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'Key* (^u>art

Street
Survival

P r e p a r a t i o n , n o t p a r a n o i a , is t h e n a m e o f t h e g a m e .
Deputy Chief R. "Zip"Zbinden
Pomona, California
shooting survivor
Street
Survivel
TACTICS for
ARMED ENCOUNTERS

A? .

II
I
1

Special Agent
Ronald J . Adams
Lieutenant

Thomas M. McTernan
Charles Remsberg

C A L I B R E P R E S S N O R T H B R O O K , I L L I N O I S
C o p y r i g h t 1 9 8 0 by C h a r l e s R e m s b e r g

First Printing: M a r c h , 1 9 8 0
Second Printing: July, 1 9 8 0
T h i r d Printing: D e c e m b e r , 1 9 8 0
F o u r t h Printing: June, 1 9 8 1

All r i g h t s r e s e r v e d . It is a F e d e r a l o f f e n s e t o r e p r o d u c e o r t r a n s m i t t h i s
b o o k in a n y f o r m b y a n y m e a n s , e l e c t r o n i c o r m e c h a n i c a l , i n c l u d i n g
p h o t o c o p y i n g a n d recording, or by a n y i n f o r m a t i o n storage or retrieval
s y s t e m w i t h o u t p e r m i s s i o n in w r i t i n g f r o m t h e p u b l i s h e r .

Published by:
CALIBRE PRESS, I N C .
6 6 6 D u n d e e Road
Suite 1 6 0 7
N o r t h b r o o k , Illinois 6 0 0 6 2
(312) 328-4411

L i b r a r y of C o n g r e s s C a t a l o g C a r d N u m b e r : 7 9 - 5 7 1 9 6
ISBN N u m b e r : 0 - 9 3 5 8 7 8 - 0 0 - 9

The authors, advisors and publisher accept no liability whatsoever for


any injuries to person or property resulting from the application or
adoption of any of the procedures, tactics or considerations presented
or implied in this book.

P r i n t e d in t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s of A m e r i c a
CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ix

INTRODUCTION 1

I. TACTICS FOR SURVIVAL

1. T H E M A N D U S 13

2. C O N F R O N T A T I O N 24

P a t t e r n s of E n c o u n t e r . . . S u s p e c t s W h o Shoot...Officer
A t t i t u d e s . . . T h e S u r v i v a l S t a t e of M i n d

3. APPROACH T O D A N G E R 45

Building Approach...Room Approach...Field Interro-


gation.. .Traffic Stops.. .Firearms Readiness

4. L I G H T C O N T R O L 98

B u i l d i n g L i g h t s ... F l a s h l i g h t . . . V e h i c l e L i g h t s ... I m -
proving Night Vision

5. VERBAL C H A L L E N G E 109

S u s p e c t C o n t r o l ... O f f i c e r I d e n t i f i c a t i o n . . . A p o l o g i e s

6. U S E O F S U R P R I S E 125

Exiting the Kill Z o n e . . . M o v e m e n t Inside the Kill Zone


...Close-up Surprise...Firearm Retention...Disarming
...Practice

7. C O V E R A W A R E N E S S 154

C o v e r and C o n c e a l m e n t ... Evaluating C h o i c e s ...


Changing Cover...Position and Grips...Patrol C a r as
Cover.. .Penetration Power... " B l o w i n g ' ' Cover

8. S H O O T I N G T E C H N I Q U E S 190

I n s t i n c t S h o o t i n g ... M u l t i p l e A d v e r s a r i e s . . . C e n t e r
M a s s . . . R i c o c h e t S h o o t i n g ... M u z z l e F l a s h . . . U n p r e -
dictable Reactions
9. R E L O A D I N G U N D E R FIRE 219

Efficient R e c o v e r y ... R e v o l v e r ... S e m i - A u t o m a t i c ...


Shotgun...Back-up Gun

10. FINAL A P P R O A C H 237

D i s a r m i n g ... I n c a p a c i t a t i o n . . . A p p r o a c h P o s i t i o n ...
H a n d c u f f i n g . . . S e a r c h i n g f o r F i r e a r m s ... R e m a i n i n g
Alert ... Recovering F i r e a r m s ... D e p a r t i n g t h e S c e n e

11. A F T E R - B U R N 283

Passages.. .Self-Help.. .Therapy.. .Helping O t h e r s

II. BASICS T H A T STRENGTHEN TACTICS

12. P R O T E C T I V E E Q U I P M E N T 299

B o d y A r m o r ... S e r v i c e H o l s t e r s . . . C r o s s - D r a w H o l -
sters...Back-up/Off-duty Holsters...Cartridge Carriers
...Leather Care

13. FIREARMS C O N T R O L 319

Basic Safety...Transporting Firearms...Wild Shots...


Ammunition Control...Customizing...Handling with
Care...Correcting Malfunctions...Home Security

14. C L E A N I N G 370

P r e l i m i n a r i e s ... R e v o l v e r ... S e m i - A u t o m a t i c ... S h o t -


g u n ... A m m u n i t i o n P r e c a u t i o n s

15. SERVICEABILITY C H E C K LIST 385

R e v o l v e r ... S e m i - A u t o m a t i c ... S h o t g u n ... A N o t e on


