Tactical considerations from an OIS
Bodycam video of Chicago police fatally shooting a man who stabbed a sergeant is a brutal reminder of the dangers officers face
The Chicago Police Department officer-involved shooting of a knife-wielding suspect last month who got up from the ground after he was hit with a TASER, closed distance on officers and proceeded to stab a sergeant is a brutal reminder of the importance of applying sound tactics when it comes to the deployment of less than lethal tools.
After watching the incident, let's discuss some tactical considerations.
- Avoid TASER dependence. You cannot automatically turn to less than lethal tools before properly evaluating the situation and the offender.
- Do not let the national dialogue around police use of force hesitate or blind you to proper lifesaving tactics techniques and protocols
- Be prepared for what policing may task you to do! You may one day pull a suicidal person from a ledge, apply tourniquets and bandages to a person who is bleeding out, help an elderly person in need of assistance, read a book to children, place your life second when responding to an active shooter and be called upon to use deadly force to stop a lethal threat. Be prepared for this and what comes along with it. If you cannot accept this, law enforcement is not the profession for you.
- Identify if the situation requires less lethal force or deadly force and respond accordingly. Ask yourself, is this a deadly force incident, or is it an incident that can be resolved through the use of less lethal tools? Use any discretionary time available to make the right decision.
- Evaluate the offender you are going to deploy less lethal tools on to determine if the tool you selected is appropriate. Consider their clothing and mental state.
- Understand that even the 21ft TASER cartridge can put you in the danger zone for an edged-weapons attack.
- If you are going to deploy your TASER or another less-lethal tool, have lethal cover! If not, reconsider the decision to deploy. Call it and let your partner know – I’ve got lethal.
- Contact and cover: Call it and let your partner know – I have cover.
- Use your light system to your advantage. Note the wide beam in the video. If time allows, can you narrow it and use it to your advantage?
- Know and practice how to transition from a TASER to a handgun.
- Know what it looks like when an offender is intentionally breaking/cutting TASER cables. There is only one reason that this happens and it is an intentional act to prevent your tool from being effective.
- Know the sound of a failed TASER deployment. TASER instructors should demonstrate the sound during refresher training.
- Shot placement matters! Do not depend on a one-round stop. Be prepared to fire follow-up rounds.
- Handcuff your offender and render aid when the threat has ended and safe to do so. If you are a solo officer, consider covering down on the offender until you have a cover officer.
- Check your partner, yourself and everyone on scene from head to toe to make sure no one is bleeding or injured.
- Contain the crime scene and evidence and secure witnesses.
- Wear your body armor. While it may not be edged-weapons rated, as was shown in the video above, it stopped the threat.
I thank God for looking out for the CPD sergeant that night. Prayers for everyone.