In Santa Rosa, Calif., sheriff deputies shot and killed a 13-year old boy who was carrying a toy assault rifle. The police believed the replica was the real thing. The officers saw the young boy with the gun and repeatedly ordered him to put it down. Several rounds were fired at the teenager and it was only after the victim fell to the ground did the officers realize it was a fake weapon.
An investigation is ongoing, but an officer does have the right to use deadly force if he feels there is a threat. This is just one tragic example of many police shootings recently that are endangering the public rather than protecting it. When police agencies were searching for Christopher Dorner in Southern California earlier this year, some officers fired upon innocent bystanders who were not even close to fitting Dorner’s profile.
Do police policies sometimes endanger the public? Do police safety policies need to change? What can be done to curb this?
David Klinger, former LAPD officer; author of Into the Kill Zone: A Cop's Eye View of Deadly Force (Jossey-Bass); Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis
Chuck Drago, former police chief with over 30 years experience in law enforcement with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department; police practices consultant for police departments across the country