risk management services, soon resulted in a transformational change in Allen’s approach to the seminar.

At CCIS, a self-insuring trust whose pool covers some 150 Oregon law enforcement agencies, Marlette instantly became a driving force for the idea of becoming a funding partner for the seminar.

Given the reputation of Force Science research for helping improve use-of-force decision-making and investigations, that proposal “made a lot of sense,” says CCIS Deputy Director Lynn McNamara. “We’d rather put money into risk management and training than into paying claims. After all, the best claim is one that never happens.”

After internal discussion, CCIS, made this offer: the insurer would pay the $195 seminar admission fee, plus appropriate lodging, for 1 representative from any of its member agencies who wished to participate in the seminar. Any member agencies that had already registered would receive refunds.

In short, cutting-edge training on critical use-of-force research for free.

According to Scott Buhrmaster, vice president of operations for the Force Science Institute, this is the first time an insurer has offered broad-based financial support for a Force Science presentation. In Allen’s view, it was a godsend, “especially for small departments whose training money has dried up.”

In less than a week after CCIS’s underwriting partnership was announced, registrations for the program more than doubled, he says. “I have never seen a law enforcement training event that captures such a breadth of attendees: LEOs of every rank, chiefs, sheriffs, DAs, city attorneys, risk managers, human resource managers, PIOs, union reps, correctional command staff…the list goes on.”

When the seminar kicks off this week [9/29-30] at the Hillsboro Civic Center, he anticipates an audience of more than 130, over half of them paid for by CCIS. This, Allen predicts, will more than cover the cost of the seminar.

As a contribution to FSRC to further its force research, Hillsboro PD will donate the admission fees netted from registrants not covered by the insurer, along with a portion of the department’s own training budget, Allen says.

“This will be another first,” says Buhrmaster. “Until now, the only law enforcement entities contributing research funds to FSRC have been police unions in the United Kingdom. Hillsboro will be the first American department to join this important effort.”

“When we put money into a program, we try to track results,” says CCIS’s McNamara. So in the future, the insurer will be monitoring claims filed by member agencies that send attendees to the seminar vs. those that don’t, to see if there’s a detectable difference.

Meanwhile…the day after Allen’s seminar, a hundred miles away in Eugene, OR, another group will hear a special presentation by Dr. Lewinski, thanks to the efforts of Alex Gardner, the progressive district attorney for Lane County.

This gathering is intended to bring the Force Science message not only to more cops but to skeptical but influential civilians as well, including media representatives and some ardent police critics.

Eugene, the county seat, is “a very liberal town with a recent history of tension between the police and vocal sub-sections of the community,” Gardner says. “I came from a much more pro-law enforcement jurisdiction, and things that generate controversy here are sometimes hard to imagine.

“Eugene police, for example, are very conservative about Taser use, compared to what I find in many other locations. But every time a Taser is used here, it’s a media event and the police get grilled for it. The media seem always to want to create the impression that officers have done wrong.”

Gardner saw an opportunity, through Force Science, to help create a greater understanding in the community for the challenges that law enforcement faces.

A few years ago, the Oregon legislature mandated that each county in the state devise a formal protocol for dealing with OIS investigations. Lane County, Gardner says, was one of the first to compose a plan that was approved by the state’s attorney general, and it became something of a template for a majority of other jurisdictions.

“The plan includes a community-outreach element that is intended to give the public the best possible understanding of what we do when an incident arises and what we need to evaluate in assessing it,” Gardner explains.

Much of the public, he was aware, “has expectations that don’t have any relationship to reality. They expect an officer to shoot the gun out of an assailant’s hand, they think an officer needs to wait until he is shot at to respond, they’re outraged if a teenager threatening an officer with a kitchen knife is shot dead, and so on.”

Having heard Lewinski in other venues, Gardner knew he was “a stellar speaker who’s able to make the reality of force dynamics understandable to people who don’t really know anything about the subject.” With Lewinski scheduled to be in the state for the Hillsboro seminar, the time seemed right to bring him to Eugene, the second-largest metropolitan area in the state, as part of the community-outreach initiative. Executives of the county’s 3 principal policing agencies—Sheriff Russ Burger, Eugene Chief Pete Kerns, and Chief Jerry Smith of neighboring Springfield PD—wholehearted supported Gardner’s successful effort at recruiting him.

Lewinski will speak not as a spokesman for law enforcement per se but as a behavioral scientist, Gardner says. And the DA has hand-picked influential elements of the population that he particularly wants to hear the facts: local and regional politicians, media representatives, civic leaders, district attorneys from around the state, human rights commission members, even some activists who seem to be reliably skeptical of police conduct in force situations. Along with law enforcement representatives, particularly from rural agencies that are unfamiliar with Lewinski’s work, Gardner expects that as many as 200 attendees may participate.

For the first half of the day, in a conference center at a community college, Lewinski will outline some of the basic research findings regarding human behavior under the stress of a life-threatening encounter. This will range from basic FSRC findings about action/reaction time to the analysis of controversial shot-in-the-back events.

In the afternoon, attendees will be exposed to shoot/don’t shoot decisions of their own via training simulators, to better appreciate first-hand the pressures involved in armed confrontations. “Instead of Monday-morning quarterbacking, they’ll be right in the breech,” Gardner says.

Having himself been through a police academy firearms school, the DA knows “how a person’s perspective evolves through training.” After the day’s exposure to use-of-force reality, he’s hopeful that the media and other participating civilians “will have more reasonable expectations of police performance and be more fair in judging officers’ actions. Ideally, the next time a major force incident occurs, they’ll evaluate it with a more accurate perspective.”
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G M
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« Reply #201 on: December 26, 2009, 09:02:10 AM »

Girl abducted in Phoenix rescued by police
December 26, 2009 9:50 AM EST

PHOENIX (AP) — A patrol officer spotted a suspected kidnapper's car and aided in the rescue of a 5-year-old girl, who was found uninjured in what police are calling Phoenix's "Christmas miracle."

Natalie Flores was rescued at about 9:30 p.m. Friday, more than seven hours after she was scooped up by a stranger while playing with her sisters outside their Phoenix apartment building.

"She is alive and well," police spokesman Sgt. Andy Hill said.

Hill credited a "very alert" policeman with taking quick action after spotting what appeared to be the suspect's vehicle driving on a west Phoenix avenue, even though the license plate differed from reports.

Officer Mike Burns pulled alongside and "saw a suspect that matched the description and thought he saw a small child," Hill told The Associated Press.

He said the pickup sped off, and Burns gave chase and alerted the force. Officers put spike strips across the road several blocks away that punctured the suspect's tires, causing him to crash on the roadside.

The man took off on foot but was caught and arrested a block away after a brief struggle.

"She is alive and well thanks to the timely diligence of officer Burns," Hill said. "It is rare in stranger abduction cases so much time can pass without a tragic ending. This was truly a Christmas miracle."

Police said the suspect is a 45-year-old man, but they haven't released his name and or any other details.

Hill said the man was being questioned by police and held on charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault on a police officer and felony pursuit.

The sergeant said Natalie appeared to be in good shape but was being examined by health officials.

Police received the call that Natalie had been taken at about 2:15 p.m. An Amber Alert was issued, and authorities began combing the area on foot, by car and with helicopters.

Hill said the child had been playing in a common area at the apartment complex with her two sisters, ages 7 and 9, when a man parked his brown pickup in a nearby parking lot and walked over to them carrying a camera.

"He physically grabbed the 7-year-old girl and forcibly took a photo of her," Hill said.

The man then forced Natalie into the truck and drove away. Witnesses reported that as the man was fleeing, he hit a parked car before entering southbound 19th Avenue.

Natalie and her sisters had been staying at an apartment in the complex with an aunt who has legal custody of them, Hill said. The girls' parents live separately out of state.

After the abduction, Natalie's older sister went to a neighbor's apartment and pounded on the door, The Arizona Republic reported. The woman who answered, Donna Reed, said the girl was carrying a ball and appeared to be shaking.

"She said some man just took her little sister," Reed told the newspaper. "She was a nervous wreck."

Reed called 911.

___

AP writers Katie Oyan and Mark Carlson in Phoenix contributed to this report.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #202 on: January 04, 2010, 07:59:45 PM »

.By HEATHER MAC DONALD
The recession of 2008-09 has undercut one of the most destructive social theories that came out of the 1960s: the idea that the root cause of crime lies in income inequality and social injustice. As the economy started shedding jobs in 2008, criminologists and pundits predicted that crime would shoot up, since poverty, as the "root causes" theory holds, begets criminals. Instead, the opposite happened. Over seven million lost jobs later, crime has plummeted to its lowest level since the early 1960s. The consequences of this drop for how we think about social order are significant.

The notion that crime is an understandable reaction to poverty and racism took hold in the early 1960s. Sociologists Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin argued that juvenile delinquency was essentially a form of social criticism. Poor minority youth come to understand that the American promise of upward mobility is a sham, after a bigoted society denies them the opportunity to advance. These disillusioned teens then turn to crime out of thwarted expectations.

