Wednesday, November 26, 2008


While paying attention to the local news, it seems that many officers are involved in circumstances that lead to investigations or medical assistance. Lately, traffic officers on motorcycles have been struck by passing motorists, some resulting in death. Additionally, there are more stories on the local news involving shootings, in which a police officer was involved.

The latest officer involved shooting occurred in Rancho Cordova at a gas station. There was an argument inside the gas station between a male and female. The argument escalated to the point the clerk felt it was necessary to call the police. An officer arrived on scene and began talking to both parties. Soon thereafter, the male pulled out a handgun and shot towards the officer. The officer was able to find cover, returning fire and fatally wounding the male. The officer is now on administrative leave. The issue of crossfire and officer safety arises from this incident.

The location of the incident is one where many citizens can be expected to visit throughout their day. Fortunately, in this situation there were no innocent victims of crossfire. It is essential that an officer remembers to plan ahead for a situation where they would have to use their firearm. When contacting someone, or making a traffic stop, an officer should plan ahead to be in a position of cover. The cover allows the officer to use it to their advantage if the person they are contacting decides to shoot at them. Additionally, the position the officer is in is also essential to prevent any victims from crossfire. For instance, if one has planned for a possible shooting, they should look beyond the suspect to make sure there are not any uninvolved parties that may be struck by a bullet. In the above incident, if the officer was standing in front of the store, they should have planned ahead to move to a position where the possibility of a bullet going through the glass and striking a customer would be removed. Law enforcement is a unique occupation where situational circumstances change every second. Young men and women planning to enter the field of law enforcement should prepare themselves mentally to handle these situations in a professional manner, while maintaining public safety.

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