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Safety On: Carrying A Service Sidearm While Off Duty

Just a few days ago, on June 2, 2018, an off-duty FBI agent was dancing in a club. After performing a backflip, his service firearm fell off his person. While picking it up to holster it, the firearm went off, hitting a spectator. Fortunately, the man hit wasn’t badly hurt. But the fact remains that a civilian was shot with a service firearm in what does appear to have been a preventable accident.

As of the writing of this article, there hasn’t been any news on what sanctions, if any, are going to be levied onto the officer in question. The issue does, however, bring up two issues that have to be discussed. First, protocols on open-carry firearms on off-duty officers; second, the conduct of a law enforcement officer when off duty.

Concerning the protocols on open-carry firearms, it looks like there won’t be any change given that the situation was an isolated one. We can, of course, expect a lot of buzz and discussion coming from groups that are opposed to public carrying of firearms, whether by civilians or law enforcement, but it’s highly unlikely that it will make an impact on any existing protocols.

For now, what’s important is making sure that these protocols are strictly followed in order to prevent accidents and keep issues like the one in question an isolated one.

This makes the second point of discussion the more important one: conduct of officers when off duty. While it is the right of officers for any law enforcement agency to enjoy themselves and relax when off duty however they see fit, it can also be argued that there’s also a modicum of dignity and restraint that has to be exercised when in public, as is practiced by officers in the armed forces.

There is merit to this as the entire incident could have been avoided if the officer in question hadn’t decided to show off his dancing skills and performed that backflip, especially while carrying his service firearm.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Should off-duty officers be expected to show more restraint? Or should they be able to cut loose, as long as they do it responsibly? Let us know!

Theory Police: Is a Uniform National Police Policy Viable?

Some would say that the federal government we’ve adopted here in the United States is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing in the sense that each state, while under a single government, gets to focus on the specific wants, needs, and capacities or the state with minimal cost or consequence to its neighbors. This is great as it means each state gets to manage regional laws and policies. There’s a downside as well, however.

This downside is probably felt most by law enforcement. Not only does local sate law enforcement have to rely on federal law enforcement to handle criminals that cross borders, but also they have to deal with different protocols and laws per state as well. This can be a problem especially when it comes to establishing preventive and proactive measures.

In states, for example, where the incidents of school shooters is either low or none so far, security measures tend to relax more quickly, and updated policies aren’t always strictly enforced or practiced. When people think things like “that would never happen here”, they actually put themselves at more risk. To this, end, the idea of a uniform national police policy is being considered.

What does this offer us? A uniform policy means that law enforcement will have the same protocols and training across the field. This is great because officers in states with low incidences of certain crimes will still be prepared to deal with those crimes should they actually occur. It also means that officers who eventually transfer to different states and still wish to serve don’t have to worry about regional differences.

One downside is that clearly, the situation in all states is not the same. States with higher incidence of low-income urban areas will have different crime trends from a state which is primarily farmland, or high-income suburbs. This means that while some policies are fine for certain settings, they may be too lax or harsh in others.

This means that a uniform policy may not have uniform results, which seems to actually be bad for the police force given that we always aim for the same result each time: to serve and protect.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Red ALERRT: Preparing First Responders For School Shooters

Since the start of 2018, school shootings have been an almost weekly occurrence. Ever since the 1999 Columbine School shooting, first responders around America have been seeing a shift in school shooting policy. From the more methodical but slower tactical response, the new rapid response policy has one main guiding statement: go towards the gunfire.

Why this shift though? It seems reckless for law enforcement to rush in blindly towards a shooter, doesn’t it? The answer, however, lies in statistics. Over the years, studies of the shootings have determined that the average school shooting only lasts about 15 minutes long. In tactics where officers claim ground, checking and clearing each individual room, heavy casualties have already taken place.

While the claiming ground method  is still effective during operations against gangs, paramilitaries, and terrorist organizations which usually have an unclear number of hostiles, studies of school shootings show that there is generally only 1 to 2 gunmen, and they rarely conceal their position, instead choosing to focus on attacking their targets.

This means that first responders, even if they’re from different departments and units, all have clear orders that can be executed in unison without having to worry about proper clearing procedures, paths to take, or who is in charge; this homogenous group of first responders can quickly locate and interdict the target in the shortest amount of time possible.

Doing so will help minimize casualties as well as prevent the gunmen from escaping or otherwise eluding arrest as has been the case with earlier shootings where the gunman either escaped, or committed suicide before he could be taken into custody.

With the almost weekly occurrence of school shootings, it is important that all possible first responder teams, as well as civilians are aware of the protocol. Being informed of this rapid response technique will ensure that all first responders are on the same page, and that civilians don’t interfere with the operation.

What are your thoughts on the rapid response technique being adopted? Do you think it’s a smart move, or does it put law enforcement at risk?