Why cops shoot?

#1
I'm not harking back to the SO19 thing. I found the following on a journo site from America and it seems to explain the quandry and problems facing an armed officer. Also, bear in mind that police opening fire is not something rare over the pond
Why Cops Shoot

Try It Yourself




If you are unfamiliar with guns, and yet want an idea of why shootings by cops happen, let me suggest a few practical exercises that may shed light on the subject.

First (and for a variety of reasons I don't suggest trying this should the occasion arise in real life), have a friend stand in front of you and point his finger at your chest as if it were a gun. Hold your hands at about shoulder height, as if he had said, "Hands up!" Tell him to shoot instantly if you move. Then, as fast as you can, without warning, try to knock his hand away.

He will never be able to pull the (imaginary) trigger before you hit his hand.

Next, get a second friend, or just pretend you have one at hand. Hold your hand at your side as you might comfortably hold a gun, and point it at the second friend, who we will assume to be a clerk at a convenience store. If you are right handed, have your other friend stand directly to your left, pointing his "gun" at you, ready to fire. He will be the cop. If he wants, he can say, "Drop it!" or whatever.

Now, turn to look toward him, simultaneously pointing your gun finger at him, as fast as you can, and shoot. You will find that, although he already has his "gun" aimed, he cannot react fast enough to shoot before you do.

Reflect that in real life, unless he is cold and experienced in gunfights (cops are usually neither) he will probably wait a split second to decide whether the bad guy has hostile intent. End of story.

Try a harder one. Point your gun, again at a natural waist level, and close to your body, toward the "clerk." Have the cop stand directly behind you, say, ten feet away, with his gun aimed at you. Now, as fast as you possibly can, twist -- don't step -- around and try to shoot him before he can shoot you. The results may surprise you. Note that, if the "cop" had his gun aimed at the middle of your back, he will probably find that it is pointed at the clerk when he pulls the trigger because, in twisting around, your body moved out of his line of fire.

Most criminals won't have the presence of mind to try turning on you this way, but some will. If a robber is wired out of his mind on PCP or crank, he will be unpredictable. To someone who hasn't tried it, it may look as if you have the drop on him. You don't, quite.

As a final experiment, have him stand ten feet away from you with his back turned to you and his hands in front of him. Assume that he is a suspect fleeing from you down an alley, and finds that it is a dead end. Have him hold two different objects in his hands -- say, his wallet and his cell phone. The cell phone, let us say, is a gun.

Point your "gun" at him. Say "Hands up!" if you want. His job is to turn quickly toward you, with either the wallet or the cell phone in his gun hand. If he has chosen to turn with the "gun," he should shoot you as quickly as he can.

Your job is to decide whether he is holding the "gun" or the wallet, and either shoot, or refrain from shooting, as appropriate. Have a body bag ready, because, if he turns with the gun, you won't have a prayer.

If you want, try it with a Day-glo pink plastic banana and a realistic plastic gun. For that matter, have him turn either holding the cell phone or holding nothing. The results will be the same. The arithmetic of reaction time says that you cannot look at an object, decide what it is, and take action before he shoots. The one who acts first not only has the advantage of reaction time, which in itself would be enough to shoot first, but also the time needed for you to decide what to do. Not even close.

Think about trying it in a dark alley, after sprinting a hundred yards, chasing a criminal who as a matter of statistical fact is quite likely to be armed, but may not be. Very likely, someone will die: You, because it was a gun and you waited to see, or him, because, gun or not, you didn't wait.
 
#2
Methinks our boys would be a tad better. For a start they train a hell of a lot more than the average yank copper plus they get constant tests which are of an understandably high standard.

Tactics are a bit different as well, for instance, our lot wouldn't chase a guy down a dark alley, they'd probably get some back up and isolate him, then approach.

And no copper wants to get sent down for murder, I met one ex marksman and he said every time he was sh iting about making the wrong move, so he treained that little bit harder to make sure he didnt.
 
#3
Y_Delyn said:
Methinks our boys would be a tad better. For a start they train a hell of a lot more than the average yank copper plus they get constant tests which are of an understandably high standard.