The theories put forward by Cloward, who spent his career at Columbia University, and Ohlin, who served presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Carter, provided an intellectual foundation for many Great Society-era programs. From the Mobilization for Youth on Manhattan's Lower East Side in 1963 through the federal Office of Economic Opportunity and a host of welfare, counseling and job initiatives, their ideas were turned into policy.

If crime was a rational response to income inequality, the thinking went, government can best fight it through social services and wealth redistribution, not through arrests and incarceration. Even law enforcement officials came to embrace the root causes theory, which let them off the hook for rising lawlessness. Through the late 1980s, the FBI's annual national crime report included the disclaimer that "criminal homicide is largely a societal problem which is beyond the control of the police." Policing, it was understood, can only respond to crime after the fact; preventing it is the domain of government welfare programs.

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Barbara Kelley
 .The 1960s themselves offered a challenge to the poverty-causes-crime thesis. Homicides rose 43%, despite an expanding economy and a surge in government jobs for inner-city residents. The Great Depression also contradicted the idea that need breeds predation, since crime rates dropped during that prolonged crisis. The academy's commitment to root causes apologetics nevertheless persisted. Andrew Karmen of New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice echoed Cloward and Ohlin in 2000 in his book "New York Murder Mystery." Crime, he wrote, is "a distorted form of social protest." And as the current recession deepened, liberal media outlets called for more government social programs to fight the coming crime wave. In late 2008, the New York Times urged President Barack Obama to crank up federal spending on after-school programs, social workers, and summer jobs. "The economic crisis," the paper's editorialists wrote, "has clearly created the conditions for more crime and more gangs—among hopeless, jobless young men in the inner cities."

Even then crime patterns were defying expectations. And by the end of 2009, the purported association between economic hardship and crime was in shambles. According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, homicide dropped 10% nationwide in the first six months of 2009; violent crime dropped 4.4% and property crime dropped 6.1%. Car thefts are down nearly 19%. The crime plunge is sharpest in many areas that have been hit the hardest by the housing collapse. Unemployment in California is 12.3%, but homicides in Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles Times reported recently, dropped 25% over the course of 2009. Car thefts there are down nearly 20%.

The recession crime free fall continues a trend of declining national crime rates that began in the 1990s, during a very different economy. The causes of that long-term drop are hotly disputed, but an increase in the number of people incarcerated had a large effect on crime in the last decade and continues to affect crime rates today, however much anti-incarceration activists deny it. The number of state and federal prisoners grew fivefold between 1977 and 2008, from 300,000 to 1.6 million.

***

The spread of data-driven policing has also contributed to the 2000s' crime drop. At the start of the recession, the two police chiefs who confidently announced that their cities' crime rates would remain recession-proof were Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton and New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. As New York Police Commissioner in the mid-1990s, Mr. Bratton pioneered the intensive use of crime data to determine policing strategies and to hold precinct commanders accountable—a process known as Compstat. Commissioner Kelly has continued Mr. Bratton's revolutionary policies, leading to New York's stunning 16-year 77% crime drop. The two police leaders were true to their word. In 2009, the city of L.A. saw a 17% drop in homicides, an 8% drop in property crimes, and a 10% drop in violent crimes. In New York, homicides fell 19%, to their lowest level since reliable records were first kept in 1963.

The Compstat mentality is the opposite of root causes excuse-making; it holds that policing can and must control crime for the sake of urban economic viability. More and more police chiefs have adopted the Compstat philosophy of crime-fighting and the information-based policing techniques that it spawned. Their success in lowering crime shows that the government can control antisocial behavior and provide public safety through enforcing the rule of law. Moreover, the state has the moral right and obligation to do so, regardless of economic conditions or income inequality.

The recession could still affect crime rates if cities cut their police forces and states start releasing prisoners early. Both forms of cost-saving would be self-defeating. Public safety is the precondition for thriving urban life. In 1990s New York, crime did not drop because the economy improved; rather, the city's economy revived because crime was cut in half. Keeping crime rates low now is the best guarantee that cities across the country will be able to exploit the inevitable economic recovery when it comes.

Ms. Mac Donald is a contributing editor at the Manhattan Institute's City Journal.
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G M
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« Reply #203 on: January 06, 2010, 01:39:07 PM »

http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local-beat/chicago-police-scrap-entrance-exam-80790827.html

They should scrap the background requirements as well. After all, we did the last presidential election.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #204 on: January 06, 2010, 05:14:26 PM »

 shocked shocked shocked
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Freki
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« Reply #205 on: January 06, 2010, 10:27:18 PM »

GM  That is the portal to a view beyond the looking glass.  It is something out of bizarro world.  Have they lost all sense of reality?  If they avoid legal actions on hiring what of the legal actions brought against the department for hiring totally incompetent cops.  The liability boggles the mind.
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G M
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« Reply #206 on: January 06, 2010, 10:53:26 PM »

There is established caselaw for hiring persons unfit for law enforcement as well as retaining them in the job. Chicago will end up writing some big checks because of this.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #207 on: January 07, 2010, 11:15:42 AM »

Freki:

GM wrote "They should scrap the background requirements as well. After all, we did the last presidential election."

I take this to be ironic commentary  cheesy
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G M
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« Reply #208 on: January 07, 2010, 11:17:57 AM »

 grin
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Freki
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« Reply #209 on: January 07, 2010, 09:11:31 PM »

Crafty

I took GM's point just venting on the lack of common sense the article portrays
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G M
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« Reply #210 on: January 25, 2010, 12:32:13 AM »

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/03/09/us/police-killers-offer-insights-into-victims-fatal-mistakes.html?pagewanted=1&pagewanted=print

March 9, 1993
Police-Killers Offer Insights Into Victims' Fatal Mistakes
By FRANCIS X. CLINES,
WASHINGTON, March 3— The cop killer was deep in an eerie narrative, not bragging, not regretting, just lost in the vivid detail as he recalled casually ambushing a highway patrolman too busy with a clipboard and driver's license to see the end approaching.

"Not watching me at the time, I stuck my wallet back into my pocket and pulled out my pistol and shot him," the killer recollected into the video camera.

"He looked up just in time to see the gun going off," the bald, rather harmless-appearing man, in prison now for a life sentence, continued as he recalled the need he saw for a second shot. "I saw him move, an arm or hand, and I shot him again. I killed him. I shot him in the head and killed him." Looking for Answers

The television screen boxed in the killer brightly before turning blank, and Edward F. Davis of the Federal Bureau of Investigation clearly felt the passion of that interview all over again. And again, he focused not on the cold-blooded confession, but on the unusual critique he drew from the killer of what the policeman had done wrong and how he might have lived.

"Before in police literature, the good guys always evaluated the bad guys," Mr. Davis said, describing the turnabout of a new F.B.I. approach to fathoming what may be the ultimate antisocial outrage of gun-encrusted America, the killing of police officers, lately at the rate of six a month.

"What we're doing now is having the bad guys make a conscious evaluation of the good guys' conduct," Mr. Davis said of the three-year project of delving into cop-killers' tales. With his colleague, Anthony J. Pinizzotto, an F.B.I. agent with a doctorate in psychology, he is seeking advice from the killers on what their victims did wrong.

Interviews with 50 murderers have produced the bureau's first sketch of a typical victim officer: someone with a tendency to use less force than other officers and to rely on an instinctive read of a situation and so drop his guard. By the testimony of the officer's killer as well as mournful colleagues, the victim is likely to be a hard-working, laid-back person who "tends to look for good in others" and not follow all the rules, like waiting for backup help.

"The killers are telling the same things the academy instructors have been saying over and over," Mr. Davis said, emphasizing that carelessness about police procedures can easily prove fatal. The killers' taped voices are presenting these findings more graphically than the traditional police academy lessons. A Killer's Perspective

After years of cataloguing the forensic minutiae of each police killing -- 740 in the past decade -- the F.B.I. accepted a proposal in 1989 from Mr. Davis and a colleague, James Baugh, that the bureau focus on the questions of precisely how and why, in the eyes of the killers, the attacks happened. Mr. Davis and Mr. Pinizzotto then traveled to 38 prisons to interview 50 murderers of 54 police officers.

Their work is now being presented at police conferences and academies. Like sketching a criminal, the two men listened to the killers and sketched the profile of a typical victim officer in a 60-page summary of their research called "Killed in the Line of Duty."

No less fascinating for the interrogators were the profiles of the killers, who formed a diverse group of criminal personalities. Fourteen percent, for example, said they might have acted differently had the officer victims been female. Only 1 of the 54 victims was a woman, reflecting the average of such killings for the past decade; two of the killers were women.

"Our bottom line is, 'Don't listen to us; listen to the killers,' " Mr. Davis said as the next taped killer filled the television screen at an F.B.I. office here. The killer, a meek, slender young man, offered a clipped, authoritative critique of why his victim, an officer stopping him after an armed robbery, was too careless for his own good. Too Little Control

"He did not take control of me," said the young felon, as if that was why he now faces a lifetime in prison.