Dry Firing

16. P H Y S I C A L F I T N E S S 390

Exercises...Sports

ADDITIONAL READING 397

PHOTO CREDITS 400

ABOUT THE AUTHORS 402

viii
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
T h i s b o o k deals w i t h positive tactics officers
can employ on the street to effectively use their own
f i r e a r m s t o d e f e a t t h o s e of a s s a i l a n t s . It is d e v o t e d
exclusively to understanding and mastering tech-
n i q u e s t h a t w o r k for s u r v i v a l i n real life situations
n o t w h a t w o r k s i n r a n g e c o m p e t i t i o n a g a i n s t paper
t a r g e t s or w h a t s o m e a c a d e m i c i a n i n a c l a s s r o o m
speculates m i g h t w o r k in s o m e h y p o t h e t i c a l en-
counter.
U n f o r t u n a t e l y , m o s t of t h e c u r r e n t l i t e r a t u r e
on so-called " c o m b a t s h o o t i n g " falls into t h e s e
l a t t e r c a t e g o r i e s . F e w s t r e e t - w i s e e x p e r t s or t r u l y
c o n t e m p o r a r y a r t i c l e s h a v e e m e r g e d o n s t r e e t sur-
vival, although deadly assaults on t h e police con-
t i n u e t o o c c u r y e a r a f t e r y e a r , w i t h a l a r m i n g fre-
q u e n c y . W h i l e officers are dying, w e l l - m e a n i n g
training authorities too often s e e m obsessed w i t h
d i s c u s s i n g s u c h f i r e a r m s e s o t e r i c a as c u s t o m i z e d
grips, r i b b e d b a r r e l s , f a n c y l e a t h e r gear a n d o t h e r
i r r e l e v a n t s u b j e c t s , r a t h e r t h a n t h e r e a l i s s u e s of
tactics to help officers survive in a r m e d confronta-
tions.
W e began our research by analyzing m o r e than
4 0 0 d e t a i l e d r e p o r t s of o f f i c e r - i n v o l v e d s h o o t i n g s
and by surveying s o m e 5 0 law e n f o r c e m e n t agencies
about the firearms instructions they offer...the
major problems their officers e n c o u n t e r on the
s t r e e t . . . a n d w h a t t h e i r g r e a t e s t s u r v i v a l n e e d s appear
to be. For m o r e t h a n a year, our research t e a m t h e n
searched coast to coast to identify practical, real-
istic tactics to m e e t those needs. M o r e t h a n 3 0
street-wise authorities who have devoted their
careers to officer survival and nearly a dozen police
d e p a r t m e n t s on the c u t t i n g edge of survival train-
ing w e r e c o n s u l t e d f o r t h e i r b e s t t a c t i c a l p r o c e d u r e s .
T h e i r contribution, plus the authors' cumulative
2 6 y e a r s ' e x p e r i e n c e , m o s t of it i n h i g h - r i s k or
survival-oriented assignments, have formed the
b a s i s of w h a t y o u w i l l r e a d h e r e .
W i t h o u t t h e h e l p a n d k n o w l e d g e of m a n y
p e o p l e , t h i s b o o k c o u l d n o t h a v e b e c o m e w h a t it
i s : t h e m o s t c o m p r e h e n s i v e c o m p i l a t i o n of s t r e e t -
relevant survival m e t h o d s ever available. For their
special assistance, w e w a n t to acknowledge:
L i e u t e n a n t F r a n c i s J . M c G e e of t h e F i r e a r m s a n d
T a c t i c s S e c t i o n of t h e N e w Y o r k C i t y P o l i c e D e p a r t -
m e n t , c o n s i d e r e d b y m a n y t o b e t h e " f a t h e r " of t h e
s t r e e t s u r v i v a l m o v e m e n t ; P i e r c e R. B r o o k s , c h i e f
investigator in C a l i f o r n i a ' s i n f a m o u s " O n i o n F i e l d "
c a s e ; O f f i c e r J o h n S . F a r n a m of t h e E l r o y (WI) P o l i c e
D e p a r t m e n t , a c o m b a t veteran and leading on-site
c o n s u l t a n t o n w e a p o n s t r a i n i n g p r o g r a m s for l a w
e n f o r c e m e n t agencies, and Lieutenant T h a d C.
C u r t i s , C o m m a n d e r o f T e c h n i c a l S e r v i c e s for t h e
P i m a C o u n t y (AZ) S h e r i f f ' s D e p a r t m e n t , a n e n t h u s i -
a s t i c p r o s e l y t i z e r a n d p r a c t i t i o n e r of s u r v i v a l a w a r e -
n e s s . T h e s e officers r e v i e w e d t h e m a n u s c r i p t in
draft f o r m a n d o f f e r e d i n n u m e r a b l e c o n s t r u c t i v e
comments.

T h o s e t o w h o m w e a r e g r a t e f u l for h e l p w i t h
research include: James Daugherty, Senior Police
Firearms Instructor, and Herb C h a m b e r s , Education
a n d T r a i n i n g D i v i s i o n , N a t i o n a l R i f l e A s s o c i a t i o n of
America; Inspector Robert W . Martin, Supervisor
of F i r e a r m s T r a i n i n g , P h i l a d e l p h i a P o l i c e A c a d e m y ;
Sergeant Ray King, R a n g e m a s t e r (ret.), and Sergeant
D o n a l d E. S m i t h , C h i e f Firearms E x a m i n e r , C h i c a g o
P o l i c e D e p a r t m e n t ; W . Fred P i c k l e r , specialist in
high risk patrol t a c t i c s and c h e m i c a l m u n i t i o n s and
P r e s i d e n t of F r e d P i c k l e r & A s s o c i a t e s ; L i e u t e n a n t
W . L . D i c k e y , C o m m a n d e r of the O r d n a n c e Divi-
sion, M e m p h i s P o l i c e D e p a r t m e n t ; Al B u r n e t t and
L e n R o s s , F i r e a r m s T r a i n e r s , D e p a r t m e n t of t h e
Treasury, Federal Law E n f o r c e m e n t Training Cen-
ter; J a m e s W h i t m o r e , A s s i s t a n t Professor, U n i v e r -
s i t y of I l l i n o i s , P o l i c e T r a i n i n g I n s t i t u t e ; C h i e f
E u g e n e F e r r a r a , U n i v e r s i t y of C i n c i n n a t i P o l i c e
D e p a r t m e n t ; Robert L. M o n r o e , former Instructor,
FBI National Academy; Joseph H. Chernicoff,
D i r e c t o r of T r a i n i n g , U . S . A s s o c i a t i o n of F i r e a r m s
I n s t r u c t o r s a n d C o a c h e s ; E d L o v e t t e , D i r e c t o r of
Training, New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy;
Sergeant Robert Givan, Instructor, Advanced C o m -
bat Training, Indianapolis Police D e p a r t m e n t ; Paul
A. Z o l b e , Chief, U n i f o r m C r i m e Reports S e c t i o n ,
F.B.I.; and Sergeant D i c k Newell, Officer-in-
Charge, Ordnance Unit, Los Angeles Police
Academy.
W e are a l s o a p p r e c i a t i v e of t h e c a n d o r w i t h
w h i c h certain officers shared their m e m o r i e s and
e m o t i o n s about personal armed encounters. T h e s e
i n c l u d e : D e p u t y C h i e f R. " Z i p " Z b i n d e n , P o m o n a
(CA) P o l i c e D e p a r t m e n t ; D e t e c t i v e J a c k F i s h e r ,
S a n B e r n a r d i n o C o u n t y (CA) S h e r i f f ' s O f f i c e , a n d
S e r g e a n t Jerry D u n n a n d D e t e c t i v e J i m R o w e ,
R i v e r s i d e (CA) P o l i c e D e p a r t m e n t . V a l u a b l e i n -
sights into officers' psychological reactions to
shooting situations were gained from interviews
with Walter Gorski, a psychological consultant to
P e n n s y l v a n i a law e n f o r c e m e n t agencies, and D r .
N a h m a n Greenberg, a C h i c a g o p s y c h o a n a l y s t and
authority on stress behavior.
Finally, w e w a n t to t h a n k D e n n i s Anderson,
w h o conceived, produced and directed t h e award-
w i n n i n g instructional f i l m s , Survival Shooting
Techniques and Handling Firearms for M T I T e l e -
p r o g r a m s I n c . , of S c h i l l e r P a r k , I l l i n o i s . H i s u n i q u e
m o t i o n pictures have pioneered in c o m m u n i c a t i n g
t h e s t a t e of t h e art of s u r v i v a l t r a i n i n g . W i t h o u t h i s
tireless collaboration, c o n s t a n t support, astute in-
sights and high professional standards, this b o o k
would not have been written.
INTRODUCTION

13 05 0 4 . 1 0 / 7 8 00396 CA
TXT A P .
ML01K21707

TO APB RELAY TO LOCAL AGENCIES

MONTANA HIGHWAY PATROL A D V I S E S O F F I C E R , AGED


3 0 , SHOT AND K I L L E D A P P R O X I M A T E L Y 3 0 0 P . M . , 4/8.
V I C T I M , WORKING WITH L I N C O L N COUNTY DEPUTY
ATTEMPTED TO STOP S U B J E C T WANTED ON FELONY C H A R G E .
AFTER HIGH-SPEED CHASE, SUBJECT E X I T E D H I S V E H I C L E
AND BEGAN F I R I N G AT PATROL C A R .