Tactics are a bit different as well, for instance, our lot wouldn't chase a guy down a dark alley, they'd probably get some back up and isolate him, then approach.

And no copper wants to get sent down for murder, I met one ex marksman and he said every time he was sh iting about making the wrong move, so he treained that little bit harder to make sure he didnt.
You don't have a clue do you.

edited to add: I know I post crap sometimes and it must get up peoples noses but if I ever start posting clueless drivel like that last post of Y_Delyn's someone shoot me.
 
#4
Old red cap. That made me think.
 
#5
I seem to remember "training hard" for NI in the 70s - and when I got there, along with a lot of others no doubt, every patrol was interetsing (x-maglen, armargh etc), I was bricking it - I believe no matter how hard you train you have a simple mental state - him or me... well I'm still here.
 
#6
armourer said:
if I ever start posting clueless drivel like that last post of Y_Delyn's someone shoot me.
Nice touch of humour armourer.... :lol:
 
#7
Good article. Same old rules apply, at very close range shoot from the hip – there is no need on the whole to take aimed shots with a pistol at short distances and the reflex is much faster.

It's when you don't keep your weapon in close to your body you loose it, either by the target moving slightly to either the left or right, taking themselves completely out of shot, or grappling for it. On the whole, you want to keep distances (no brainer).

As the guy say though, if the criminal has half his wits about him you don't stand much of a chance.
 
#8
spank_the_monkey said:
Good article. Same old rules apply, at very close range shoot from the hip – there is no need on the whole to take aimed shots with a pistol at short distances and the reflex is much faster.

It's when you don't keep your weapon in close to your body you loose it, either by the target moving slightly to either the left or right, taking themselves completely out of shot, or grappling for it. On the whole, you want to keep distances (no brainer).

As the guy say though, if the criminal has half his wits about him you don't stand much of a chance.
Correct...never let a person close on you; keep distance and shoot from the hip. You will be amazed how accurate you can be without sights to aim at close range.

BTW nice article amazed that a journo wrote and posted it, most are left wing cnuts and hate guns, cops or both. 8O
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
#9
It's action beating reaction again.

There's a pretty much standard accepted twenty-one foot 'safety distance' for contact weapons, (knives, etc.)
This means that an assailant within that distance, armed with an edged weapon for example, will be able to move and strike you before you will be able to react and fire.
It sounds like a long distance, but time and time again experienced and fit police officers have been taken down by goblins.
Due to this most if not all police departments in America do train their officers to keep outside this distance when dealing with this type of assailant.
It's not always possible sure, but a damn good rule to try to adhere to.

As an aside, an interesting development Stateside has been a marked decline in police officers shooting criminals in favour of 'talking them down' - a result of improved training.
 
#10
Cutaway said:
It's action beating reaction again.

There's a pretty much standard accepted twenty-one foot 'safety distance' for contact weapons, (knives, etc.)
This means that an assailant within that distance, armed with an edged weapon for example, will be able to move and strike you before you will be able to react and fire.
It sounds like a long distance, but time and time again experienced and fit police officers have been taken down by goblins.
Due to this most if not all police departments in America do train their officers to keep outside this distance when dealing with this type of assailant.
It's not always possible sure, but a damn good rule to try to adhere to.

As an aside, an interesting development Stateside has been a marked decline in police officers shooting criminals in favour of 'talking them down' - a result of improved training.
The latest Tazer is effective to 21'...not a magic number is it. The next series of Tazer in development are purported to be effetive up to 30'.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
#11
ctauch said:
The latest Tazer is effective to 21'...not a magic number is it. The next series of Tazer in development are purported to be effetive up to 30'.
You're right it's not a magic number, more of an indication of dangerous range.
If the manufacturers are touting the latest Tazer's range as twenty-one feet, is that just pandering to the 'seven yard safety' distance used in trg, or because they designed it with that range ?

I've not tried the new Tazers at all, but if the next series gives a greater effective range it can't be a bad thing eh ?
 