The killer listened as the question was plainly put to him: What might the officer have done differently to live?

"He never controlled my actions successfully," the convict scolded quietly, noting that the officer had foolishly kept his pistol holstered even as he watched his killer wheel around and fire point-blank.

The interviews, conducted under a painstaking method adapted from the bureau's protocol for serial killers and rapists, averaged more than five hours each. The focus ranged from the killers' recollections of their childhoods to their rationales, feelings and detailed descriptions of killing police officers.

A few officers viewing the tapes have objected to the pragmatic, unaccusing style of Mr. Davis, a 52-year-old veteran officer and F.B.I. agent, and Mr. Pinizzotto, a 42-year-old psychologist. The two members of the F.B.I.'s uniform crime reports section take this as a compliment in their stated assurances to the killers of not raking over guilt and blame but salvaging some life-saving clues for killers as well as victims. A Crucial Shortcoming

They are already emphasizing the need to deal with a glaring shortcoming they have found: the dearth of training in what to do when a gunman has control of an officer. To draw in turn is folly, the F.B.I. has found, just as to surrender a police pistol can also be fatal.

"It's intriguing," Mr. Pinizzotto said of the talks with the killers. "Their victims stood guard protecting the rights of the citizenry, and these murders have a special symbolism."

Mr. Pinizzotto found that the killers ranged from a nonviolent career thief who suddenly killed when cornered to a passive, dependent young woman who became alarmed as her lover was arrested as an armed robber at a motel. The woman pulled a gun from her miniskirt pocket and killed two surprised policemen.

"How do these things happen? Why? Especially, why?" Mr. Pinizzotto asked. He noted that as complex as the research project had been the team's next one would be even more so. The two men intend to interview officers who survived life-threatening wounds and ask them what went wrong and how they were almost killed. 'Look What Happened'

"This will be much tougher because they'll have to say, 'Not only did I make mistake, but look what happened,' " Mr. Pinizzotto said.

Of course, there are cases in which an officer made all the recommended moves and yet still died, he said. But the F.B.I. is finding repeated accounts of sloppiness as it gathers killers' accounts of the final actions of many of the victims. This finding leaves the two agents chilled in the face of one murderer's tale, in particular:

"I grabbed the gun in the car and told my two friends I'm going back there and I'm going to shoot this man," one hard-eyed man recalled on the tapes.

The man, who had just committed an armed robbery, was angry at being pulled over by a patrol car for driving erratically. He saw his chance when the policeman became overly busy with his radio: "He wasn't looking at me when I approached the car, which gave me the advantage to get real close to him. He stayed on the radio and when he noticed somebody standing near, all he did was look at me with the corner of his eye. I pointed my gun to his chest and shot him."

Photo: The F.B.I. has been studying 50 murderers to find out what killers think their victims, who were all police officers, did wrong. One case analyzed was that of a mounted police officer in Dayton, Ohio, for whom fellow officers marched in a funeral procession in 1991. (Wally Nelson/Dayton Daily News)(pg. A16)
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Rarick
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« Reply #211 on: January 27, 2010, 08:47:28 AM »

Catch-22, I would never take the job because of that.  To stay alive you have to act in a way that alienates the law abiding, if you do not expect everyone to be a criminal you end up dead.  The silly laws you sometimes have to enforce do not help any either.

I think the job would be far easier if it was entitled Law Janitor.  That is what it usually is anyway in a lot of cases, arriving to pick up the mess made by someone violating the law. 
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G M
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« Reply #212 on: January 27, 2010, 09:55:25 AM »

http://www.odmp.org/officer/15034-deputy-kyle-wayne-dinkheller

Deputy Kyle Wayne Dinkheller
Laurens County Sheriff's Office
Georgia
End of Watch: Monday, January 12, 1998

Biographical Info
Age: 22
Tour of Duty: 4 years
Badge Number: 37

Incident Details
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Monday, January 12, 1998
Weapon Used: Rifle; .30 caliber
Suspect Info: Sentenced to death

Deputy Dinkheller was shot and killed after pulling over a man on a rural road about 6 miles north of Dublin, Georgia. During the traffic stop he called in for backup. Before the backup arrived he was shot by the man with a rifle. He was able to return fire, striking the suspect in the stomach. The suspect was found during a search the next morning and taken into custody.

The entire incident was videotaped by a camera in Deputy Dinkheller's patrol car. On January 28, 2000, the suspect was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to death two days later.

Deputy Dinkheller is survived by his expectant wife and 22-month-old daughter. Deputy Dinkheller's son was born in early September 1998.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #213 on: April 11, 2010, 09:42:28 AM »

For those interested in these issues, this piece seems well worth the time.

http://www.ecdlaw.info/outlines/Wallentine--continua.pdf
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #214 on: April 11, 2010, 10:00:15 AM »


Second entry of the morning:

Use of Force Continuum (podcast transcript)Solari: Hi. I’m Jenna Solari. With me today is John Bostain. John and I are instructors in the Enforcement Operations Division of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick, Georgia; otherwise known as the FLETC. John, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Bostain: Sure. Before I came to FLETC, I spent almost eight years as a police officer in Hampton, Virginia. I served as uniform patrol officer, police academy instructor, detective and SWAT team member. Since joining the FLETC staff five and a half years ago, I’ve been an instructor in both the Physical Techniques Division and Enforcement Operations Division. I’m currently the Senior Instructor for Use of Force for FLETC basic programs.

Solari: Well, could you tell us a little about the FLETC?

Bostain: The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center trains federal law enforcement officers and agents from more than 80 different agencies. Part of the training includes Use of Force. We teach students when a police officer can use force, and how much force is authorized.

Solari: Well, I understand you’re here today to specifically address Use of Force continuums as a training tool. What is a Use of Force continuum?

Bostain: The term Use of Force continuum is one name for a visual model that depicts progressive escalation and de-escalation of force based on a subject’s actions. They have been a mainstay in law enforcement for many years. They are also known as Use of Force Models, Use of Force Ladders and Subject to Control Matrices.

Solari: John, is there one visual model or continuum that is used by every law enforcement agency?

Bostain: No, not here in the United States. Canada uses a circular model called the National Use of Force Framework in all of their agencies, but here in the United States it’s much different. Continuums vary from state to state and agency to agency. They come in a number of different forms. Some look like time lines, some look like pyramids and some even look like doughnuts.

Solari: Are Use of Force Models an effective tool for training officers?

Bostain: You know, I think we might be getting a little ahead of ourselves here. Before we can start a discussion about Use of Force Models and continuums, let’s first address the legal standard for use of force by law enforcement officers in the United States.

Solari: Ok, great, who sets that legal standard?

Bostain: It’s set by the United States Supreme Court, and its interpretation of the Fourth Amendment.

Solari: Well, then, has the Supreme Court said when law enforcement officers are allowed to use force?

Bostain: Yes, they have. The Supreme Court has expressly stated the right to make an arrest or an investigatory stop necessarily carries with it the right to use some level of physical coercion of threat thereof to affect it. In other words, if the officer has the authority to conduct a seizure, he has the authority to use force or the threat of force to accomplish that mission.

Solari: So then we know when an officer can use force. Has the Supreme Court told us how much force a police officer can use to control a suspect?

Bostain: That’s an excellent question, Jenna. According to the Court, in a 1989 case named Graham v. Connor, police officers may use the amount of force that is objectively reasonable to control subjects during a lawful seizure. Objective reasonableness is based upon the totality of circumstances known to the officer at the moment force was used.

Solari: What does that mean, exactly?

Bostain: The Court will consider any objective fact the officer was aware of at the time he applied force. It’s up to the officer of course, to articulate those facts to the Court. If another reasonable officer could have taken the same action based on those facts, then the use of force is lawful. Objective facts are those that can observed or measured by others, like the time of day, environmental surroundings, number of officers versus the number of suspects. Things like that. Objective facts don’t include things that are solely in the officer’s mind, such as a dislike of the suspect, or fear or nervousness felt by the officer. Those are subjective facts, and they don’t carry any legal weight when it comes to use of force.

Solari: Alright, so, let’s say an officer has an arrest warrant for Fred Ferkle for domestic assault and battery. What’s the right way, according to the Fourth Amendment, for that officer to approach Fred Ferkle and execute the warrant?

Bostain: Well Jenna, there’s no single quote unquote right way to handle it. Here’s what I mean. Let’s say Fred Ferkle has a known history of resisting arrest and assaults on a police officer. Let’s also say that our friend Fred is about, oh I don’t know, 6’2” and weighs about 225 lbs. Let’s also say the officer’s making the arrest by himself, at approximately 10:00 at night. When he approaches Fred’s house, he sees Fred out on his front yard. The officer identifies himself as a police officer and he says, “Fred, you’re under arrest.” Fred responds by turning towards the officer, pointing his finger at him and saying, “screw you, I’m not going to jail tonight.” Now, one officer, maybe one that’s highly experienced with martial arts, may decide to control Fred using an empty hand control technique. Another officer, based on the exact same information as the first, may decide to spray Fred with OC. Yet another officer, maybe one much smaller in stature than Fred, may decide to use an electronic control device such as a taser. And yet another officer may handle this exact situation by using an extendible baton. That means there may be a whole range of reasonable force options available to the officer in a use of force situation. There is not a single correct answer that can be relied upon each time.

