Magic Words Will Not Reduce Deadly Force

The Washington Post has spent two years tracking police use of deadly force and they continue to be shocked that deadly force is not going down in this country.

Despite countless reforms from law enforcement including policy and training, the police continue to shoot and kill around 975 citizens a year in the United States and demographically is has remained virtually unchanged.

Words such as “sanctity of life” and “de-escalation” are throughout the reforms but the deaths are not being reduced and now, in a desperate attempt, some think they have found the answer.

In a study led by The Washington Post, they say that if the police were simply required to complete a report when they pulled their gun out, that deadly force would be reduced.

Personally, I don’t care one way or the other and close to half of the agencies require the report now but just like other “magic” words did not work, this will solve nothing.

Law enforcement today is the most trained and most professional they have been in history. The police have the most resources they have ever had at their disposal to prevent deadly force and that is a good thing.  We should continue to evolve and kick the “status quo” to the curb.  We owe that to our community and our officers.

I believe in strong policy that makes the life of all citizens important.  De-escalation has and should always be a hallmark of what we, as police professionals, do each and every day but the unfortunate fact is, there will still be citizens that attack law enforcement and create situations where force and sometimes deadly force must be used.

So what can be done to reduce deadly force incidents?  Certainly a lot and I am very confident that many of our agencies are doing all they can in this area but there is something that The Washington Post and many other naysayers can do to help……Tell citizens to stop attacking cops, committing violent crimes and producing weapons towards law enforcement.

I have yet to hear The Washington Post or any prominent politicians ever say this.  What if citizens actually complied with law enforcement and stopped committing violent acts against others and law enforcement?  Maybe it is bold to think this is possible but that would actually help curb the force that cops use and that should be the goal of everyone rather than goofy studies that place another requirement on our men and women behind the badge.

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  1. LegalBeagle

    One of the very serious problems is that we as a profession have done an awful job of compiling the data ourselves and actually educating the community about the realities of the use of force, the legal standards, the tactics issues, and the conduct of offenders. Offenders, regardless of pigment, tend to have very similar characteristics, and I am not aware of any good data that can be used to objectively explain that. We also have too many people focused on the “feelz”, and frankly, too many executive level officers who have either forgotten or never known what the reality is, so they do stupid stuff like express sympathy for the offenders, take unjustified action against officers, etc.

    Actual uses of force, especially lethal force, are very rare, and when compared to the number of times it could be used against violent offenders, the rarity is even more clear – but how many agencies actually communicate that at all, let alone well?

  2. Count_Iblis

    There will always be criminals willing to kill and die. If civilized society is to continue we need to worry less about their lives and more about everyone else’s. Somewhere along the line we’ve gotten away from that.

  3. Ruffian31

    So says the WaPo, who conveniently sit behind a desk and quarterback everything from coffee consumed to how many colored paper clips they will use for the day. Not one of these jackasses has a clue what police officers go through or have to deal with. Maybe they should all invest some time in going to a civilian academy so they can LEARN something instead preaching about stuff they know not about.

    • Katrina

      I doubt the heads of WaPo care what their staff knows, as long as they continue to spew approved false “facts” that support their agenda. Total propaganda, not news.

  4. Katrina

    Why would the Washington Post want to write about a solution to the problem? They get far too much mileage out of writing articles about police “abuse” and excessive use of force. It seems they (and most other mainstream media) would rather stoke fires of “oppression”. The almighty dollar is their bottom line. They could care less about writing an article that would help society. Sick as it sounds, I fully believe they would rather have fifty police shootings to write about than write about how to realistically lower them.

  5. CJ Klekar

    “Tell citizens to stop attacking cops, committing violent crimes and producing weapons towards law enforcement.”
    I’m in total agreement with the author’s point and the above statement. It says it all. Even what Bill wrote below my post makes a lot of sense and I have to agree with him. The ‘thug’ culture has been glorified and inculcated into our society. I still remember the 1992 slaying of Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Bill Davidson by a thug who was listening to rap encouraging the killing of police officers. So, IMHO, the thug culture started a long time ago and so did the animus towards law enforcement. It has become more accepted by certain segments of our society and deemed harmless by those same segments.

    Another problem that I see are these police review boards staffed by civilians who armchair quarterback police actions. They certainly represent the views of the citizens, but seem to forget or ignore what a police officer has to go through to get voluntary compliance from those same citizens. Hence, the insipid statement by the Washington Post, ‘that if the police were simply required to complete a report when they pulled their gun out, that deadly force would be reduced.’ No, Washington Post, compliance with police officers commands will stop the violence. And if the media would quit pushing the notion that there are more blacks killed by white officers which in turn stirs up the black communities, then we might just see the real truth evolve out of all of this.

    • Katrina

      I believe most departments fill out a report whenever force is used. What a waste of time taking officers off the street to do yet more paperwork. Leave it to a rag like WaPo to tell the public they found a magic solution when they don’t know what they are talking about. They thrive on sensationalism and causing trouble. Police get shot, no big deal, but let them do the shooting and WaPo is looking for some reason why it shouldn’t have happened. They are becoming a cheap tabloid.

      • CJ Klekar

        Katrina, you are absolutely correct! The agency I retired from required a ‘Use of Force’ report if any kind of force is used to gain a suspects compliance. As if we didn’t have enough paperwork to do. Officers are saddled with an enormous amount of paperwork…

        • Katrina

          Thank you for your service to your community. Most of the public has no idea what the entirety of your job entails. But fed by misinformation from media, they think they have all the solutions. Infuriating!

          • CJ Klekar

            Thank you!

  6. Bill

    To drill down a little bit deeper, it would be nice to see the Washington Post or some other mainstream media entity explore the pathologically sick “thug” culture that has infected a wide swath of our population, and which glorifies violence and mindless resistance to lawful process. We have just seen in the last 24 hours a classic example there of, the simulated assassination of the president of the United States in a “hip-hop” video. As always, this gets a pass by the mainstream media, no outrage, no concern, no analysis of the effects on millions of young people in particular who see these examples and act them out in the streets every day. Indeed, it is likely that these types of influences have cost more lives in police encounters than any so-called “use of force reform” could ever save. You have entire generations now that have been inculcated in the false idea that law enforcement oppresses them, and therefore it is appropriate to use violence against the police. The results are predictable resulting in both LE deaths and of those who are under the influence of that culture. Of course, it does not stop just with deaths involving the police; those who have been taught this glorification of the “gangsta” mentality kill each other by the bushel basket daily in this country. Perhaps if the media, the activists, the academics, and all of those who advocate that the problem is with the police actually focused on the elephant in the room and try to do something to change the culture of the street, we might actually see a reduction in that 975 deaths a year.

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