Police Rethink 'Always Armed' Policy


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twency
November 27, 2005, 04:13 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1349814
Police Rethink 'Always Armed' Policy
Police Departments Rethink 'Always Armed, Always on Duty' Policies in Wake of Officer Deaths

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Nov 27, 2005 An old police tradition of requiring off-duty officers to carry their weapons "always armed, always on duty" is being scaled back in police departments nationwide, increasingly being blamed for the deaths of officers shot by colleagues who thought they were criminals.

The policy requires officers to respond to crimes even when they're not on duty. Supporters also say that letting officers carry their guns off-duty protects them from crooks bent on revenge.

But critics point to the shooting of officers in Providence, R.I., Orlando, Fla., Oakland, Calif. and elsewhere.

"Our situation is the extreme example of what can go wrong," said Sgt. Robert Paniccia, president of the Providence police union.

Young's mother, Leisa Young, says the rookie officer who shot him was not adequately trained to recognize off-duty or plainclothes officers.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police has called "always on duty" policies a costly tradition. The group, which has more than 20,000 members, recommends that off-duty officers who witness a crime call for assistance rather than pulling a weapon.

According to the FBI, 43 police officers have been killed since 1987 by friendly fire. Some were caught in crossfire, or killed by firearms mishaps. A handful, like Young, were mistaken for criminals and shot by fellow officers.

This year, an Orlando, Fla., police officer killed a man who had fired a gun outside the Citrus Bowl. The victim was a plainclothes officer working for the University of Central Florida. In 2001, two uniformed officers shot and killed an undercover detective when he trained his gun on a suspected car thief in Oakland, Calif.

In 1994, an off-duty police officer in New York City shot an undercover transit officer eight times in the chest. The transit officer survived.

Let's all be careful out there.
____________________
-twency

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loose cannon
November 27, 2005, 04:25 PM
i always wondered how the antis were going to disarm the police after reading of their agenda in a memo that was revealed a few years back.

could this be the 1st step?,,,,,,,,

TexasRifleman
November 27, 2005, 04:33 PM
And, for every one of these tragedies, how many lives were saved because of an armed off-duty officer?

You can find the corner cases in anything if you look hard enough.

One or 2 incidents on the bad side can't outweigh the hundreds on the good side, but of course the reporter here doesn't point any of that out, of course.

We as non-LEOs face the same danger when we carry concealed. And, with the same tragic results now and then. And again, how many of these turn out for the GOOD vs for the BAD. That's the important question, not whether or not it ever happens at all.

pcf
November 27, 2005, 04:50 PM
From www.odmp.org 3207 Officers have died in the line of duty between today and 1987.

While unfortunate 43 accidental shootings make up 1.3% of deaths, of that 43 the number that were accidentally shot due to mistaken identity is not provided.

While criminals with guns account for the vast majority of officer deaths, we should take guns away from the police for their safety.

orangeninja
November 27, 2005, 04:56 PM
Perhaps they should better train officers for off duty carry and reaction. My department's policy is simple....don't get involved unless it's life threatening.....possibly they could use these too, I don't, but it may save a life....what do you guys think?

http://www.galls.com/style.html?assort=general_catalog&style=LP263&cat=2646

Hkmp5sd
November 27, 2005, 05:46 PM
The number of LEOs killed with their own weapon since 1987 is far greater than 43. Look at the lives that could be saved by simply disarming all LEOs. :rolleyes:

M-Rex
November 27, 2005, 05:47 PM
According to the DOJ/FBI there were 675,734 law enforcement officer (sworn) working for 14,254 different agencies across the U.S.

Between 1987 and now, 43 have been killed by 'friendly fire'. If they were all killed in one year, that would equal out to about 0.006% of all LEO's.

It is an average of 2.38 officers per year killed by 'friendly fire'...out of 675,734. That equals out to 0.0003522%.

Two words:

Statistically insignificant.

Cite:
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_04/law_enforcement_personnel/

This is simply another smokescreen for disarmament.

AF_INT1N0
November 27, 2005, 05:59 PM
M-rex beat me to it....

Curse you M-rex!!!! for stealing my thunder!!!!!

j/k

but he's right 43 since 87 is so insignifigant as to ask why bother even tracking it..

More police are killed by asteroids....

geekWithA.45
November 27, 2005, 06:21 PM
As others point out, LEO's getting killed by good OR bad buys with guns is statistically a NON PROBLEM. (60-70 a year...a mere blip)

Of course, those who benefit from the widespread belief that John and Jane Law are being slaughtered by the thousands don't want you to know that.