Solari: But, does the example we just discussed, all those options that you laid out for us, do they all conform to the Supreme Court case law?

Bostain: Absolutely. The Court has acknowledged that the use of force decisions are made under circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving. The Court doesn’t expect the officer to be perfect. All the officer has to do is be reasonable. There’s no pre-set solution to use of force situations. Every incident presents a unique set of facts. There’s just no way to anticipate them all.

Solari: Well, then the Use of Force continuums must say the same thing, right?

Bostain: Actually no. Use of Force continuums try to anticipate the suspect’s actions and equate them with a predetermined officer response.

Solari: Why? Is that required by the Fourth Amendment?

Bostain: No, quite the opposite. In Graham, the Supreme Court specifically stated that the test of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment is not capable of precise definition or mechanical application.

Solari: So, let me make sure I understand this, Use of Force continuums try to do what the Supreme Court said is impossible?

Bostain: Exactly. Again, most continuums are structured in a way that a specific subject action equates to a specific officer response, regardless of the totality of circumstances known to the officer. So, in the arrest warrant example we discussed earlier, a model might say the officer’s justified in using a hands-on control technique or OC spray, but not a baton or taser. That’s just not legally accurate. Even though the law says that all four of those responses could be reasonable, every model I’ve ever seen contradicts that. That’s because it’s impossible for a model to account for things like known violent history of the suspect; duration of the action; size; age; condition of the officer and suspect; and other facts that may make up the totality of circumstances.

Solari: Other than the apparent conflict with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, are there any other concerns about Use of Force continuums?

Bostain: Yeah. Each continuum has its own general categories of subject actions. They include phrases such as passive resistance, verbal non-compliance, active resistance, assaultive, grievous bodily harm, you get the point. The problem is that there is no universal agreement on how to define each of these terms. Active resistance to one officer may appear passive to another, and may even appear assaultive to another. These types of inconsistencies may cause an officer to unnecessarily hesitate as he tries to pigeonhole a subject’s actions into a specific definition on a Use of Force continuum. Use of Force continuums are a cognitive tool, and they’re not very useful in the rapidly evolving dynamics of a critical incident.

Solari: Well, has anybody done any studies to determine how clearly an officer can think during a critical incident? I mean, is it difficult to use a cognitive tool while trying to control a suspect?

Bostain: That’s a good question. There has been a great deal of research into what is called the biomechanics of lethal force. Much of this research has been conducted by the Force Science Research Center located at Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minnesota. According to the most current research conducted by Force Science, things happen so quickly in a use of force incident that a subject can take actions against an officer much quicker than the officer can react. Utilizing a Use of Force continuum as a cognitive tool takes additional time -- time an officer just doesn’t have in a use of force incident, which compounds the problem.

Solari: Well that’s interesting. What other issues have come up regarding Use of Force Models?

Bostain: Well, there’re a number of other concerns. Most models hold to the principle of using the minimal amount of force necessary to effect the law enforcement objective.

Solari: Well, minimal force, that doesn’t sound so bad.

Bostain: The problem with adhering to that theory is that it encourages the officer to go through a trial and error process of deciding what force response option is the minimum, but is still going to be effective. Officers may try a minimal response hoping it’s going to work. When that fails, they try the next minimal response and hope it works. When that one fails too, the situation has deteriorated to the point where now it takes a great amount of force to control the subject. If the officer was just allowed to go and follow the guidance of the Supreme Court in Graham, they could go directly to the force response option they believe is reasonable based on the totality of circumstances.

Solari: Well, is there a benefit to going straight to the most effective reasonable response, rather than just trying to use minimal force?

Bostain: Definitely. The officer will control the situation sooner, which leads to fewer injuries to the suspect, fewer injuries to the officer, and generally less overall force used.

Solari: Well, John, the way you’ve described it, the Fourth Amendment gives officers a pretty wide lane of travel when it comes to use of force. It seems like that as long as the officer can articulate objective facts that make his use of force reasonable, then he’s satisfied the Fourth Amendment. That’s all the Courts require, right?

Bostain: That’s right. It’s a very easy standard to understand and apply.

Solari: So, has there been any attempt to make Use of Force Models as easy to apply as the Fourth Amendment standard?

Bostain: Um, sort of, but it hasn’t been effective. Most models in use around the country utilize something called the One Plus Rule. It’s been said in use of force training for years that the officer should be one level higher than the suspect on the Use of Force continuum in order to control the suspect. The confusing part about that is that the officer first has to decide what level the suspect is at, and then try to figure out what one level above that is. That might work well in a classroom environment, but in the tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving circumstances of a use of force incident, it’s just not practical.

Solari: But shouldn’t the model already say what the right response is? Isn’t that the whole point?

Bostain: Yes, and that’s how we know models don’t work. When you have to create an extra rule just to make the model make sense, something’s wrong.

Solari: Let me make sure I understand what you’re saying. First, Use of Force Models actually conflict with Supreme Court case law?

Bostain: Yeah. They impose more restrictions on officers than the Fourth Amendment requires.

Solari: Well okay, and second, as you explained it, the terms used in Use of Force Models are usually pretty ambiguous.

Bostain: Right. What one officer considers to be active resistance might be interpreted as assaultive by another reasonable officer. That puts the two officers in different places on the model, even though they’re facing the exact same situation.

Solari: Well I can imagine the effect of that confusion is to cause both officers to hesitate.

Bostain: That’s right. Officers who should be taking control of the suspect before the situation escalates are too busy trying to figure out where they fall on a Use of Force Model, and what the minimal force is under those circumstances.

Solari: So John, as a former officer and a current law enforcement trainer, what do you recommend we do with all the Use of Force Models and continuums that are out there?

Bostain: Jenna, I get asked that question all of the time. In short, I think we should do away with them. That’s what we’ve done here at FLETC. We have replaced the model with more legal training, which focuses on the Constitutional standard set forth by the United States Supreme Court. From the first week of training, FLETC students are exposed to Graham v. Connor and its requirements. After their initial legal training, the Constitutional standard is reinforced almost daily by our Firearms Division and Physical Techniques Division. The legal concepts are further reinforced through reality based training programs which include a use of force lab that focuses exclusively on use of force decision making skills. But, in my opinion, the most important thing we can do is focus on teaching students to articulate themselves in written reports that conform to the Constitutional standard. We have been conducting training like this for the past two years, and all of it has been without the use of a continuum.

Solari: Well now, I want to ask you a question that I imagine a lot of officers and agents out there have in mind, as they listen to you describe doing away with these models and continuums. Thinking about things like administrative consequences and litigation that might result after use of force incidents, how would officers justify a use of force if they can’t point to a model?

Bostain: Exactly the way the Supreme Court told them to in Graham. All they have to do is articulate the objective facts that made their application of force reasonable under the totality of circumstances. If the officer’s actions were a proportional response to the threat posed by the suspect, it’s reasonable. It’s really that simple.

Solari: Well, boil it down for us, what would be the benefits of throwing out all of the models and going strictly with the Constitutional standard?

Bostain: Well Jenna, for starters, one word – consistency. We have one legal standard for use of force in this country and that is objective reasonableness. By eliminating the dozens of different models and continuums, we can get the entire country on one sheet of music. That sheet of music is the one set forth by the United States Supreme Court. Secondly, officers can gain confidence in their ability to make use of force decisions, because they are armed with the knowledge to make force decisions based on objective facts rather than a subjective model. There will be less unnecessary hesitation by officers in the field, which should lead to the ability to control subjects sooner and with less force. As I said earlier, this also reduces the chances of the officer getting injured as well as reducing the chance of injury to the suspect. Lastly, it puts the officer and the agency in a better position to defend themselves from potential liability, because the officers will be acting in accordance with the Constitutional law, which will be the legal standard used in any future litigation.

Solari: Well John, I hope this information gets some agencies thinking about their Use of Force training. The way you’ve described it, phasing out models would result in nothing but positive change for law enforcement. Thanks a lot for that information.

Bostain: My pleasure Jenna.

Solari: For those of you who want to hear other FLETC PodCasts, you can find them on the internet at http://www.fletc.gov/training/programs/legal-division/podcasts.
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G M
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« Reply #215 on: April 11, 2010, 10:18:29 AM »

Good articles.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #216 on: April 16, 2010, 02:47:27 PM »



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsCuurneZVE&feature=fvw
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G M
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« Reply #217 on: April 16, 2010, 10:31:07 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5TPSg2l2So&feature=related

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #218 on: April 16, 2010, 10:43:46 PM »

A classic!  It appears in our DLO-3 DVD by the way,
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Rarick
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« Reply #219 on: April 17, 2010, 06:55:50 AM »

That's the McD's by Circus Circus.  about 2 blocks away from "naked city" which has been/is drug and gang crime central for a while.  Nice clip for a technique demo.  Where is the other side of the fight tho'?  (if it was the guy walking out of the driveway, why didn't they detain him too?)

