Tuesday, September 3, 2019

My Washington Times Piece On How California Law Enforcement Just Got More Dangerous

The Washington Times published my piece on how California law enforcement just became more dangerous.

Many years ago, when I was a crime reporter for a Philadelphia weekly newspaper, I attended the Philadelphia Police Department’s pilot session of the Civilian Police Academy and wrote an 11-part series on police training and operations.

Like actual police recruits, the civilian “recruits,” a collection of lawyers, clergy, community leaders and others, took a turn at the FireArms Training Simulator (FATS). The simulator put a stand-alone weapon in the recruits’ hand that interacted with a large-screen video scenario. One scenario had a man rush by the recruit, failing to heed the recruit’s order to stop. Following immediately, another man rushed out of the door with a handgun raised in the air. He stopped and said the first man had just robbed his store.  

Afterward, the sergeant asked me why I didn’t fire at the two men and I replied that the first man posed no threat as he rushed by, and the second man posed no threat as he had his gun pointed up in the air.

“Good,” the sergeant said. “That sweet, elderly woman before you “smoked” ’em both.”

FATS training is useful, then and now, as it helps to prepare the officer for scenarios he or she may encounter on the street when a split-second decision may mean life or death for them and others.  

Making split-second decisions on the street just got somewhat harder for police officers in California with the passing of AB 392, which California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on Aug. 19.  

The measure would prohibit officers from using deadly force unless it is “necessary” to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to officers or bystanders. The previous standard allowed officers to use deadly force if they had “reasonable” fear they or others are in imminent danger. Police critics believe that the previous standard made it highly unlikely that officers who use deadly force could be charged with murder and unlikely that juries would convict them.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:


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