The other point I would bring up, that would make a _fascinating_ study is

"How frequently are off duty officers shot for being armed in states that accept and support an armed citizenry, vs those in states that presume an armed person in street clothes is a criminal?"

AF_INT1N0
November 27, 2005, 09:08 PM
geek.... That is a Damn good question...... Probably more than in free states...

By alot

RealGun
November 28, 2005, 09:31 AM
Police pull and aim, sometimes shoot their weapons in situations that a civilian could not justify.

Onmilo
November 28, 2005, 09:36 AM
This is the old liberal argument that neither cops nor law abiding citizens need to carry guns as they go about their day to day lives because guns are dangerous and will just get you killed.

Since citizens cannot legally carry in the State of Illinois, I hope and pray that every off duty police officer is, because they can,,,,,

bogie
November 28, 2005, 09:38 AM
True... A few years back I knew a fellow who got literally pistol whipped by an off duty cop who didn't like the way the fellow was looking at his girlfriend. Knowing the fellow, I sorta side with the cop, but only up to the point of maybe suggesting that he shoulda gotten his girlfriend outta the bar...

roo_ster
November 28, 2005, 12:07 PM
More police are killed by asteroids....

I first read this as "More police are killed by steroids...."

AF_INT1N0's statement is a bit fanciful, but I think what I thought he wrote may very well be true.

Teufelhunden
November 28, 2005, 12:36 PM
Considering the possibility of having to act as a peace officer without being clearly identified as one and in discussion with deputies in my department, it has become clear that SOME form of immediately apparent identification is necessary before you act.

Acting as your duties require is all well and good, but if you don't take care of #1 (yourself), no one else might either. Bottom line: Go home alive.

-Teuf

boofus
November 28, 2005, 12:39 PM
The antis have NEVER been the friend of the beat cop or law abiding citizens in general.

Law enforcement is simply a convenient excuse to push the gun ban agenda.

The leftwing fruitloops pushing for gun control are the SAME ones that want clemency and pardons for copkilling scumbags like Mumia Abu Jamal and quadruple murderer Tookie Williams.

El Tejon
November 28, 2005, 01:03 PM
Exactly right, boofus. They care no more about the police than they do about me and you. And you know how much they hate me and you!

The antis have agitated for disarming off-duty cops for a while now. It is merely a tactic against CCW.

If police departments prohibit off duty carry, antis can point to this policy as evidence of how "dangerous" carrying a gun is to the few legislatures where the antis can make a stand.

Of course, this represents a wonderful opportunity for the NRA to come to the defense of the police. We'll wait and see if anyone down there is paying attention (yes, I send them letters but do they ever write back--nooooo).:D

svtruth
November 28, 2005, 01:50 PM
It is my impression (and I'm happy to listen to facts) that usually, the shooter LEO is white and the shootee, black.
This was the case in RI and, IIRC, the 1994 NYC episode.

jsalcedo
November 28, 2005, 03:18 PM
If there is such a huge problem with LEO's shooting other LEO's I guess CCW holders will me massacred by the police.

Jeff White
November 28, 2005, 04:52 PM
The IACP has never endorsed off duty carry and they lobbied against HR218. I'm sure the passage of HR 218 has had a lot to do with this new push. A lot of administrators who are perfectly comfortable with their off duty officers carrying weapons where they work, don't want them carrying out of their jurisdiction.

Jeff

c_yeager
November 28, 2005, 05:26 PM
According to the DOJ/FBI there were 675,734 law enforcement officer (sworn) working for 14,254 different agencies across the U.S.

Between 1987 and now, 43 have been killed by 'friendly fire'. If they were all killed in one year, that would equal out to about 0.006% of all LEO's.

It is an average of 2.38 officers per year killed by 'friendly fire'...out of 675,734. That equals out to 0.0003522%.

Two words:

Statistically insignificant.

Cite:
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_04/law_enforcement_personnel/

This is simply another smokescreen for disarmament.

The amount of officers killed by criminals is also statistically insignificant. Perhaps they dont need to be armed at all.

M-Rex
November 28, 2005, 06:43 PM
The amount of officers killed by criminals is also statistically insignificant. Perhaps they dont need to be armed at all.

Please tell my you are demonstrating absurdity by being absurd.

Mannlicher
November 28, 2005, 08:19 PM
"This year, an Orlando, Fla., police officer killed a man who had fired a gun outside the Citrus Bowl. The victim was a plainclothes officer working for the University of Central Florida"

From the article posted. If you will remember, the 'off duty' cop was not a cop, but a security guard, who was engaged in some pretty odd behavior at the time. The Keystone, er, Kampus Kop that killed him was not held responsible at all. Funny how the cops will turn even something like this to their political advantage.

