No Training + Firearms + A Badge = …

I’ll let this article answer that one:

Four months into his job, a police officer in Mississippi holds a gun to the head of an unarmed teenager and puts him in a chokehold. A rookie officer in Illinois gets into a car chase that kills a driver. And a new campus policeman in Indiana shoots an unarmed student to death.

Some are blaming these harrowing episodes on what an Associated Press survey found is a common practice across the country: At least 30 states let some newly hired local law enforcement officers hit the streets with a gun, a badge and little or no training.

These states allow a certain grace period — six months or a year in most cases, two years in Mississippi and Wisconsin — before rookies must be sent to a police academy. In many cases, these recruits are supposed to be supervised by a full-fledged officer, but that does not always happen.

This is disturbing on so many different levels. It’s a bad thing for everyone involved: giving untrained personnel the weapons to implement deadly force is as much a disservice to them as it is to the citizenry they are supposed to be protecting and serving. I honestly can’t say I am surprised, though. This very laissez-faire attitude towards regulation of police officers has become pervasive in American society. What does it say about our society where we give any Joe Schmo who wants to be a cop a badge and a gun?

The bottom line is that if you haven’t been properly trained, you shouldn’t come within 10 feet of a firearm. This is as true for police officers as it is for civilians. Government seems to understand one part of that deal; it’s a shame it can’t seem to abide by the second.

  • Nick M.

    It could just be me, but it also looks like the cop in the video goes ahead and fingers the trigger. Talk about breaking the rules of handling a firearm.


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  • mike

    I actually didn’t watch the video, but that wouldn’t surprise me.

    Shades of the DEA Agent shooting himself in the leg in front of the class of fourth-graders.

  • Nick M.

    Well, hey, he was the only one qualified to operate that particular weapon. Even better than him shooting himself, was when he went for the rifle and the kids yelled “NO!!”

    Like I said, it could just be me, obviously things are happening fast in the video, but it does look he puts his finger on the trigger for an instant.

    Don’t know about Mississippi, but here in AZ, you can only match force, ie fists/fists, deadly force/deadly force. I don’t believe getting your ass kicked by a student = deadly force.


  • VRB

    I don’t understand this post. I don’t know your particular view of gun control, but why would a police officer be required to know anymore than the other too hundred million other potential gun owners. Especially, those that believe that gun ownership deters crime.

  • mike

    The point is that in order to have a concealed carry license (i.e. – in order to carry a firearm that you could conceivably use in a deadly force situation) you have to go through several hours of training to make sure you know how to handle the weapon properly, and more importantly, that you understand the proper employment of different levels of force.

    The cases cited in this article show that the police officers obviously haven’t had even this basic level of training. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that police officers, who by definition are authorized to use deadly force if appropriate, understand just how and when that deadly force should be applied.