Deadly force: Thou shall not (intend to) kill

“Bond, James Bond.” If this is how you introduce yourself, and you are employed by Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and your badge number is 007, then you have a license to kill and you need not read this article. As for the rest of us who might use deadly force to stop or apprehend a suspect, please read on.

Absent a death warrant, an officer’s desired results when using deadly force should not be specifically to kill the subject. No matter what the suspect might have done, we must rely on our training and the fact that we are not just held to a higher standard, but we are the higher standard. We need to separate the emotion and remember our tasks:

1.) immediately stop the suspect’s actions, and
2.) seize the suspect. 

Verbal Traps
Law enforcement officers have a unique way of communicating. Sometimes it comes in the form of morbid humor to relieve stress. Sometimes it is the officer trying to “fit in” whose macho persona just gets in the way of what the officer truly feels. Perhaps you’ve heard an officer in training say something like, “let’s just kill them all and let God sort them out.” It is not the intention of the officer in these cases to specifically kill, but as trainers we must address the language if we hear it.

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