Jim K
November 28, 2005, 08:40 PM
LEOs might want to recall that one of the goals of the Brady campaign and other anti-gun groups is the DISARMAMENT OF THE POLICE. In his famous book "The Saturday Night Special", Robert Sherrill made it clear that the FIRST priority of gun control was disarming the police, who, he claimed, were incompetent, stupid, corrupt, and dangerous. The Brady campaign has called the book "the bible" of gun control.

Jim

JMusic
November 28, 2005, 09:51 PM
A few comments. Those who have taken the oath know that it did not stipulate up to 8 hours a day! What is the difference between plainclothes officers (look wise) and off duty? Those who wish to disarm the police should go some where that is ruled by a Queen. Not even the French are that stupid!!!
Jim

Ryder
November 28, 2005, 11:26 PM
Guns have been demonized to such an extent that many perceive any gun holder not wearing a uniform to be a badguy. I don't share that midset so it's hard for me to sypathize.

Lots of us use guns for recreation but many believe guns are only useful for shooting people. Easy for me to see how that can be a problem.

c_yeager
November 29, 2005, 12:09 AM
From the article posted. If you will remember, the 'off duty' cop was not a cop, but a security guard, who was engaged in some pretty odd behavior at the time. The Keystone, er, Kampus Kop that killed him was not held responsible at all. Funny how the cops will turn even something like this to their political advantage.

Its amusing that you accuse someone else of diseminating bad information in the very same paragraph in which you clearly demonstrate a poor command of the actual facts involved.

The "security guard" was an ON-duty University police officer, a sworn officer. The shooter was city of Orlando police officer. You might want to consider checking your own facts before you go on a tirade about the accuracy of others.

Jim K
November 29, 2005, 09:56 PM
One aspect of the problem that is not often mentioned is what I call the "who, me?" reaction.

In DC a few years ago, a plain clothes officer making an arrest was holding his gun on a suspect. A uniformed officer came on the scene and, for whatever reason, did not recognize the holder of a gun as an officer. The uniformed officer yelled, "Police, drop the gun!" The plain clothes cop just stood there, making no response. The uniformed cop yelled again, same thing. This time, the plain clothes officer turned toward the uniformed cop and appeared to raise his gun. The uniformed officer shot and fatally wounded the other cop.

In the hospital, before the plain clothes cop died, he explained that he had seen the uniform and heard the call to drop the gun but, since he was a cop, and the gun was issue, he didn't think the other officer meant HIM. He assumed (yep, I know) that the uniformed officer was intercepting another bad guy, outside his range of vision. At the second call, he turned to see who the uniform was yelling at and to cover the other guy if necessary.

I wonder how often that kind of thing happens.

Jim

jason10mm
November 30, 2005, 10:18 AM
whew, makes me glad I have my CCW badge on me at ALL times!!!!

Actually, a very careful analysis of the statistics would be interesting, especially any race bias between the shooter and the victim. I would argue that an off-duty/plainclothes cop would engage in much more aggressive anti-criminal behavior than your typical CCW (in terms of who they would go after, how far they would pursue, and trying to arrest BGs instead of just driving them away) so they probably have a MUCH greater chance of encountering passing by/responding uniformed LEOs while still engaged with the BG.

Ravenslair
November 30, 2005, 03:34 PM
...More police are killed by asteroids....

It is a good thing I was not drinking something when I read that. It would have exited my nose and impacted my keyboard at high velocity.

Bad Words
November 30, 2005, 04:48 PM
Maybe departments should try teaching the cops to always know their target...

twency
December 1, 2005, 04:50 AM
Maybe departments should try teaching the cops to always know their target...
Sounds like a good idea, but I think it fails to recognize the complexities which an officer encounters in arriving at an apparently active crime scene. Consider a hypothetical scenario:

Officer arrives on scene, responding to 911 call saying that a madman is holding someone at gunpoint. As he cautiously approaches from the side (he doesn't want to startle the guy with the gun from behind, but he'd be foolish to approach from the direction where the gun is pointed), he sees a guy pointing a gun at a seemingly innocent, unarmed person sitting on the ground. The guy with the gun is shouting something, but the officer can't clearly understand him. (There's some background noise, and the shouting gun-holder is somewhat incoherent because he's upset.) The officer needs to gain control of the situation, and make sure the only person on the scene with a gun out is himself, plus any uniformed backup who might show up. He shouts at the guy with the gun to put it down. The guy with the gun hasn't realized the officer has arrived, he turns slightly out of surprise, and is shot once through the heart by the officer, who saw the guy with the gun turning it on him.