The usual routine tho', refuse to lay down for the bear, get mauled by the bear.  The guy would have saved himself some pain if he had just put his hands on the car like the cop asked.  "step up to my car" his local vernacular for "hands on the hood" OOps!

I wish I had more info for the whole situation but, given the format and legalities, I will never know........  It looks sloppy.
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G M
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« Reply #220 on: April 17, 2010, 09:40:39 AM »

That's the McD's by Circus Circus.  about 2 blocks away from "naked city" which has been/is drug and gang crime central for a while.  Nice clip for a technique demo.  Where is the other side of the fight tho'?  (if it was the guy walking out of the driveway, why didn't they detain him too?)

**Because Mr. Shell necklace decided to become the focus of attention by becoming non-compliant.**

The usual routine tho', refuse to lay down for the bear, get mauled by the bear.  The guy would have saved himself some pain if he had just put his hands on the car like the cop asked.  "step up to my car" his local vernacular for "hands on the hood" OOps!

I wish I had more info for the whole situation but, given the format and legalities, I will never know........  It looks sloppy.

If Shell-necklace had just complied, and there were no wants/warrants for him and no serious injuries from the fight, he might have been cut loose with a warning or at the most, given a summons to muni-court for a "disturbing the peace" charge.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #221 on: April 17, 2010, 09:50:57 AM »

Rarick:

I've never worn a badge, but according to my understanding, the officer's technique is, , , improvable.

a) a command to "remove your hands from you pockets" facilitates drawing a weapon should there be one.

b) even though the officer is aware of the issue, he has his hands behind his back

That said, his seizure of the initiative is impeccable  cool
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G M
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« Reply #222 on: April 17, 2010, 09:55:10 AM »

Crafty,

Those are both valid points, and it wasn't good contact/cover positioning, but once the subject became non-compliant, it was dealt with as needed.

1. The best fight is the one you avoid having.

2. Second best is the one you finish before your opponent recognizes that it's started.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #223 on: April 17, 2010, 10:00:12 AM »

Thank you and agreed.

PS:  I would have like to have seen the officer's partner establish more of an angle.
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G M
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« Reply #224 on: April 17, 2010, 10:08:47 AM »

Proper Contact/cover positioning would have required an angle and distance for the cover officer.

My analysis is that the officers read the subject as being a low level threat (Forecasting saves time, but when you encounter the subject that you misjudge as low level, your family can end up getting a folded up flag with bagpipes in the background). They were going to punt the call and go back into service until he got stupid.

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Rarick
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« Reply #225 on: April 18, 2010, 02:14:16 AM »

Yeah, I did not see any blood, so no harm.  On the strip........  They were probably looking at doing a basic CYA investigation/check until Shelly was either 2 drunk or just stupid.   Still kind of sloppy, probably could have tried the soft sell and used formal english, especially in touristville.  Those guys were dressed like bike patrol too.......
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G M
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« Reply #226 on: April 18, 2010, 09:28:25 AM »

They could have done more "verbal judo", but bottom line, shelly caused himself the problems that resulted. If he had cooperated, he probably would have been walking away within 5 to 10 minutes. Instead, he probably caught multiple charges and at least one night in Clark County Detention Center and bail bonding and legal fees.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #227 on: July 25, 2010, 12:07:30 PM »

 Less Lethal Issues in Law Enforcement
- Sponsored by TASER International

with Capt. Greg Meyer (ret.)   

The BART shooting tragedy: Lessons to be learned

I was the use-of-force expert for former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle, who was charged with first-degree murder, then convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Since his conviction 30 hours ago (as I write this), Johannes Mehserle sits in the Los Angeles County Jail, awaiting sentencing in a few weeks. We are left to wonder why. I’ll try to provide some answers.

Related Feature:



Mehserle verdict: Involuntary manslaughter

Mehserle was found not guilty of second-degree murder, and not guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

       
My mission in working with the Mehserle defense was to explain to the jury the policy, training, equipment, and tactical issues that affected Johannes Mehserle’s actions on the BART platform during the early-morning hours of January 1, 2009. It was obvious from the beginning that this incident grew out of yet another case of weapons confusion involving a TASER and a handgun.

Certainly there are a number of lessons to be learned. My article is directed at police trainers and policy makers, and any of the rest of you in law enforcement that wonder how such a tragic mistake could happen, and what can be done to prevent future similar situations.

So what happened out there? I will give you the facts as I know them.

There was a fight on a BART train in Oakland involving New Year’s Eve celebrants. The train engineer called for police assistance. Police pulled people believed to be the fighters off the train. Several were detained who cooperated, and they were handcuffed without any use of force. Oscar Grant was at times cooperative, and at times he resisted. When it was his turn to be handcuffed, he physically resisted. He was taken to the ground, face down. One officer controlled his head and shoulders. Officer Mehserle’s job was to handcuff Grant. Grant “turtled” his right arm underneath his body. Mehserle (who is pretty big and strong) tried mightily for several seconds to get Grant’s arm out.

Mehserle was unable to gain control of the right hand and arm, despite strenuous efforts, clearly established on the video. Earlier that night Mehserle was present when other officers recovered a gun from a suspect's right-front pocket. Three prior documented times in his short career, he and his partner had removed guns from suspects' right-front pockets.

Mehserle observed Oscar Grant's hand going into the right-front pocket. Mehserle worried that Grant may be going for a gun. Mehserle decided to stop the action with a TASER. Mehserle never considered using his handgun. He himself had taken a 5-second ride with a TASER back-shot during his first TASER training less than four weeks earlier, and experienced neuromuscular incapacitation.

One of the wild myths out there in the public about this case is the assertion that an officer would never pull a TASER if he or she thought they might be facing a deadly force scenario. This is false. Officers frequently use TASERs in imminent deadly force situations (sometimes wisely, sometimes not, but that’s for another article). I introduced a multi-page exhibit that documented many, many such cases from court records around the country.

Mehserle loudly announced to the other officer, "Tony, get back, I'm going to tase him. I'm going to tase him." Multiple witnesses (including at least one of Oscar Grant's nearby handcuffed buddies) heard Mehserle's "I'm going to tase him" announcement, and so testified.

At the time, BART did not issue TASERs and holsters individually to officers. They are rotated, shift to shift. Sometimes you get one, sometimes you don't. When you get one, there are three different holster configurations at BART. Weak-side/weak-hand; strong-side/weak-hand crossdraw; and (the one Mehserle happened to have that particular night) strong-hand/cross-draw. They also informally allowed weak-side drop holsters, although that was not written in their policy. (I know that some of you prefer “dominant” and “nondominant” and other labels for the strong-hand, weak-hand concept. No offense, I get it, but for my whole career it was strong-hand, weak-hand, so permit me at this advanced age to use that terminology.)

Mehserle's (strong) right hand moved to his right side (instead of to his left-front, where his TASER was located in a cross-draw holster), and he partially gripped his handgun with his fingers. His right thumb moved back and forth in the air, in and out toward his own ribcage, inches above where the handgun holster safety was, consistent with the motion needed to undo the TASER holster safety strap if a TASER holster were there (which it was not); and totally inconsistent with undoing the Level-3 handgun holster — these motions are clearly seen on video.

For about four seconds, Mehserle unsuccessfully tugged at his handgun, then it came out. Dr. Lewinski testified that Mehserle subconsciously performed an “automatic program” (one that he was very practiced at) when his decision-making degraded under stress. We know from research that under stress, performance is negatively affected, and we react with movements that are most familiar to us.

Mehserle raised himself up to a level consistent with firing a TASER to achieve a minimally good dart spread. (Weeks earlier he had learned that two feet of distance gets you a four-inch dart spread, which is the minimum spread needed to achieve NMI.) Mehserle aimed at Grant's back and fired ONCE (i.e., not the two or three times that officers are trained to shoot a handgun in rapid succession when facing an immediate deadly force threat.)

Witnesses stated (and multiple videos confirmed) that a moment after the shot, Mehserle looked stunned, in shock; he immediately returned his handgun to its holster, contrary to training to scan and assess when you shoot somebody; then he immediately placed his hands on his forehead, exhibited a bewildered look on his face and uttered panicked expletives.

Mehserle bent down, handcuffed Oscar Grant as per standard post-shooting practice, located the bullet hole and applied direct pressure, tried to keep Grant talking, and watched him fade away.

All of Mehserle’s movements except the mistake of drawing the handgun itself instead of the TASER, were consistent with drawing and activating and deploying darts from a TASER. One of the videos also clearly shows Mehserle's right thumb in an upward-sweeping motion along the left side frame of the gun as soon as he draws it, in a manner and place totally consistent with activating the TASER arming switch (safety). There is no decocking device on Mehserle’s Sig Sauer P226DAK handgun, so that thumb move was not at all consistent with preparing to shoot a handgun. We can also see on video that Mehserle’s left hand was placed near the frame of the handgun (not on the grip), and that his left hand reflexively flew upward and away from the handgun when the shot occurred.