V I C T I M STRUCK IN CHEST WITH . 3 0 8 - C A L I B E R R I F L E .


DEPUTY RETURNED F I R E AND S U B J E C T F L E D TO NEARBY
R E S I D E N C E WHERE HE HELD TWO HOSTAGES FOR S E V E R A L
HOURS B E F O R E S U R R E N D E R I N G .

A U T H O R I T Y - P . ZOLBE
F B I - U C R WASH DC BKR

13 5 6 0 4 / 1 7 / 7 8 00551 CA
TXT A P .
ML01K23413

TO APB - RELAY TO LOCAL AGENCIES

CATOOSA COUNTY, G E O R G I A , S . O . A D V I S E S DEPUTY


WM AGED 2 4 , SHOT AND K I L L E D A P P R O X I M A T E L Y 1 5 0
P.M., 4 / 1 4 . V I C T I M HAD STOPPED TO A S S I S T ANOTHER
O F F I C E R WHO HAD J U S T D E T A I N E D ARMED ROBBERY S U S -
PECT. WHILE B E I N G SEARCHED BY F I R S T O F F I C E R ,
S U B J E C T GAINED CONTROL OF V I C T I M ' S . 3 5 7 MAGNUM
HANDGUN. V I C T I M SHOT IN NECK AND ABDOMEN. FIRST
O F F I C E R , ALSO WOUNDED, RETURNED G U N F I R E AS S U S P E C T
FLED S C E N E .

A U T H O R I T Y - P . ZOLBE
F B I - U C R WASH DC ACA

1
07 55 0 3 / 9 / 7 7 00487 CA
TXT A P .
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SAN P A B L O , C A L I F O R N I A , PD A D V I S E S O F F I C E R , AGED
4 2 , SHOT AND K I L L E D A P P R O X I M A T E L Y 11 4 8 AM, 8/4.
V I C T I M O F F I C E R RESPONDED TO S I L E N T ALARM AT LOCAL
J E W E L R Y S T O R E , THE S I T E OF P R E V I O U S UNFOUNDED
ALARMS. UPON ENTERING THE STORE HE D I S C O V E R E D
R 0 3 B E R Y B E I N G COMMITTED BY TWO NM S . ONE ROBBER
F I R E D A SHOT FROM A , 3 8 - C A L I B E R REVOLVER S T R I K I N G
O F F I C E R IN HEAD, K I L L I N G HIM I N S T A N T L Y . ONE S U B -
J E C T APPREHENDED IN IMMEDIATE NEIGHBORHOOD. SECOND
SUBJECT ESCAPED.

A U T H O R I T Y - P . ZOLBE
F B I - U C R WASH DC JRR

12 4 9 1 1 / 2 8 / 7 7 01030 CA
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M I L W A U K E E , W I S C O N S I N , PD A D V I S E S PATROLMAN,
AGED 2 7 , SHOT AND K I L L E D A P P R O X I M A T E L Y 5 0 0 PM,
11/25. V I C T I M O F F I C E R AND PARTNER RESPONDED TO
F A M I L Y D I S T U R B A N C E CALL AT LOCAL R E S I D E N C E . AS
V I C T I M APPROACHED DOOR TO KNOCK, S U B J E C T A P P E A R E D
IN DOORWAY AND F I R E D R I F L E S T R I K I N G O F F I C E R IN
CHEST. S U B J E C T , NM 3 8 , BARRICADED S E L F IN H O U S E ,
BUT SHORTLY T H E R E A F T E R S U R R E N D E D .

A U T H O R I T Y - P . ZOLBE
F B I - U C R WASH DC RMR
Every three to four days, on t h e average, notifi-
cation clatters across the teletypes of the National
Law Enforcement T e l e c o m m u n i c a t i o n s System
t h a t t h e l i f e of a n o t h e r l a w e n f o r c e m e n t o f f i c e r h a s
b e e n t a k e n . A n d a f t e r t h e o f f i c i a l r e g r e t s are s p o k e n ,
t h e taps s o u n d e d , t h e b a d g e r e t i r e d t o a p l a c e o f
honor, an unfortunate, brutal truth too often re-
m a i n s : m o r e effort is l i k e l y t o h a v e g o n e i n t o p l a n -
n i n g t h e f u n e r a l for t h e s l a i n o f f i c e r t h a n h e o r h i s
department devoted to his survival.
In s o m e c a s e s , t h e f a u l t l i e s w i t h t h e o f f i c e r
failing to practice w h a t he has b e e n taught. O t h e r
t i m e s , a d e p a r t m e n t is c u l p a b l e f o r s e n d i n g i t s offi-
c e r s i n t o t h e s t r e e t w i t h l i t t l e a p p r e c i a t i o n or c o n -
c e r n for w h a t it t a k e s t o s t a y a l i v e .
Usually, it's a c o m b i n a t i o n . T h e survival train-
ing of t h e c l a s s r o o m , t h e g y m a n d t h e r a n g e , h o w -
ever earnest, fails in crucial w a y s to reflect t h e c h a l -
l e n g e s of t h e r e a l w o r l d . A n d t h e o f f i c e r , c o m p l a c e n t
in the knowledge that m o s t people in law enforce- Despite the ceremony attached to an
m e n t r e a c h r e t i r e m e n t w i t h o u t e v e r c o n f r o n t i n g or officer's funeral, how many officers
using deadly force, m a k e s n o effort on his o w n to have an interest in finding out what
really happened during that fatal mis-
c o m p e n s a t e f o r t h e s e s h o r t c o m i n g s . D a y i n a n d day
take i
out, he a n s w e r s so m a n y calls w h e r e n o t h i n g hap-
pens that he c o m e s to assume, insidiously, that
n o t h i n g can h a p p e n .
A n d t h e n it d o e s .
In t h e l a s t d e c a d e a l o n e , m o r e t h a n 1 , 1 0 0 c i t y ,
county, state and federal officers have been felon-
i o u s l y s l a i n i n t h e p e r f o r m a n c e of t h e i r d u t i e s .
D u r i n g o n e t y p i c a l y e a r i n t h a t p e r i o d , 1 9 , 0 0 0 offi-
cers besides those killed w e r e injured in nearly
5 0 , 0 0 0 assaults on police. T h e deaths and injuries
have included both sexes, have c o m e from all sizes
a n d t y p e s of c o m m u n i t i e s a n d h a v e r u n t h e g a m u t of
officer rank, experience and a s s i g n m e n t .
N i n e t y - f i v e p e r c e n t of t h o s e k i l l e d w e r e a t -
tacked with guns. S o m e v i c t i m officers were excel-
l e n t t a r g e t s h o o t e r s . B u t in n e a r l y 6 0 p e r c e n t of t h e
cases, t h e officers involved w e r e so unprepared to
r e a c t t h a t t h e y did not even get their guns drawn
b e f o r e v i o l e n c e e r u p t e d . O n l y 2 7 per c e n t m a n a g e d
t o s h o o t b a c k . O n l y 15 per c e n t w e r e a b l e t o w o u n d
or k i l l t h e i r a s s a i l a n t s .
1

