WHEN CONFRONTING A SUSPECT ACCUSED OF A CRIME, I ALWAYS VERBALIZE MY INTENTIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS, UNLESS I CAN'T
By Trey Rusk
On February 15, 2018, an Amarillo, Texas police officer shot an armed man. The trouble was that it was a good guy and not the suspect. The person that was shot had wrestled the gun away from the suspect and was holding it when police arrived. It looks like the ventilation that the man holding the gun received is not life threatening.
I mentioned this incident to you because throughout my career I was always taught to verbalize with clear concise commands. This was especially important for me because for a large part of my tenure, I worked in plain clothes.
A few years ago I was qualifying at the firearms range and verbalizing my intent before firing. I was instructed by the range officer that my commands were not necessary. I disagreed.
You see, being in civilian law enforcement I believe that prompt commands to a suspect can diffuse a situation.
There are times when stealth trumps verbal commands. If hunting a hiding suspect it would not be a good idea to give away your location by shouting verbal commands. Dark places such as alleys and abandoned dwellings are usually the friend of the suspect. Police take monumental chances entering such places to search for suspects. Most people wouldn't do it.
The police do this job knowing the chances. They do it when they are scared and thinking of their families. They do it for you to protect you and your families.
I don't know what really happened in Amarillo because the article didn't mention whether the police officer verbalized or not. Either way, I'll bet he or she did their job the best way he or she thought how.
The reason police give clear concise verbal commands is to save lives. Contrary to what you may have heard about police officers, they really are the good guys.