I've tentatively concluded that the jury went with involuntary manslaughter on the basis that Mehserle was engaged in a lawful act—the arrest of Oscar Grant III — and that he accidentally drew his handgun while intending to draw his TASER. The jury found that he was criminally negligent in that he didn’t reasonably follow policy and training.

I presented an exhibit for the jury documenting the seven known weapons-confusion cases in the past nine years where an officer shot someone while intending to use his or her TASER. Here is a reprint of the text of that exhibit:

March 2001. Sacramento, CA police officer intends to fire a TASER at a resisting handcuffed suspect in backseat of police car. He instead draws and fires his handgun, shooting the suspect. (nonfatal, M26, strong-side leg holster, strong-hand draw)
September 2002. A Rochester, MN police officer intends to fire a TASER at a resisting suspect. He instead draws and fires his handgun, shooting the suspect. (nonfatal, M26, strong-side cargo pocket, strong-hand draw)
October 2002. A Madera, CA police officer intends to fire a TASER at a resisting handcuffed suspect in the back seat who was attempting to kick out the window of the police car. She instead draws and fires her handgun, shooting the suspect. (fatal; strong side leg holster, M26, strong-hand draw)
October 2003. A Somerset County, MD sheriff's deputy intends to fire a TASER at a fleeing warrant suspect. He instead draws and fires his handgun and shoots the suspect. (nonfatal; M26, strong-side leg holster, strong-hand draw)
September 2005. A Victoria (BC) constable intends to fire a TASER at a resisting suspect. He instead draws and fires his handgun, shooting the suspect. (nonfatal; X26, strong-side cargo pocket, strong-hand draw).
June 2006. A Kitsap County, WA sheriff's deputy intends to fire a TASER at a suspect. She instead draws and fires her handgun, shooting the suspect. (nonfatal; M26, strong-side holster, strong-hand draw)
January 2009. A BART police officer in Oakland, CA intends to fire a TASER at a resisting suspect who is prone and refusing to give up his arm for handcuffing. He instead draws and fires his handgun, shooting the suspect. (fatal; X26, strong-hand cross-draw)

Only Mehserle was criminally prosecuted.

Late in the game, a few days before my testimony, it occurred to me that all of the incidents involved a strong-hand TASER draw, regardless of holster type or placement. The lesson from that is to get the strong hand out of the game! Consider requiring an officer’s TASER to be in weak-side holsters requiring a weak-hand draw to reduce the possibility of another tragic case. Dr. Bill Lewinski (Force Science Research Center) and I have discussed this issue, and we believe that it would significantly reduce the risk (maybe not totally eliminate, but reduce the chance) of having a weapon-confusion incident. A few months ago, BART changed policy to require weak-side, weak-hand-draw TASER holsters only. We were precluded from mentioning that in front of the jury.

I also testified about BART’s training, which did not put trainees through stress-inducing scenarios. It is essential that trainers put officers through their paces with training that is dynamic, stress-inducing, and requires officers to make quick force-options decisions. The training must truly test the officer's ability to be ready for stressful encounters on the street.

As Dr. Lewinski told me, “You need rapid decision-making under stress with time pressure. You need to build the decision-making process under stress in order to condition the officer for the realities on the street.”

Do you do that at your agency?!

Several media outlets are reporting that the jury also found that the California law involving the use of a gun during the commission of a crime (the so-called "gun enhancement") applied in this case. This one is a head-scratcher, because according to my reading of the jury instructions on that issue he would have had to intentionally use the firearm. That seems contrary to the involuntary manslaughter verdict. Legal experts are weighing in on the applicability of that law (designed to discourage robbers and such from having guns) to this case. We’ll see what the judge does during sentencing.

It was an absolute pleasure working with defense attorney Mike Rains. He is right up there with the best that an officer could ever find, and I’ve worked with many. It is most unfortunate that Mike Rains was not brought in to defend Mehserle in the early hours and days after the incident, things might have turned out way different.

Lesson: make sure you are provided a very experienced police use-of-force attorney from the get-go if you are involved in a shooting or other major use-of-force incident.

As soon as I started examining the case, I recommended to attorney Mike Rains that he also retain Dr. Bill Lewinski of the Force Science Research Center as Mehserle’s expert on the biomechanics concerning the weapons-confusion issue. By now I would imagine that most if not all readers would know of Dr. Lewinski’s sterling credentials and reputation. It is always a pleasure to work with such a dedicated professional. See www.forcescience.org.

Needless to say, this was a very difficult, politically-charged, heart-wrenching case. From the beginning of my involvement in January 2009, it was clear that there would be no winners. If you’re interested in the political and racial aspects and questionable charging decision of the Alameda County (Oakland, Calif.) district attorney in this case, look elsewhere. Others have written about that, and still others will. Being an LAPD guy, I take the Jack Webb approach: just the facts! And that’s what I’ve tried to provide you.

About the author


Greg Meyer, a retired Captain from the Los Angeles Police Academy, served for 30 years, including eight years as a commanding officer. Greg is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Force Science Research Center, a member of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).

He holds the Certified Litigation Specialist credential of the Americans for Effective Law Enforcement (AELE), and is a member of the AELE seminar faculty for lethal and nonlethal weapons issues.

Greg can be reached at: gregmeyer@earthlink.net

This column is sponsored by TASER International for the purpose of disseminating important information related to less lethal technologies, products, policies and training.
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sgtmac_46
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« Reply #228 on: August 15, 2010, 12:03:44 PM »

In my departmental training and policies i've attempted to incorporate this concept of bi-lateralism in to our defensive tactics training.  With the Taser we now train officers to draw and deploy the Taser with their non-dominate hand, which we feel will not only reduce the likelihood of weapon confusion like what happened with the BART shooting, but will actually aid in transitioning up and down the force spectrum under pressure.  I found it humorously interesting to note in our last Taser inservice training how, when I put officers in a position of drawing their Tasers under stress and time constraint, they realized that the task was much more difficulty than they first realized.  They also increasingly realized how often a serious confrontation would end up being a Tactics issue that needed to be resolved with empty hand responses before a weapon could even be brought to bare.

DLO 1,2 and 3 were real eye openers to a lot of officers when they had a chance to watch them.  Thanks to Marc Denny and Gabe Suarez for everything you guys have been doing.  It's filtering out some top notch stuff.  I look forward to bringing a group to Bloomington, IL. in October.
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lonelydog
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« Reply #229 on: August 16, 2010, 03:13:51 PM »

Tail wags for the kind words SgtMac.  I look forward to working with you and yours.
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G M
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« Reply #230 on: November 12, 2010, 12:02:57 PM »



http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/a-childs-death-in-no-mans-land/?singlepage=true

A Child’s Death in No-Man’s Land
Few parents fret over the prospect of their child getting shot in the backyard. What kind of a place must it be where they do?
November 11, 2010 - by Jack Dunphy


For a five-year old boy, there are few events in life that can bring such sublime flights of anticipation as Halloween. Yes, Christmas is up there, with the season’s lights and decorations and promise of long-wished-for presents. And birthdays, too, have their attractions. Along with the gifts comes the advantage of being an entire year older, and what five-year-old boy doesn’t dream of finally attaining the maturity and exalted status of a six-year-old.

Aaron Shannon Jr. won’t see his sixth birthday. On the afternoon of Halloween, as he counted down the minutes to nightfall and the adventure of trick-or-treating, he was shot and killed in his backyard. He was wearing his Spider-Man costume when he died.

Most parents fret over the hazards of Halloween: the strangers, the traffic, the effects of big sugar on little bellies. Few parents fret over the prospect of their child getting shot in the backyard. What kind of a place must it be where they do?

Such a place is the neighborhood around 84th Street and Central Avenue, in South Central Los Angeles, where Aaron lived and died.

A visitor to Los Angeles might arrive at LAX and drive east on Manchester Avenue for twenty minutes or so and then turn north on Central Avenue, where, miles in the distance straight ahead, he would see the gleaming steel and glass towers of downtown.  On clear afternoons, as it was on Halloween, the setting sun reflects off those buildings to create a brilliant tableau, but the visitor would note that the scenery on either side of Central is far less spectacular: drab storefronts, modest apartment buildings, and a few neighborhood churches. The visitor wouldn’t detect any significant differences between the east side of the street and the west side.

But there is a huge difference, one that is well known to all who live and work in the area. Aaron lived on the west side of Central, in a neighborhood claimed by a particular street gang. Another street gang claims the territory to the east of Central, and when members of each gang cross that great divide into the other’s turf, they almost always do so in search of trouble.

Police claim that on the afternoon of Oct. 31, two members of the gang from the east side of Central Avenue crossed that invisible boundary hoping to settle the score for an earlier shooting. They walked down the alley behind Aaron’s house looking for targets and, on seeing people in a backyard, one of them raised a pistol and opened fire. Aaron’s grandfather and uncle were struck in an arm and a leg, respectively, and survived. Aaron, little Spider-Man, was shot in the head and never had a chance. Police say no one in the family belonged to a gang.