T h e r e ' s no denying that an officer faces critical


disadvantages in a shooting situation. His u n i f o r m ,
his marked vehicle, his spoken c o m m a n d s m a k e
h i m highly visible and easily identifiable to any
would-be assailantwhile a potential assailant m a y
b e d i f f i c u l t or i m p o s s i b l e f o r a n o f f i c e r t o s e n s e or
see in advance.
Those close to the victim officer ex-
press grief in different ways. The of-
ficer in this case died from a "routine"
traffic stop.
FBI " L a w Enforcement Officers Killed" Summaries.

3
An assailant can decide w h e n , where and w h o m
t o s h o o t , o n g r o u n d s t h a t a r e p u r e l y s e l f i s h or t o -
t a l l y i r r a t i o n a l a n d i n d i s c r i m i n a t e ; if h i s g u n i s
a i m e d a n d c o c k e d it t a k e s h i m o n l y h a l f a s e c o n d t o
g e t off a c c u r a t e f i r e . A n o f f i c e r is u s u a l l y i n f l u e n c e d
2

by m o r a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s that
i n h i b i t i n s t a n t , i m p u l s i v e a c t i o n . E v e n if h e h a s n o
personal qualms about killing, he m u s t evaluate
w h e t h e r the c i r c u m s t a n c e s legally justify his using
deadly force and w h e t h e r i n n o c e n t bystanders m i g h t
b e h a r m e d . If h i s g u n is h o l s t e r e d , h e n e e d s a m i n i -
m u m of 1 t o 1 . 2 s e c o n d s t o d r a w a n d f i r e , a s s u m i n g
h e is extremely skilled. However, he m a y not be
t h o r o u g h l y f a m i l i a r or c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h t h e f i r e a r m
t h a t c o u l d s a v e h i s l i f e . T h e m y t h p e r s i s t s t h a t offi-
cers tend to b e " g u n n u t s , " b o t h before and after
they join law e n f o r c e m e n t . In truth, an e s t i m a t e d 7 0
per c e n t of l a w e n f o r c e m e n t r e c r u i t s h a v e no p r e -
vious e x p e r i e n c e w i t h firearms, and even after
i n s t r u c t i o n , m a n y are n o t proficient e n o u g h w i t h
their guns to adequately defend t h e m s e l v e s . In o n e
major city, until recently, recruits were assigned to
the field after l i m i t e d target practice and only four
h o u r s of o r i e n t a t i o n . I n m a n y s m a l l e r c o m m u n i -
3

t i e s , o f f i c e r s r e c e i v e n o t r a i n i n g at a l l ; t h e y a r e
expected to p i c k up w h a t e v e r they need to k n o w
on the job.

* " S o m e C o m m e n t s on the Hostage Situation," by J.C. Muirhead, The


Police Chief, February, 1978.
^Police Use of Deadly Poice, Catherine Milton, et al., Police Foundation,
1977.

Tribute to a comrade. Highway patrol


men fill church pews during services
for a veteran officer, killed with his
own revolver during a traffic stop.

4
Rescue workers try in vain to save
the life of a highway patrolman shot
while stopping a driver for running a
toll booth.

This officer was talking on the phone


at his precinct when an armed assail-
ant entered and fired three times. The
officer died unarmed.
A .357 Magnum round was fired at
this officer after he and his partner
responded to a domestic disturbance
call. The bullet hit the officer's name-
plate {held in his right hand], twisting
the metal and ripping two holes in
his leather jacket. His only injury was
a bruise on one arm.

A m o n g officers w h o have managed to survive


shooting attacks, more than one has admitted,
" I was just l u c k y . " W i t h equal candor, m a n y con-
cede that despite a close call w i t h death, they still
w o u l d n o t k n o w w h a t t o do d i f f e r e n t l y t h e n e x t
time around.
L u c k is a f r a i l r e e d o n w h i c h t o h a n g y o u r l i f e
e s p e c i a l l y if o t h e r a l t e r n a t i v e s a r e a v a i l a b l e . A n d
d i s m a l a s t h e p o l i c e p o s i t i o n m a y a p p e a r , t h e r e are
a l t e r n a t i v e s for handling m o s t v i o l e n t e n c o u n t e r s .
I n d e e d , w i t h t h e k n o w l e d g e of s u r v i v a l m e t h o d s
n o w a v a i l a b l e , y o u r o p p o r t u n i t i e s for s t a y i n g a l i v e
on the street have never been greater.

S o m e s t u d i e s of c o n f r o n t a t i o n s h a v e r e v e a l e d
t h a t i n as f e w as 1 p e r c e n t of s h o o t i n g s a r e o f f i c e r s
g e n u i n e l y a m b u s h e d w i t h o u t w a r n i n g or f i r e d at for
n o apparent r e a s o n . M o s t t i m e s , t h e y h a v e prior
4

k n o w l e d g e of p r o s p e c t i v e d a n g e r . E v e n w h e n v i o -
l e n c e d o e s e x p l o d e s u d d e n l y , t h e i r f a t e is n o t a l w a y s
i n n a t e l y h o p e l e s s . The overwhelming majority of
officers killed in gunfights most likely could have
emerged aliveif:

1) t h e y h a d u n d e r s t o o d t h e d y n a m i c s of a r m e d
confrontations;
2) t h e y h a d p r o p e r l y e v a l u a t e d t h e r i s k s t h e y
w e r e facing;
3) t h e y h a d p l a n n e d w h a t t o do i n t h e e v e n t of
a deadly threat, and
4) t h e y h a d k n o w n a n d , t h r o u g h p r a c t i c e , h a d
mastered appropriate survival t a c t i c s .

"Analysis of Police Combat Situations," New York City Police Depart-


ment, 1974.

