Too often we forget that police officers are human beings like each one of us. They have the same emotions and concerns that affect each of us in our daily lives. The difference is that they often face truly dangerous situations that have potentially deadly consequences. They have a sense of real fear, as any of us would have, in dangerous situations.
Have you seen the average police officer? More often than not, and unlike your average firefighter, their physical fitness leaves much to be desired. In reality, the lack of physical fitness is simply symptomatic of the overall lack of training needed to face potential life threatening situations–situations that threaten BOTH the life of the officer AND the life of their potential target. New York City police officers may not be United States Marines, but that is little excuse for not being trained on a continuing basis, throughout their careers, to keep them able to face the most dire of situations.
How often do we hear about the shooting of an individual when we say to ourselves “was that shooting really necessary?” While we certainly do not want police officers to place their own lives in imminent danger of serious physical harm or even death, resort to the use of the police revolver seems too quick, too often. Perhaps one answer would be equipping officers with tasers. Better to stun an individual brandishing a knife or other weapon (other than a gun), than to shoot that individual. Most importantly, train the officers in avoiding the use of the gun other than as a very last resort. Train officers in methods of protecting themselves so that in a confrontation, they can feel themselves in less physical danger.
More than any other factor, the most serious physical injuries upon individuals occurs when police officers, understandably, feel themselves the most threatened. It is the obligation of the police department hierarchy to recognize that this is, indeed, a situation that can be severely ameliorated through the institution of intensive, continuous and effective training.
Posted by Injury Attorney Steve Orlow