What I read from activists’ and advocates’ intelligent responses (SPECIAL NOTE: intelligent) to many of the high profile “Lawful But Awful” cases is a sense of officers needlessly rushing into action. While I dispute many of their claims in the recent national cases, they do have a point. In SOME cases, I see videos of officers creating their own jeopardy – by closing the distance, acting too quickly, moving in before gathering more information. When this is combined with the agency not properly training its officers in recognition of mental illness or disability, this is counter to any claim of “risk management.”Hayes and I don't always agree (he's too fond of TASERs for my liking, for example), but I think he's one of the sharper voices from WITHIN the law enforcement community to recognize the challenges of reshaping policing.
Critics of the above stabilize mindset (generally from inside police work) claim this higher goal is too risky for officers and puts them at risk. I contend not. I argue that when taken from an analytical perspective of risk, I am not asking officers to accept more risk. Actually quite the opposite – expose officers to less risk, thereby needing less force to overcome the lower risk! I also advocate the complete empowerment of police officers to use quick, decisive force levels and options when necessary…up to and including deadly force.
In fact, I just did a radio interview in which the host, politely, asked me how I respond to the accusation that I'm anti-cop. I wish I had this document at hand when answering. In fact, this kind of response can make the officers safer as well as protecting us and our civil liberties.