6
T h i s b o o k c a n h e l p m a k e y o u survival sensitive.
T h e t e c h n i q u e s it e m p h a s i z e s a r e d e s i g n e d t o a f f e c t
the way you prepare, plan and react, to k e e p y o u
a l i v e i n real s i t u a t i o n s . T h e y are n o t h y p o t h e s e s , b u t
p r o v e n p r o c e d u r e s , b a s e d o n t h e i n s i g h t s of o f f i c e r s
w h o have experienced gun battles and survived
and on the lessons left b e h i n d by t h o s e w h o h a v e
died.
T h e s e t a c t i c s fall i n t o t w o broad categories:
1) t h o s e t h a t w i l l h e l p y o u prevent risky situations
from escalating into life-threatening encounters,
a n d 2) t h o s e t h a t c a n h e l p y o u survive if, d e s p i t e
your best efforts, violence does erupt. Procedures
from b o t h categories are integrated t h r o u g h o u t , so
that while each chapter relates to firearms, the
e m p h a s i s is n o t a l w a y s o n a c t u a l s h o o t i n g per-
formance.
Among other things, you will c o m e to under-
stand the c o m m o n attitudes that lead suspects to
engage t h e p o l i c e i n g u n f i g h t s . . . o f f i c e r a t t i t u d e s
that hamper response...the circumstances likely to
i n f l u e n c e c o n f r o n t a t i o n s . . . s a f e m e t h o d s f o r ap-
proaching high-risk situations...ways to use light,
verbal c o m m a n d s , surprise, m o v e m e n t and protec-
t i v e c o v e r , c o n c e a l m e n t a n d e q u i p m e n t t o r e d u c e or
o v e r c o m e a s u s p e c t ' s a d v a n t a g e . . . a s w e l l as p r o c e -
dures to assure that your gun will w o r k w h e n y o u
need i t . . . a n d the latest, practical t e c h n i q u e s for
delivering swift, accurate, deadly fire. B y studying
t h e t a b l e of c o n t e n t s y o u c a n r e v i e w , i n s u m m a r y
f o r m , t h e e l e m e n t s of a n y a r m e d c o n f r o n t a t i o n ,
f r o m t h e t h i n g s y o u n e e d t o k n o w a n d do b e f o r e
firearms are used to t h e p s y c h o l o g i c a l pressures y o u
m a y feel afterward. In effect, the chapter headings
encapsulate the factors you should be continually
c o n c e r n e d a b o u t , for t h e s e m o s t l i k e l y w i l l d e t e r -
m i n e your ability to survive, w h e t h e r you acknowl-
edge t h a t t o b e t h e c a s e or n o t .

T h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s i n w h i c h t h e u s e of d e a d l y
f o r c e is p e r m i t t e d v a r y c o n s i d e r a b l y w i t h s t a t e l a w s
and d e p a r t m e n t a l p o l i c i e s . H o w e v e r , all j u r i s d i c -
tions permit an officer to shoot to protect his own
l i f e o r t h e l i v e s of o t h e r i n n o c e n t p e r s o n s f r o m i m m i -
n e n t d a n g e r . W h e r e s h o o t i n g is c a l l e d for i n t h e
tactics presented here, we have considered those to
be t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s . T h i s h e l p s u n d e r s c o r e t h e f a c t
t h a t l a w e n f o r c e m e n t f i r e a r m s a r e defensive tools,
not to be used offensively.
T h e u s e a n d h a n d l i n g of r e v o l v e r s , s e m i -
a u t o m a t i c pistols and shotguns are referenced
t h r o u g h o u t b e c a u s e t h e y are t h e m o s t c o m m o n l a w
e n f o r c e m e n t f i r e a r m s . If y o u ' r e l i k e t h e v a s t m a j o r -
i t y of o f f i c e r s , y o u c a r r y a . 3 8 c a l . r e v o l v e r a s y o u r
regulation on-duty weapon. But you m a y use a semi-
a u t o m a t i c o f f - d u t y o r as a b a c k - u p g u n , a n d if
you're assigned to street patrol you m a y have a
shotgun in your patrol car. T h e m o r e proficient y o u
b e c o m e w i t h both the m e c h a n i c a l and tactical use
of t h e s e f i r e a r m s , t h e h i g h e r y o u r s u r v i v a l q u o t i e n t ,
for y o u c a n n e v e r b e c e r t a i n w h i c h y o u w i l l h a v e at
h a n d at t h e c r u c i a l m o m e n t .
Y o u r f i r e a r m , of c o u r s e , is a l w a y s t h e t o o l of l a s t
r e s o r t . S u r v i v a l s h o u l d b e g i n l o n g before the mo-
m e n t y o u n e e d t o f i r e , a n d if y o u w a i t u n t i l t h e n t o
t h i n k a b o u t it, y o u are d e p e n d i n g o n l u c k , w h e t h e r
y o u r e a l i z e it or n o t .
T r u e s u r v i v a l r e a d i n e s s is l i k e a n e q u i l a t e r a l
triangle involving:

A l l c o r n e r s a r e of e q u a l i m p o r t a n c e t o t h e w h o l e ,
a n d t h e o m i s s i o n of a n y e l e m e n t l e a v e s a p o t e n t i a l l y
lethal gap. For a defense structure that will enable
y o u t o c o n t r o l t h e o u t c o m e of m o s t l i f e - o r - d e a t h
encounters, your m i n d , your body and your gun
m u s t be molded into a combined, coordinated
"weapons system.''
T h e s y s t e m a p p r o a c h is t h e c o r e of t h i s b o o k . It
r e q u i r e s t h a t y o u d e v e l o p s k i l l at a v a r i e t y of d i s t i n c t
b u t r e l a t e d p r o c e d u r e s of a n t i c i p a t i o n a n d r e s p o n s e .
S o m e involve shooting, the instant delivery and
a c c u r a t e p l a c e m e n t of r o u n d s . S o m e c o n c e r n f o r e -
s t a l l i n g or a v o i d i n g a n a s s a i l a n t ' s s h o t s , m a k i n g
y o u r s e l f a h a r d t a r g e t . All can be learned.
S o m e s u r v i v a l p r i n c i p l e s m a y appear h a r s h . S u r -
v i v a l is n o t c o m m u n i t y r e l a t i o n s , c o n c e r n e d w i t h
c o u r t e s y a n d c o d e s of fair c o n d u c t ; t h e r e are n o
" g e n t l e m e n ' s r u l e s " i n a g u n f i g h t . S o m e of t h e
e s t i m a t e d one to four m i l l i o n people carrying con-
c e a l e d g u n s i l l e g a l l y i n t h i s c o u n t r y (and s o m e w h o
o w n t h e m l e g a l l y , as w e l l ) are w i l l i n g t o t a k e o n t h e
police o n incredibly brutal t e r m s . T o save your life
or s o m e o n e e l s e ' s , y o u m a y s o m e t i m e s n e e d t h e
ultimate responses.
T h e ability to use decisive tactics successfully,
however, does not equate w i t h recklessness.
A c t u a l l y , it is t h e u n s k i l l e d o f f i c e r w h o is l i k e l i e s t
t o be r e c k l e s s , a n d t h u s a d a n g e r n o t o n l y t o h i m s e l f
a n d f e l l o w o f f i c e r s , b u t t o t h e p u b l i c h e is s w o r n
t o p r o t e c t . B e c a u s e o f h i s l a c k of c o n f i d e n c e i n h i s
ability to protect h i m s e l f in risky s i t u a t i o n s , he will
r e a c t t o t h r e a t s of v i o l e n c e w i t h p a n i c b o r n of d e s p -
e r a t i o n . A t r a i n e d o f f i c e r , o n t h e o t h e r h a n d , is c o n -
f i d e n t b e c a u s e h e is r e a d y , a n d h i s c o n t r o l l e d s k i l l s
c a n h e l p h i m k e e p v i o l e n c e t o a m i n i m u m or s t o p it
i n s t a n t l y . R e a l i s t i c t a c t i c s c a n r e d u c e t h e n u m b e r of
i n c i d e n t s t h a t e s c a l a t e t o t h e p o i n t of g u n f i r e , r e -
d u c e t h e n u m b e r of s u s p e c t s s h o t or k i l l e d b y p o l i c e ,
r e d u c e t h e n u m b e r of t r a g e d i e s w h e r e i n n o c e n t
p a r t i e s a r e s h o t b e c a u s e of m i s t a k e n i d e n t i t y , as
w e l l as s u b s t a n t i a l l y r e d u c e t h e n u m b e r of o f f i c e r s
w o u n d e d or s l a i n e v e n t h o u g h t h e n u m b e r o f
contacts b e t w e e n police and criminals r e m a i n s
undiminished.

