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Better hope for good trigger discipline

July 29, 2015

Here’s an interesting editorial in The Washington Post about a guy who got swatted for, basically, leaving his apartment door ajar. But he was lucky.

In Iraq, I raided insurgents. In Virginia, the police raided me

[…] I didn’t wake up until three police officers barged into my apartment, barking their presence at my door. They sped down the hallway to my bedroom, their service pistols drawn and leveled at me.

It was just past 9 a.m., and I was still under the covers. The only visible target was my head.

In the shouting and commotion, I felt an instant familiarity. I’d been here before. This was a raid.

I had done this a few dozen times myself, 6,000 miles away from my Alexandria, Va., apartment. As an Army infantryman in Iraq, I’d always been on the trigger side of the weapon. Now that I was on the barrel side, I recalled basic training’s most important firearm rule: Aim only at something you intend to kill. […]

My situation was terrifying. Lying facedown in bed, I knew that any move I made could be viewed as a threat. Instinct told me to get up and protect myself. Training told me that if I did, these officers would shoot me dead.


From Reason’s blog a story (with video) about someone who wasn’t so lucky. My emphasis here.

University of Cincinnati Cop Ray Tensing Indicted in Murder of Samuel Dubose

Ray Tensing, the University of Cincinnati police officer who shot and killed Samuel Dubose as the man drove away during a traffic stop over a missing front license plate, was indicted for murder today. The county prosecutor, Joe Deters said Tensing “purposely killed” Dubose in an “asinine” and “senseless” manner. Authorities say Tensing shot Dubose in the head as Dubose tried to drive away, with the county prosecutor saying it took “maybe a second” for Tensing to pull his gun and shoot. He played the body cam footage at the press conference announcing the indictment.


From the Post again, Radley Balko links to an encouraging article in the Alaska Dispatch News about how Alaska trains police.

Alaska’s police, troopers do best as guardians, not warriors

[…]There are many within policing who have questioned the warrior mindset since well before Ferguson ignited the recent national debate. To these officers, a warrior class of police is antithetical to a democracy and our Constitution. Lt. Chad Goeden, Commander of the Alaska Department of Public Safety Training Academy, is one of these. The academy trains every Alaska State Trooper recruit and many municipal and borough police recruits before they can become certified sworn law enforcement officers.

During Lt. Goeden’s nearly 20-year tenure with the Alaska State Troopers he’s worked all over the state. When he became the academy commander he hung a sign over his office door:

“The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.” – Sir Robert Peel, founder of modern policing

Lt. Goeden chose that quote because he’d observed some officers had lost a sense of connection to the community. He explained, “I thought it was important to remind myself, my staff and the recruits why it is we do what we do, who we serve, and who it is we are beholden to.”

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