These attitudes are programed in us by personal encounters, cultural preferences, and media portrayals that become generalizations and must be consciously ignored. Metro also changed two key aspects of its officer field training: It began emphasizing conflict de-escalation and developed new scenarios based on actual use of force incidents.
The drills take place in alleys, parking lots, and apartment units, and they may involve potential carjackings or burglaries with suspects who run away or fight back. The true-to-life event is recreated right up to the trigger-point. The officers decide if, or how much, force is necessary. And once they finish, a training officer critiques that decision.
So to a greater extent than ever before, Vegas cops are now learning rhetorical techniques to calm situations that once reached tragic boiling points. Now, officers spend extra time in classrooms and doing field exercises, where they engage in more serious work.
Paddock didn't fire on the crowd after Campos approached. And last year he planned to attend the Vegas festival, but backed out at the last minute. Union does not believe the officer should have been fired and is fighting to get him reinstated. The police union has also discouraged its officers from granting such interviews, and Metro says the practice is not common in other parts of the country. Las Vegas authorities on Friday said they have yet to determine what motivated Stephen Paddock to gun down hundreds of people Sunday night at an outdoor concert, killing 58 in what has become the worst mass shooting in modern US history. Body cam footage showed to reporters Tuesday contained shakey footage of officers yelling passersby to either run away or take cover.
In , Las Vegas became the first big city to conduct a pilot program for body-worn cameras on police. Some lawmakers expressed concerns that the gadgets were too expensive, the technology unproven, and the footage an invasion of privacy, yet thus far the program is considered a success.
A YEAR-LONG INVESTIGATION In the wake of two controversial officer-involved shooting deaths in the summer of , the Las Vegas Review-Journal set out. The Review-Journal investigation includes staff-produced online documentaries, a searchable database of all police shootings since , an archive of original.
Body cam footage allowed the department to fire an officer who beat up a woman suspected of loitering as a prostitute. She had tossed aside a cup of coffee in a way the cop perceived as defiant. Police have been vindicated by the footage as well. On one occasion, an officer attempted to de-escalate a tense conversation with a man who ultimately pulled out a gun and opened fire.
None of these initiatives would be entirely effective, however, if officers continued to enjoy a culture of impunity.
Since then, Metro has shown a renewed willingness to punish, fire, and even prosecute problem officers. The Use of Force Review Board has been shuffled to allow its civilian representatives to out-vote members of the department. The groups raise questions about underreported or overlooked cases of police brutality, and stress that police misconduct is going unchecked by the justice system. One question such groups are increasingly posing is whether the lack of consequences for officers involved fatal shootings may be sending the wrong message to future law enforcement agents.
Officers who fatally shoot a suspect or even an unarmed civilian are overwhelmingly cleared of wrongdoing following a standard internal investigation of the incident.
In New York, for example, no on-duty officer has been indicted for such a shooting since In most cases, the officer returns to duty after the suspension. Attorney David Robinson, a former Detroit city police officer, has batted for both teams—first defending police officers against allegations of unlawful use of force, and now litigating against police officers in misconduct cases in state and federal court.
It is, for all intents and purposes, a blanket immunity. Officers are not trained to shoot to wound, as opposed to kill; instead they are taught to aim for the chest, where chance of contact is high. It just so happens that bullets to the chest often result in a fatality. Whether force is necessary could be up to the officer in the confrontation and is grounded in his perception of the potential threat.
Manufactured threats do not justify use of force, but the circumstances in which that threat appeared may be defined by the officer. In the event of the Lopez shooting, the story provided to the press by the two deputies in question conflicts with multiple eyewitness reports stating that deputies shouted from the vehicle and fired immediately after getting out of the vehicle.
Standard training procedures are being dragged into the limelight as well, however. Recommendations for reform included better methods for dealing with mentally ill suspects.
Two incidents where LAPD officers flagrantly shot at and killed unarmed civilians who were autistic demonstrated the dire need for such additions in police training. Stressing the need for more public accountability, suggestions have been made that investigations of use-of-force incidents should be more transparent.