If you don’t live in Los Angeles — and perhaps even if you do — chances are you hadn’t heard what happened to Aaron Shannon Jr. But no matter where you live, if you follow the news at all you’ve surely heard of Oscar Grant, the man shot and killed in Oakland, California, by a BART police officer in the early morning of January 1, 2009. Grant’s death sparked rioting in Oakland, as did the outcome of the prosecution of the officer who shot him. Johannes Mehserle was charged with murder but a jury convicted him of involuntary manslaughter and he was sentenced to two years in prison.

Both the verdict and the sentence were well within the law and entirely foreseeable, yet they nonetheless brought outraged cries from those quarters where such cries have come to be expected. And accompanying the outraged cries were the looting and vandalism which, alas, have also come to be expected.

On Nov. 5, the day Mehserle was sentenced, demonstrators gathered outside the Criminal Courts Building in downtown Los Angeles (the trial had been moved from Alameda County on a defense motion for a change of venue). Many held signs adorned with a simple message: “I am Oscar Grant.”

If you were to listen to those who protested on behalf of Oscar Grant, you might have the impression that the greatest threat to any black man in Oakland — or Los Angeles or any city you choose — is posed by racist cops itching for an excuse to gun him down. But about seven people are murdered each month in Oakland, nearly all of them young black men shot by other young black men. And yet as those bodies pile up no one marches, no one shouts, no one seems outraged in the least by the carnage.

On Nov. 6, a candlelight vigil was held at the LAPD’s 77th Street police station in memory of Aaron. Less than a hundred people attended, judging from the brief video report shown on the local news. There was no screaming, no hysterics, not even calls for vengeance against the two men accused of killing Aaron. And there most certainly was no mob rushing off to the nearest Foot Locker store to help themselves to the latest models from Nike. And if the two men accused of murdering Aaron somehow manage to beat the case or bargain for a reduced sentence, that too will be greeted not with outrage but rather with sad resignation.

I don’t begrudge Oscar Grant and his family the sympathy they’ve received. His death was indeed tragic and, whatever his faults, he left behind people who loved him. But of all those people demonstrating outside the L.A. courthouse in his name, I doubt a single one of them could have told you who Aaron Shannon Jr. was.

And that’s something to scream about.

“Jack Dunphy” is the pseudonym of an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. The opinions expressed are his own and almost certainly do not reflect those of the LAPD management.
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Stickgrappler
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« Reply #231 on: December 12, 2010, 11:41:13 PM »

Woof all:

Think this thread is more appropriate to post in than the "Video Clips of Interest" thread. Searched the forum for "Hamilton Police" and nothing found. A friend sent me this.

http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/vmix_cdf93fba-47ca-11df-9f5c-001cc4c002e0.htm

~sg



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« Reply #232 on: December 20, 2010, 04:09:43 PM »

"Border Patrol Agent Terry and the BORTAC team were under standing orders to always use ("non-lethal") bean-bag rounds first before using live ammunition. When the smugglers heard the first rounds, they returned fire with real bullets, and Agent Terry was killed in that exchange. Real bullets outperform bean bags every time."
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« Reply #233 on: December 21, 2010, 01:07:09 AM »

Gotta admit, "Real bullets outperform bean bags every time".

In and of itself, that's a true statement...   smiley

But is it also true...

"Border Patrol Agent Terry and the BORTAC team were under standing orders to always use ("non-lethal") bean-bag rounds first before using live ammunition."

Seems like a story (rumor without factual support) traveling fast across the internet with no substance so far.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #234 on: December 21, 2010, 11:51:37 AM »

Source?  Fair enough.  It was sent to me by a friend who is a senior US Marshal.
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G M
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« Reply #235 on: December 21, 2010, 12:05:04 PM »

With this administration? I can't dismiss it, something that stupid would be quite consistent with all their other stupid moves.
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JDN
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« Reply #236 on: December 21, 2010, 12:07:06 PM »

Thank you.
It may well be true; but obviously, (no offense) these are not his words or opinion. That exact same language is all over the internet;
it looks more like a unsubstantiated rumor.  But I am sure the truth will come out.  It will be interesting to see what truly did happened.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #237 on: February 16, 2011, 11:45:23 AM »

Three U.S. marshals shot in Elkins; assailant killed
By Gary A. HarkiThe Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Three U.S. marshals were shot while trying to serve a warrant in Elkins this morning. The man who shot them was then killed by law enforcement, according to sources close to the investigation.

The marshals and State Police troopers were at the home of Charles Smith at about 8:30 a.m. to serve a warrant on him for failing to appear in court on possession of drugs and firearms charges, according to sources.  After announcing that they were there to serve a warrant, officers breached the door and stepped into the house.

Smith then opened fire with a shotgun, hitting one marshal in the neck, one in his bulletproof vest and one in the arm or hand, according to sources.  A marshal and trooper then fired at Smith, killing him, according to sources. The trooper likely fired the shot that killed him, sources say.

The marshal shot through the neck was transported to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. His condition is unknown.

A statement from the U.S. Marshal's office confirmed that three marshals were shot and that two were taken to a local hospital for treatment and one was transported by helicopter.

State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous could only confirm that there was a shooting incident in Elkins while officers attempted to serve a warrant.
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #238 on: February 17, 2011, 02:09:35 AM »

Woof,
 One of the shot Marshals died as a result of his wounds.
                P.C.
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Spartan Dog
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« Reply #239 on: February 19, 2011, 12:36:31 PM »

Posted on behalf of Crafty Dog...this young man was not yet 25.

                

« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 02:18:08 AM by Kostas » Logged

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G M
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« Reply #240 on: February 19, 2011, 12:46:24 PM »

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2011/02/18/mayor_1_officer_shot_3_hurt_in_ny_gunman_dead/

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.—A police officer died hours after being shot in the head Friday during an exchange of gunfire that killed a man who fatally shot a woman near a train station, authorities said.

Poughkeepsie Police Chief Ron Knapp released a statement saying the 44-year-old officer died at about 9:05 p.m.

The name of the officer, an 18-year veteran, was withheld out of respect for the family and pending notification of his relatives.

The gunman shot a woman to death in a car hours earlier, then was himself fatally shot minutes later in the struggle with police, including an officer who had taken a 3-year-old from the man and handed the child to a bystander, police said.

Knapp said it appeared the gunman shot the officer, but it wasn't immediately clear whether he was then killed by police gunfire or if he shot himself. Police didn't say whether the wounded officer was the one who'd taken the child from the man.

Knapp said he believes the man and woman who were killed were husband and wife and weren't from Poughkeepsie, a city of about 30,000 people about 70 miles south of Albany in New York's Hudson Valley. Their names have not been released.

A second officer suffered minor injuries and a half dozen others were involved, Knapp said.

Officers responded to a report of gunfire at about 1 p.m. and one saw the man leaving the scene with a child in his arms and thought the man had been involved.

When the officer tried to confront him, the man ran away, Knapp said. The officer caught the man, took the child from him and handed the toddler to a bystander. It was during that second confrontation that the 44-year-old officer was shot.
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G M
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« Reply #241 on: March 03, 2011, 11:36:00 AM »

Gotta admit, "Real bullets outperform bean bags every time".

In and of itself, that's a true statement...   smiley

But is it also true...

"Border Patrol Agent Terry and the BORTAC team were under standing orders to always use ("non-lethal") bean-bag rounds first before using live ammunition."

Seems like a story (rumor without factual support) traveling fast across the internet with no substance so far.

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crime/article_681d29cf-845a-5aea-9f34-3837d70b8a31.html

Border Patrol agents shot beanbags at a group of suspected bandits before the men returned fire during a confrontation in a remote canyon, killing agent Brian Terry with a single gunshot, records show.

And an illegal immigrant wounded in the gunbattle who is now the only person in custody linked to the slaying contends he never fired a shot, according to FBI search warrant requests filed in the U.S. District Court in Tucson.

The documents provide the most detailed version yet of what happened in the deadly gunbattle Dec. 14 in Peck Canyon, northwest of Nogales.

The documents say the group of illegal border entrants refused commands to drop their weapons after agents confronted them at about 11:15 p.m. Two agents fired beanbags at the migrants, who responded with gunfire. Two agents returned fire, one with a long gun and one with a pistol, but Terry was mortally wounded in the gunfight.

Border Patrol officials declined to answer questions about protocol for use of force, citing the ongoing investigation.

But Terry's brother, Kent Terry, said the other agents who were there that night told him that they were instructed to use the non-lethal beanbags first. It's a policy that doesn't make sense to Kent Terry.

"You go up against a bandit crew that is carrying AKs, and you walk out there with guns loaded with beanbags - I don't get it," Terry said in a phone interview from Michigan. "It's like going to the Iraqi war with one knife. It boggles my mind. ... These guys (Border Patrol agents) are professionals; they should be able to use their judgment call on their own."

On the night of the deadly encounter, agents were trying to apprehend at least five suspected illegal immigrants. One agent, using thermal binoculars, spotted two men carrying rifles. When the group came close, at least one agent identified himself as police and ordered the men to drop their weapons.

