One of the realities of law enforcement is that higher-level police brass are typically more interested in protecting their own power and advancing their own careers than they care at all about the realities officers face on the street. That detached and self-serving mindset is probably behind a new recommendation by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (and allegedly some other law enforcement organizations) that law enforcement officers should be allowed to fire warning shots.
“There was a lot of discussion,” says the IACP’s Terry Cunningham, describing the process that led the 11 law enforcement organizations to include warning shots in the new consensus use of force policy. Cunningham was struck by the anecdotes of situations in which warning shots saved a life — or might have, had they been allowed.
The new policy still sets strict conditions for warning shots:
1. The use of deadly force is justified;
2. The warning shot will not pose a substantial risk of injury or death to the officer or others; and
3. The officer reasonably believes that the warning shot will reduce the possibility that deadly force will have to be used.
But Cunningham says the motivation