Who's at fault?

The officer knew his target. There was a random guy he didn't know pointing a gun at an unarmed person, and then it looked like the gunman was starting to point his gun at the officer.

The gunman had stopped a crime in progress. His wife was being threatened by a guy with a knife. He pulled his gun. He would've shot the guy with the knife, but the guy dropped the knife as our hero reached for his gun (it's now out of sight behind him) and started blubbering like a baby. Guy with a gun hesitated at first, and then didn't think he'd be justified any more in shooting the guy who used to have a knife, once he was sitting on the ground pleading for his life. He didn't trust this guy who just assaulted his wife, so he was still covering the guy on the ground. He'd had a huge adrenaline rush from being in fear for his wife's life. He had tunnel vision, and didn't see or hear the officer arrive on the scene at first. When he suddenly realized that someone was shouting at him to put the gun down, he was startled, and started to turn toward the sound.

A very sad situation for everyone involved. The only partial winner is knife guy, who deserved to be shot for what he was trying to do. Hopefully he'll spend some time in prison, but he'll come out of it alive. Our hero, who may very well have saved his wife's life, is dead. The officer will discover to his horror that he shot a well-intentioned person who was just trying to protect an innocent person. The gunman's wife just saw her husband shot dead in front of her. To one degree or another, everyone we care about loses in this scenario.

Sure, this situation may sound contrived, but it's just one example of the countless ways in which an officer might be justified in shooting someone who really didn't deserve to get shot. To answer my question from above, fault lies with the guy with the knife, who's initial violence started the sequence of events which led to the death of our hero, the guy with the gun.

I am not a lawyer, LEO, or in any other profession of relevance to this thread. I have no personal axe to grind in this discussion, other than having a license to carry. I just don't think there are any simple, one-size-fits-all solutions to the problem being discussed.
____________
-twency

(Incidentally, I am not using the term "our hero" sarcastically. A person who protects his or her family from harm is indeed a hero. I simply used the term to help distinguish the participants, and to indicate that even heros can get dead, sometimes for reasons that don't seem fair or right.)

Geno
December 1, 2005, 07:46 AM
One of the first points made by the county S.W.A.T. director who taught my CCW class was to "Yell and make as much noise to be noticed as you can. Scream like heck because you want witnesses. And, the bad guys don't scream and call police attention to themselves...good people do".

The only conflict I see is ununiformed police and civilians carrying. As easy as it is to purchase genuine badges, although I personally would NEVER trust that someone out-of-uniform is truly a cop. That presents a problem. Also, police, like most humans need a mental or emotional break. They also need 24-hours per day self-defense from vindictive people. They should carry, but they should NOT, NOT get involved.

I was witness to one very unfortunate and STUPID off-duty cop pulling over a suspected drunk driver, caused an accident in doing so, then brandished the person he pulled over. The person blew a .000000000000000000000000000000% alcohol. No, no drugs either. Simple case of head-up arse, egotistical, adrenilin-junkie, jackarse who need not carry ever again. I know the person he pulled over. Now the department is facing a lawsuit, and I will probably be called in as a witness, forcing me to take off time from my job.

The problems as I see it is that if any cop who caused an accident involving ME, then brandishes ME? I'd be up on charges for shooting his arse, becuase I don't intend to wait to see if the dork in bluejeans, t-shirt and cap is truly a cop.

For my part, sure, cops should carry off-duty--SAME AS I CAN--CONCEALED! They shouldn't need a CCW, that's stupid. They also should NOT get involved...call a cop. They life they save might be their own.

Just my thoughts.

Doc2005

Edited to add:

Lastnight I posted a thread that is relevant to this conversation (in "Legal and Political") after viewing the evening news, regarding an off-duty officer being mugged--sidearm, badge and ID stolen. I guess there are more risks than simply shootings and misidentification by cops. Perhaps we should add the misidentification by bad guys too?

Janitor
December 1, 2005, 08:34 AM
We as non-LEOs face the same danger when we carry concealed.
Probably not an issue really. Sure - keep an eye out, but think about it. If the numbers on LEOs is statisticly insignificant, how many (even per capita) CCW holders might get in trouble? Keep in mind that LEOs do zany things like run towards the gunfire.

"Yell and make as much noise to be noticed as you can. Scream like heck because you want witnesses. And, the bad guys don't scream and call police attention to themselves...good people do".
Absatively. Same instructions in the CCW class I was in.
-

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