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Police Wisdom: Ten Deadly Errors

Assault in Progress: Detroit 911 Response Time 4 Days

The news media is always interested in stories where the police abuse their authority.  Each police use of force is scrutinized and many times the assumption is that the police officer should have been able to resolve the situation with reason. The world is filled with violent angry people. The cops don’t always win. We seldom hear the details of those stories.

“Police officers may drive black and white cars, however what goes on in their job is a lot of gray.” – Arik Matson

The 10 Deadly Shooting Errors have been taught in police academies for at least 30 years.  For those who have never been a cop, it is an interesting look into their training and mindset.

All too often we read about law enforcement officers injured or killed in performance of their duties. Police instructors insist that risks could be minimized by avoiding the 10 Deadly Errors. They’re worth a look. I’m not sure who to credit for the list and commentary. The author is lost to time.

The 10 Deadly Shooting Errors

1. Lack of Concentration: If you fail to keep your mind on the job while on patrol or carry home problems into the field, you start to make errors. It can cost you and your fellow officers their lives.

2. Tombstone Courage:  Just what it says, if time allows wait for backup. There are very few instances where you should try to make a dangerous apprehension unaided.

3. Not Enough Rest: to do your job you must be alert. Lack of sleep or being sleepy can endanger yourself, the community and fellow officers.

4. Taking a Bad Position: Never let anyone you are questioning or about to stop get in a better position than you are. There is no such thing as a routine stop!

5. Not Heeding the Danger Signs: As a cop you will get to recognize “danger signs.” Movements, strange cars, warnings that should alert you to watch your step and approach with caution. Know your beat and watch for what is out-of-place.

6. Failure to Watch the Hands of a Suspect: Is he or she reaching for a weapon or getting to smack you? Where else can a killer strike from, but from their hands?

7. Relaxing Too Soon: YES, the rut of false alarms are accidental or whatever. Still, observe the activity. Never take any call as routine or just another false alarm. It could be your ass on the line.

8. Improper Handcuffing: Once you have made the arrest, handcuff the prisoner correctly! See that the hands that can kill you are safely secured.

9. No Search or Bad Search: There are too many places to hide a weapon that if you fail to search you are guilty of committing a crime against other officers that will have contact with your prisoner. Many people carry weapons and are able and ready to use them on you. Never assume that the next guy or the jailer will do a “good” search.

10. Dirty or Inoperative Weapon: Is your sidearm clean? How about the bullets? Did you clean your weapon since the last range? Or have you even shot or practiced drawing your weapon recently? Can you hit your target in a combat situation? You must practice faithfully and religiously.

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