N o t h i n g set forth in t h e pages that follow


s h o u l d b e regarded as T h e A b s o l u t e A n s w e r t o a l l
s u r v i v a l p r o b l e m s . There are no absolutes in tactics.
N o t w o s i t u a t i o n s a r e e v e r e x a c t l y a l i k e , n o s e t of
procedures always effective. W h a t ' s offered are
options t h a t are v a l u a b l e f o r y o u r r e p e r t o i r e of s k i l l s
b e c a u s e t h e y w i l l w o r k for m o s t o f f i c e r s i n m o s t
s i t u a t i o n s m o s t of t h e t i m e .
M o s t survival t e c h n i q u e s are s i m p l e , based on
c o m m o n s e n s e . B u t t h e y r e q u i r e extensive practice
to be used successfully. Y o u need to k n o w what
w o r k s for y o u , and t h e t a c t i c s y o u f a v o r n e e d t o b e
honed until they b e c o m e natural and reflexive. F O R ,
U N D E R S T R E S S , IN A CRISIS, Y O U W I L L IN-
STINCTIVELY REVERT T O T H E WAY Y O U HAVE
TRAINED.
T r a i n i n g to face reality takes extra t i m e , extra
e n e r g y , e x t r a c r e a t i v i t y . It r e q u i r e s t h a t you a c c e p t
t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for a s s u r i n g y o u r s u r v i v a l e d u c a -
t i o n . Y o u n e e d t o w o r k c o n s t a n t l y at r e f i n i n g , adapt-
ing a n d s u p p l e m e n t i n g y o u r s u r v i v a l c a p a b i l i t i e s ,
n o t o n l y in f o r m a l a n d i n f o r m a l t r a i n i n g s e s s i o n s ,
but, m o s t important, on a daily basis in t h e course
of y o u r p a t r o l d u t i e s .
I t ' s e a s i e r , of c o u r s e , t o p l a y t h e odds t h a t y o u
will be among the fortunate majority w h o s e lives
are n e v e r c h a l l e n g e d . B u t t h a t ' s a g a m e of R u s s i a n
roulette that too m a n y officers have lost.
T h e r e are n o g u a r a n t e e s i n l a w e n f o r c e m e n t .
T h e o n l y p r e d i c t a b l e is t h e u n p r e d i c t a b l e . Y o u r n e x t
c a l l c o u l d b e a n o t h e r " r o u t i n e " r u n . . . o r it c o u l d b e
the one that tests everything you've got.
If y o u w o n d e r w h e t h e r y o u ' r e r e a d y , a s k y o u r -
s e l f : " H o w m a n y p e o p l e c o u l d h a v e h a d m e t o d a y if
they'd really wanted m e ? "
A n d t h e n a s k : " W h a t w o u l d I h a v e d o n e if
they'd tried?"

The body of a man who moments


earlier killed one officer, seriously
wounded two others, and wounded
his wife and a neighbor. The gun in
the foreground belonged to one of
the officers.

10
I. TACTICS
...for Survival
THEM AND US
Most Americans think they know about gun
fights. T h e y ' v e seen thousands on T V . During the
average h o u r ' s a c t i o n s h o w , n i n e h a n d w e a p o n s are
d i s p l a y e d , g u n s m o s t l y , a n d t h e y ' r e u s e d w i t h dra-
m a t i c derring-do. P o l i c e m e n w i t h h a n d g u n s s u c -
c e s s f u l l y b l a s t a w a y at a d v e r s a r i e s s e v e r a l h u n d r e d
yards d i s t a n t . . . a d e t e c t i v e w i t h a t w o - i n c h b a r r e l
revolver outshoots a criminal w i t h a scoped rifle...
a n a g e n t f i r e s a derringer i n t o t h e air a n d b r i n g s a n
airplane crashing down...
People believe it's possible, including s o m e
cops. M a n y officers truly b e l i e v e t h e y are carrying
guns and a m m u n i t i o n w h i c h will literally b l o w
people a w a y e v e n though it's nearly impossible to
m o v e a h u m a n body w i t h a bullet from a handgun.
A t t h e s a m e t i m e t h e d i s t o r t i o n s of t h i s c u l -
tural saturation endow guns w i t h super capabilities,
t h e y g e n e r a l l y s a n i t i z e t h e i r e f f e c t . E i g h t y - f o u r per
c e n t of t h e b u l l e t s fired o n T V m i s s t h e i r t a r g e t s e n -
tirely, according to one foundation study. O n l y
e i g h t per c e n t or l e s s c a u s e i n j u r y or d e a t h , a n d e v e n
t h e n , t h e y i n d u c e " l i t t l e b l o o d l e t t i n g or s u f f e r i n g . "
T o t h e m e n and w o m e n w h o ' v e b e e n t h e r e ,
r e a l - l i f e g u n f i g h t s are a l t o g e t h e r d i f f e r e n t . W h a t t h e
m o v i e or T V s c r e e n f a n t a s i z e s as e x t e n d e d , e x o t i c ,
antiseptic episodes, they k n o w in fact to be fast,
banal, brutal e n c o u n t e r s , played for k e e p s , often
w i t h p a i n and m u c h b l o o d .
Indeed, officers suddenly thrust into armed
c o n f r o n t a t i o n s often are startled t o discover just
h o w different they really are.
In i n t e r v i e w s e x c e r p t e d b e l o w , e i g h t v e t e r a n s of
officer-involved shootings share their perceptions
of w h a t t h e e x p e r i e n c e w a s l i k e . F o u r of t h e s e m e n
h a v e b e e n c o n v i c t e d of k i l l i n g l a w e n f o r c e m e n t of-
f i c e r s a n d are s e r v i n g t i m e i n I l l i n o i s c o r r e c t i o n a l
f a c i l i t i e s . T h e o t h e r four are l a w e n f o r c e m e n t offi-
cers in C a l i f o r n i a w h o have b e e n critically w o u n d -
edand survived.
In m a n y respects, these individuals typify
T h e m a n d U s , t h e t w o s i d e s of a n y c o n f r o n t a t i o n .
Their c o m m e n t s about their respective tactics,
presented in t h e i r e x a c t words, are a fitting prelude
to realistic survival education. T h e i r insights re-
garding a t t i t u d e , preparedness and m i s t a k e s m a d e
are particularly i m p o r t a n t .
N o factors are m o r e pivotal to t h e o u t b r e a k and
o u t c o m e of s h o o t i n g i n c i d e n t s . F e w a r e l e s s w e l l
u n d e r s t o o d o n b o t h s i d e s of t h e l a w .