#12
Cutaway said:
ctauch said:
The latest Tazer is effective to 21'...not a magic number is it. The next series of Tazer in development are purported to be effetive up to 30'.
You're right it's not a magic number, more of an indication of dangerous range.
If the manufacturers are touting the latest Tazer's range as twenty-one feet, is that just pandering to the 'seven yard safety' distance used in trg, or because they designed it with that range ?

I've not tried the new Tazers at all, but if the next series gives a greater effective range it can't be a bad thing eh ?
The 21' was intentional and by design; is far better then the 12'-15' that has been available. 30' is intended to cut down on the need for deadly force but will take some time and field proving before adopted and relied upon.

BTW anything over 15' is not available to civies in the US, but hey we can carry a gun...go figure.
 
#13
Cutaway said:
...As an aside, an interesting development Stateside has been a marked decline in police officers shooting criminals in favour of 'talking them down' - a result of improved training.
To a certain level, I disagree. Training is ALWAYS improving a LEO's life, but I don't think it's the root cause.

There are statistics coming out that assert the abortion rate in the USA has more to do with less crime, and less shootings, than better laws or training. The theory is that poor, unwanted children are more likely to engage in violent crimes. When Roe v. Wade legitimized abortion, fewer unwanted children were carried to term. 20 years later (mid 90s), there were fewer people in their late teens and early 20's to commit violent or drug-related crimes. With fewer violent crimes, there's less chance of engaging someone with a firearm.

Right now, there is significant drop in violent crimes across the nation; in spite of the prediction of an increase from 'superpredator' criminals coming to fore by the end of the 90's.

As can be expected, the Christian Right is going bezerk over the abortion-violent crime connection. :roll: But when economists look at the statistics and agree...

The one great side effect to improved training and tactics is fewer LEOs are needed per capita. American LEOs are working MUCH smarter than they were even ten years ago. The Taser system is one shining example. They still have one helluva job. Bless Them.
 
#14
Just a few points here, for I believe I am quite qualified in this arena. First off, I've been a police officer for 15 years. I've been involved in three seperate officer involved shootings, two dead, one in a wheelchair for life, I am the lead firearms instructor for a 250 person police dept, and I have approximately 3, 000 hours of firearms training; above and beyond the Marine Corps, police academy, and in-house training. I also testify, as a use of force expert, for police officers, in federal and state court, regarding officer involved shootings.

Having said all of that, the 21 ft rule, at this time, is very much being re-thought. As someone else said, 30' is now the norm. Of course, 30' when your talking to someone is WAY too far away. Its impossible to hear a person speak and its impossible for them to here you; unless you are yelling.

Action vs Reaction is a very good point. However, you can break it down even further. There is an issue called "Physical Lag Time." It is basically broken down and thus:

Perception Time (approx .1 seconds): The time required for an impulse to be generated in the eye and transmitted to the brain.

Brain Lag (approx .1 seconds): The time required for a decision.

Reaction Time (approx .4-.8 seconds): The time required for an impluse to travel from the brain to the hands/feet, etc, which triggers some physical reaction to the original eye stimulus.

Understand, these times were on well rested, 25 yr old male college students. Now, include age, smoking, physical fitness, and moreover, exhaustion levels (long shifts, midnight shifts, etc) you can increase the times. Not to mention, the "aw shit" syndrome, of "I can't believe its happening to me." No matter how much we train, no matter how good we are, we ALL fall into the "aw shit" stumble; even if for a brief moment.

To be quite honest with my brit counterparts here, it is actually quite amazing we American police officers don't shoot more people then we do. I believe it shows our restraint, in areas of using deadly force. In fact, because of threats of civil liability, etc, many police officers are killed, each and every year, because they hesitate and not use deadly force, when it is called for.
 
#15
That's a good article, and all of those issues are covered on the basic AFO course in UK CIVPOL. And those scenarios are put to you on the "Judgement Range" on numerous occasions. Furthermore, experienced criminals in the UK know full well the poice SOPs and are utterly aware that you'd rather not shoot them, thanks. Oh, and their body armour is better too.