Here's how the rest of the events are described in the FBI document:

"When the suspected aliens did not drop their weapons, two Border Patrol agents deployed 'less than lethal' beanbags at the suspected aliens. At this time, at least one of the suspected aliens fired at the Border Patrol agents. Two Border Patrol agents returned fire, one with his long gun and one with his pistol.

"Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was shot with one bullet and died shortly after. One of the suspected illegal aliens, later identified as Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, was also shot."

The search warrants were requested to examine fingerprints and a hair sample from Osorio-Arellanes, who was one of four men arrested that night near the shooting scene. The other three arrested, illegal immigrants from Mexico, have been cleared in connection with the crime and deported back to their home countries.

Osorio-Arellanes has not been charged in connection with the fatal shooting. He has been charged only with illegal re-entry after deportation and is awaiting a May 10 trial. The FBI document represents the first time his name has been included in a public document related to the shooting.

Two days after the shooting, Osorio-Arellanes agreed to talk to FBI agents. He was traveling with four others that night, all of whom were armed, Osorio-Arellanes told investigators, according to the document.

"Osorio-Arellanes stated that he had raised his weapon towards the Border Patrol agents, but he did not fire because he realized that they were Border Patrol agents," the search warrant says. "At this time, he was shot."
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G M
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« Reply #242 on: March 10, 2011, 04:42:31 PM »

U.S. Marshal Dies of Shooting Injuries

Wednesday, March 09 2011

(St. Louis, MO) -- A United States Marshal involved in a shoot-out in St. Louis Wednesday, died from his injuries last night.
Another marshal was wounded in the incident as was a St. Louis police officer.

The suspect also died after being shot by police during the standoff.

Tuesday morning, Marshals went to the door of a 36 year old man to serve a drug warrant.
Officers say the man opened fire.     

One marshal was shot and critically wounded.  He later died.  He is now identified as Deputy U.S. Marshal John Perry.

The other marshal, Theodore Abegg, is in fair condition. The police officer has minor injuries.

Three children inside the house were taken to a neighbor's home before the shooting started.
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G M
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« Reply #243 on: March 10, 2011, 04:45:51 PM »

Police Officer Jay Sheridan
Limon Police Department
Colorado
End of Watch: Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Biographical Info
Age: 27
Tour of Duty: 6 years
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Committed suicide

Officer Jay Sheridan was shot and killed as he and other officers
served a fugitive arrest warrant at approximately 6:10 pm.

As the officers entered the mobile home where the subject lived
the man opened fire on them, fatally wounding Officer Sheridan.
Two other officers on the scene remained in another room in the
home and called for assistance.

The subject was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound
later in the evening after a SWAT team made entry into the
home.

Officer Sheridan had served with the Limon Police Department for
six years. He is survived by his wife and child.
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G M
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« Reply #244 on: March 10, 2011, 04:50:18 PM »

Line of duty deaths for 2011.
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bigdog
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« Reply #245 on: March 10, 2011, 07:40:00 PM »

U.S. Marshal Dies of Shooting Injuries

Wednesday, March 09 2011

(St. Louis, MO) -- A United States Marshal involved in a shoot-out in St. Louis Wednesday, died from his injuries last night.
Another marshal was wounded in the incident as was a St. Louis police officer.

The suspect also died after being shot by police during the standoff.

Tuesday morning, Marshals went to the door of a 36 year old man to serve a drug warrant.
Officers say the man opened fire.     

One marshal was shot and critically wounded.  He later died.  He is now identified as Deputy U.S. Marshal John Perry.

The other marshal, Theodore Abegg, is in fair condition. The police officer has minor injuries.

Three children inside the house were taken to a neighbor's home before the shooting started.


http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/article_e59ccd47-e002-53f7-ba80-2d120bd4b141.html
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G M
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« Reply #246 on: March 14, 2011, 06:31:06 PM »

LEOs killed in the line of duty this year.
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Sheep Dog
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« Reply #247 on: March 14, 2011, 06:41:40 PM »

Agent Terry was armed with a pistol and rifle. There was no "non-lethal" first shot policy in effect, per BP, and DHS.

For an excellent discussion of use of force read the interview with John Bostaine posted in this thread, he was an instructor of mine, along with thousands of others and he has to be the best speaker I have ever heard on use of force, and the decisions behind them.

Gotta admit, "Real bullets outperform bean bags every time".

In and of itself, that's a true statement...   smiley

But is it also true...

"Border Patrol Agent Terry and the BORTAC team were under standing orders to always use ("non-lethal") bean-bag rounds first before using live ammunition."

Seems like a story (rumor without factual support) traveling fast across the internet with no substance so far.

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crime/article_681d29cf-845a-5aea-9f34-3837d70b8a31.html

Border Patrol agents shot beanbags at a group of suspected bandits before the men returned fire during a confrontation in a remote canyon, killing agent Brian Terry with a single gunshot, records show.

And an illegal immigrant wounded in the gunbattle who is now the only person in custody linked to the slaying contends he never fired a shot, according to FBI search warrant requests filed in the U.S. District Court in Tucson.

The documents provide the most detailed version yet of what happened in the deadly gunbattle Dec. 14 in Peck Canyon, northwest of Nogales.

The documents say the group of illegal border entrants refused commands to drop their weapons after agents confronted them at about 11:15 p.m. Two agents fired beanbags at the migrants, who responded with gunfire. Two agents returned fire, one with a long gun and one with a pistol, but Terry was mortally wounded in the gunfight.

Border Patrol officials declined to answer questions about protocol for use of force, citing the ongoing investigation.

But Terry's brother, Kent Terry, said the other agents who were there that night told him that they were instructed to use the non-lethal beanbags first. It's a policy that doesn't make sense to Kent Terry.

"You go up against a bandit crew that is carrying AKs, and you walk out there with guns loaded with beanbags - I don't get it," Terry said in a phone interview from Michigan. "It's like going to the Iraqi war with one knife. It boggles my mind. ... These guys (Border Patrol agents) are professionals; they should be able to use their judgment call on their own."

On the night of the deadly encounter, agents were trying to apprehend at least five suspected illegal immigrants. One agent, using thermal binoculars, spotted two men carrying rifles. When the group came close, at least one agent identified himself as police and ordered the men to drop their weapons.

Here's how the rest of the events are described in the FBI document:

"When the suspected aliens did not drop their weapons, two Border Patrol agents deployed 'less than lethal' beanbags at the suspected aliens. At this time, at least one of the suspected aliens fired at the Border Patrol agents. Two Border Patrol agents returned fire, one with his long gun and one with his pistol.

"Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was shot with one bullet and died shortly after. One of the suspected illegal aliens, later identified as Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, was also shot."

The search warrants were requested to examine fingerprints and a hair sample from Osorio-Arellanes, who was one of four men arrested that night near the shooting scene. The other three arrested, illegal immigrants from Mexico, have been cleared in connection with the crime and deported back to their home countries.

Osorio-Arellanes has not been charged in connection with the fatal shooting. He has been charged only with illegal re-entry after deportation and is awaiting a May 10 trial. The FBI document represents the first time his name has been included in a public document related to the shooting.

Two days after the shooting, Osorio-Arellanes agreed to talk to FBI agents. He was traveling with four others that night, all of whom were armed, Osorio-Arellanes told investigators, according to the document.

"Osorio-Arellanes stated that he had raised his weapon towards the Border Patrol agents, but he did not fire because he realized that they were Border Patrol agents," the search warrant says. "At this time, he was shot."
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« Reply #248 on: March 18, 2011, 07:55:44 AM »

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/orange-county-deputy-dies-from-illness-he-caught-1327335.html

Orange County deputy dies from illness he caught trying to save infant, Sheriff's Office says
 
Deputy Sebastian Diana, 40, died on Saturday after a more than five-year battle with an undisclosed illness, which the Sheriff's Office said he contracted while on a 911 call in 2006.

By Jeff Weiner

Orlando Sentinel

Updated: 10:23 a.m. Thursday, March 17, 2011

Posted: 8:18 a.m. Thursday, March 17, 2011


An Orange County deputy died this weekend, after a lengthy battle with an illness sheriff's officials said he caught while trying to save the life of an infant.

Deputy Sebastian Diana, 40, died on Saturday after a more than five-year battle with an undisclosed illness, which the Sheriff's Office said he contracted while on a 911 call in 2006.

According to an incident report, Diana was one of three deputies called to an Orange County apartment about 5:20 a.m. on Feb. 27, 2006, where a mother had reported that her 3-month-old boy was not breathing.

Deputies arriving on scene reported finding the child's mother screaming that her baby was dead. The child was lying on a blanket, and was not breathing, deputies said.

As Diana conducted CPR on the boy, he came into contact with the infant's vomit, the Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.

"In many ways, the very life that he was trying to save may have cost him his own life," Sheriff's Jerry Demings said.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #249 on: March 22, 2011, 10:15:26 AM »


http://www.wyff4.com/news/27200800/detail.html
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