INMATE 1:
There was a stick-up that morning. I walked
into the store, armed with a .38 revolver. I drew
down on the cashier and t o o k $ 3 , 5 0 0 cash m o n e y .
T h e n there was a shrill whistle throughout the
store, a warning that police were c o m i n g . I started
o u t , r u n n i n g t h e l e n g t h of t h e s t o r e , a b o u t 1 0 0 f e e t ,
at w h i c h t i m e t h e p o l i c e o f f i c e r s t e p p e d i n t h e d o o r -
way w i t h his revolver drawn, I guess to assess the
s i t u a t i o n i n s i d e . It s c a r e d t h e h e l l o u t of m e . A n d I
shot him.
Q. When you fired, how did you do it!
A. I n s t i n c t i v e l y . I was about 15 feet f r o m t h e
d o o r . M y p i s t o l w a s at m y s i d e , a n d w h e n I s a w h i m
standing in t h e doorway, w e l l , m y gun c a m e up and
o n e s h o t w e n t off. R e f l e x . N o t h i n g t h a t w a s a i m e d .
Q. Would you perceive yourself as being a
good marksman!
A. No, I w o u l d n ' t . I never really had m u c h
practice. I think that anyone can point a revolver
a n d s h o o t it at a s u b j e c t a n d h i t . Y o u j u s t do l i k e
this (quickly points f i n g e r ) B O O M a n d shoot to
kill.
Q. At the moment you squeezed the trigger,
what thought was going through your mind!
A. Escape. T h e officer w a s a threat to m y free-
d o m and to m y greed for t h e m o n e y . H e w a s in t h e
way.
Q. What mistakes do you think he made!
A. H e should h a v e w a i t e d for a b a c k - u p force.
H e could have hidden and issued a verbal challenge:
" D r o p your weapon, I've got y o u c o v e r e d ! " . . .
" C o m e o u t ! " Anything. He should have never
stepped into that doorway, putting h i s body in
jeopardy.
Q. Now, you're a weightlifter, you keep your-
self in good shape. How would you compare your
physical and mental fitness for dealing with a shoot-
ing situation versus the officers you knew when you
were out on the street!
A. M o s t p o l i c e o f f i c e r s are n o t c o n d i t i o n e d .
T h e y ' r e o v e r w e i g h t , t h e y d r i n k a l o t of b e e r , t h e y
s t a y u p at n i g h t a n d t h e y d o n ' t s l e e p v e r y w e l l . I
t h i n k m o s t h a v e got u l c e r s , h e a r t t r o u b l e , p r e m a t u r e
illnesses. But a person that keeps himself condi-
t i o n e d , h i s m i n d is s t e a d y , h i s e y e s are c l e a r , h i s
a i m is g o o d . H e ' s g o t m o r e s t a m i n a , m o r e p a t i e n c e ,
a sharper perspective on things.
Q. Mentally, what kind of preparation do you
think most guys on the street have, so far as being
ready to take on a cop if they have to!
A. I think that most people w h o c o m e from
high c r i m e areas, they view the police as the e n e m y ,
a threat. Obviously, a person w h o carries a con-
cealed weapon, h e ' s not ready to s u b m i t b e c a u s e h e
has t h e audacity to possess a firearm in t h e first
p l a c e . T h e r e f o r e , i t ' s a m a t t e r of w h o g e t s t h e drop
o n w h o . O n c e I p u l l m y p i s t o l , w e l l , y o u r s is c o u n -
terfeit. T h a t ' s the way it's played.

D E P U T Y C H I E F R. " Z I P " Z B I N D E N :

T h e call was a " f a m i l y peace d i s t u r b a n c e , "


and m y approach was rather ignorant. I w e n t right
up a n d k n o c k e d o n t h e d o o r of t h e h o u s e . T h e
m o t h e r of t h e m a n c a u s i n g t h e t r o u b l e l e t m e i n a n d
said h e w a s d o w n t h e h a l l w a y off t h e l i v i n g r o o m . I
obediently started down the hallway. H e c a m e out
of o n e of t h e b e d r o o m s at t h e e n d .
In h i s r i g h t h a n d , h e h e l d w h a t a p p e a r e d t o b e a
9 - s h o t , . 2 2 t a r g e t p i s t o l , p o i n t e d d i r e c t l y at m y s t e r -
n u m . It w a s v e r y s t e a d y i n h i s h a n d . H e h a d a b l a n k
s t a r e o n h i s f a c e , a n d h e w a s l o o k i n g j u s t d i r e c t l y at
m e . I k n e w I was in a bad p o s i t i o n . . . t h i s long hall-
way, and m y weapon not drawn.
I tried to i n c h up o n h i m very slowly w i t h o u t
any sudden m o v e m e n t s , speaking about the weath-
er, a n y t h i n g t h a t c o u l d c o m e t o m y m i n d a n d k e e p
h i m f r o m b e c o m i n g f r i g h t e n e d or d i s t u r b e d . T h a t
w a s a b o u t a l l I h a d g o i n g for m e . H e w a s i n c o n t r o l
of t h e s i t u a t i o n . I h a d n o i d e a w h a t h e w a s g o i n g t o
do. I c o u l d p r e d i c t a l o t of a l t e r n a t i v e s , b u t I c o u l d n ' t
p r e d i c t e x a c t l y w h a t or w h e n .
W h e n I g o t w i t h i n a b o u t f o u r o r f i v e f e e t of h i m ,
I thought he had relented. His hand w i t h the gun
dropped t o h i s s i d e , h i s h e a d d r o p p e d . I s t a r t e d p a t -
ting m y s e l f on t h e b a c k so hard I about b r o k e m y
a r m s . I t h o u g h t I'd s i l v e r - t o n g u e - d e v i l e d h i m r i g h t
o u t of h i s o r i g i n a l i n t e n t i o n .
I e x t e n d e d m y h a n d t o grab h i s g u n .
T h e w e a p o n c a m e up f r o m h i s s i d e . It w a s a n
e x t r e m e l y rapid m o v e m e n t . It i m m e d i a t e l y d i s -
charged, and I was struck right here b e l o w w h e r e the
p e n s are in m y p o c k e t .
A w e i r d f e e l i n g w e n t t h r o u g h m e . It w a s n ' t l i k e
I'd seen on T V . I felt like s o m e o n e had p u n c h e d m e
w i t h a closed fist and t h e n run a hot poker through
m y c h e s t . I k n e w it w a s b a d .
I grasped his w e a p o n w i t h m y left hand and
w h e n I t o o k it a w a y f r o m h i m , h e h a d n o c o n t r o l
at all o v e r h i s m o v e m e n t , a c t i o n or a n y t h i n g . H e
was just a vegetable standing there. I walked outside
to w a i t for m y b a c k - u p and an a m b u l a n c e .
Before this happened, I used to think I could
s t o p off i n a p h o n e b o o t h a n d c h a n g e c l o t h e s a n d
t h e r e ' d b e a big r e d " S " u n d e r n e a t h m y s h i r t . I f o u n d
out that I was subject to h u m a n frailties and h u m a n
errors and I hurt just l i k e everybody else.