One scenario we did was a hard stop on an armed robbery team. I approached the "robber" with my Glock giving the routine "ARMED POLICE!" spiel, got too close and the suspect (a SO19 instructor) walked straight up to me, pushed the weapon away and started to grapple me to the ground. I was conditioned to think that the pistol was a magic psychological tool that would ensure compliance. Not so! So you start learning that the weapon is just another tool and the next time he tried the same trick I CS sprayed him instead.

Judges, solicitors, barristers and members of the police complaints industry are all invited onto the Judgement Range to see for themselves the challenges faced by firearms officers. Some take up the offer, some don't. Yet The System finds it very easy not to take that walk in a policeman's shoes when the time to cast blame comes.

V!
 
#16
ctauch said:
...WTF are you going on about Roe v. Wade? Are you a moron?
Nope. Graduate degree in Computer Science. Undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics. Minor concentrations in Civil Engineering and Russian. The minors were based on military experience. Oh, then there's that trifling first career I had in the military for 20 years...

ctauch said:
Start a new thread and post proof on this "abortion theory"...oh right you have no proof cause there is no study.
"The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime", Quarterly Journal of Economics 116, No. 2 (2001) pages 379-420.

"Further Evidence That Legalized Abortion Lowered Crime: A Response to Joyce", Journal of Human Resources 39, No. 1 (2004) pages 29-49.


Annnnd, from your own backyard of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia:

"The Psychological Sequelae of Theraputic Abortion -- Denied and Completed", American Journal of Psychiatry 148, No 5 (1991), pages 578-585.

ctauch said:
Now bugger off and quit pulling the thread off topic.
You first. The original post claimed fewer shootings due to better training. I wrote that I did not think it was the primary cause. I wrote that it stemmed from fewer violent criminals. We have fewer violent criminals because fewer unwanted children were born twenty to thirty years ago. There are fewer unwanted children because abortions are legal in the USA.

The citations are listed above, you can look them up and enjoy the verbiage.

Bugger off? Wear bug repellent next time; or bathe. Your call...

XOXOXO
 
#17
Ooooh 21' why do we keep waving that one around? Most encounters with suspects/offenders take place at considerably less thatn 21'.

Most fo the time you might not even be aware that the the little tinker is an offender, you just think he might.

Try asking initial questions of a person at 21' on a street. You'll be shouting to them! You won't be able to clearly see their hands or bumps and bulges in their clothing etc.

I'm not an armed type of copper, just a walking target with a pointy head and I despair for my US cousins who face the threat fo firearms on a far more regular basis. The 21' rule was an interesting observation on the posible minimum safe distance etc not a magic force field.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
#18
Speedkuff said:
Ooooh 21' why do we keep waving that one around? Most encounters with suspects/offenders take place at considerably less thatn 21'.

Most fo the time you might not even be aware that the the little tinker is an offender, you just think he might.

Try asking initial questions of a person at 21' on a street. You'll be shouting to them! You won't be able to clearly see their hands or bumps and bulges in their clothing etc.

I'm not an armed type of copper, just a walking target with a pointy head and I despair for my US cousins who face the threat fo firearms on a far more regular basis. The 21' rule was an interesting observation on the posible minimum safe distance etc not a magic force field.
Exactly Speedkuff, which is why i said that it was not always possible and that it was indicative of dangerous range.

It would be a fairly rare incident where the Officer first sees the katana-weilding goblin at this distance.
For the myriad of other times that this type of contact occurs, one hopes that vests and other training come into their own...
 
#19
Cutaway said:
...For the myriad of other times that this type of contact occurs, one hopes that vests and other training come into their own...
Quite right.

Here in USA they call it the "Reactionary Gap". And it's primarily a teaching tool that shows how a LEO's options for use of force decreases with the distance. It also serves as a basis for developing skills that work faster than firearms at reduced ranges. Coupled with this are the legal requirements for employing any technique against a suspect. LEOs always face two trials here: trial by combat and trial by jury.

The amazing thing is that US LEOs blend all this together and still get the job done.
 
#20
CTauch

You errrrrr spirited reply deleted. Come on guys , keep it civil.

Regards

PTP
 

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