INMATE 2:
T h e killing occurred over a traffic ticket. O n e
word led to another and the officer hit m e . W h e n he
h i t m e , h e w e n t for h i s g u n a n d I w e n t for m i n e . I
just beat h i m to t h e s h o t . H e died and I w o u n d e d h i s
partner.
Q. What kind of a gun did you hovel
A. I had a .380 Browning a u t o m a t i c . I w a s n ' t
a m a r k s m a n , s o I j u s t h e l d it a n d p u l l e d t h e trigger,
a n d t h e g u n t o o k c a r e of i t s e l f .
Q. Piioi to that incident, had you given any
thought to how you would deal with a police offi-
cer if you ever became involved with one!
A. O h , y e s sir. A t t h e t i m e , I w a s i n f l u e n c e d
b y t h e t e a c h i n g s of t h e B l a c k M u s l i m s , t h e r h e t o r i c
of t h e B l a c k P a n t h e r s a n d o t h e r b l a c k r e v o l u t i o n -
aries. S o I'd given s o m e t h o u g h t to an e n c o u n t e r
w i t h t h e p i g s . I h a d a n idea of w h a t I ' d do if I w a s
confronted with a belligerent cop.
Q. How did you feel the moment you shot the
officer!
A. I d i d n ' t h a v e a n y f e e l i n g s at a l l .
Q. From your experience, how well do you
think officers are prepared in shooting situations!
A. M e n t a l l y , I d o n ' t t h i n k t h e y are p r e p a r e d
t h a t w e l l . A p o l i c e m a n ' s j o b i s n ' t f o r e v e r y o n e . It
t a k e s a b i l i t y , it t a k e s c o u r a g e , it t a k e s p a t i e n c e , a
feeling for h u m a n i t y . B u t m o s t officers, t h e y ' r e
scared, they're nervous, they're prejudiced. T h e y
shoot, and then ask questions later.
Q. In most shooting situations, where do you
think officers are looking just before everything ex-
plodes!
A. Well, I would say m o s t police, they're
trying to view the w h o l e body, w h i c h I don't t h i n k
is c o r r e c t . T h e w h o l e b o d y is n o t g o i n g t o h a r m y o u .
T h e m o s t d a n g e r o u s p a r t is a m a n ' s h a n d s . If y o u
c a n t r y t o get t h e g e n e r a l v i e w of h i s h a n d s , e s p e -
c i a l l y h i s r i g h t h a n d , e v e n if h e ' s g o t h i s b a c k t u r n e d
to you, you're pretty safe.

SERGEANT JERRY D U N N :
T h e p o s t o f f i c e c a l l e d a n d said a g u y w e w a n t e d
for b a n k r o b b e r y w a s t h e r e p i c k i n g u p a p a c k a g e . A s
I drove up, I saw h i m w a l k d o w n t h e post office
s t e p s a n d h e a d a r o u n d t o w a r d t h e b a c k of t h e b u i l d -
ing. I c o n f r o n t e d h i m a n d t o l d h i m h e w a s u n d e r
a r r e s t . H e s t a r t e d s a y i n g , " N o t m e . I d i d n ' t do a n y -
t h i n g . " I felt I had the right guy. B u t I'd only seen a
p i c t u r e of h i m a n d t h e r e w a s s t i l l t h a t d o u b t . I k e p t
saying, " Y o u ' r e under a r r e s t , " and h e started f u m -
bling w i t h his belt, w i t h his b a c k s o m e w h a t towards
me.
H e c a m e up w i t h a g u n , t u r n e d a r o u n d a n d
s t a r t e d f i r i n g . I t r i e d t o s h o o t b a c k t w i c e as f a s t . W e
hit each other. I went down first. H e stood over m e
w i t h h i s g u n i n b o t h h a n d s , p o i n t i n g at m e . T h e n h e
fell.
Q. What kind of impact do you think TV and
films have had on the way officers perceive them-
selves in a shooting!
A. Well, in the m o v i e s , an officer gets shot,
stuffs a bandana in the w o u n d , goes on and c a t c h e s
t h e bad g u y , a n d t h e n h e ' s h o m e i n t h e n e x t s c e n e
h a v i n g a d r i n k w i t h a l i t t l e b l o n d e . It d o e s n ' t h a p p e n
that way.
Q. What's different!
A. W e l l , i n m y c a s e I got s h o t i n t h e t h i g h .
At the t i m e I didn't feel that was a serious w o u n d .
B u t I u n d e r s t a n d if I h a d n ' t b e e n c l o s e t o a h o s p i t a l
I w o u l d h a v e died w i t h i n f o u r m i n u t e s .
Q. How accurate is an officer likely to be in a
shooting!
A. I t h i n k w e actually hit the target w e ' r e
s h o o t i n g at o n l y a b o u t 2 0 p e r c e n t of t h e t i m e . S u s -
p e c t s h a v e a m u c h b e t t e r a v e r a g e , p r o b a b l y 4 0 per
cent. T h e suspect k n o w s w h a t h e ' s doing, but t h e
cop c a n ' t take any action until the suspect does.
T h e n it m a y b e t o o l a t e .
Q. What did you do wrong!
A. I d i d n ' t w a i t for a b a c k - u p o f f i c e r . I f e l t t h a t
t i m e w a s of t h e e s s e n c e . W i t h h i n d s i g h t , I c a n s e e
that the situation could have been resolved better
had I kept m y suspect under surveillance and had
officers surround the building w i t h m e .
Q. Based on your situation, what would you
say is the difference between target shooting on a
range and being in the real thing on the street!
A. T h e y ' r e as d i f f e r e n t as n i g h t a n d d a y .
S h o o t i n g t a r g e t s , t h e r e ' s n o p r e s s u r e as s u c h . B u t
firing at an i n d i v i d u a l w h o ' s r e t u r n i n g fire is j u s t a n
unbelievable experience. N o m a t t e r h o w m u c h prac-
t i c i n g y o u do o n t h e r a n g e , y o u ' r e n e v e r p r e p a r e d t o
h a v e t o f i r e a n d b e fired u p o n b y a n o t h e r i n d i v i d u a l .
Q. What was going through your mind at that
point I
A. Disbelief. I couldn't believe that anyone
w o u l d w a n t to shoot m e . H e r e I a m , just an ordinary
guy doing h i s job. W h y w o u l d an individual try and
kill m e just because I wanted to apprehend him?
I ' v e d o n e it d o z e n s a n d d o z e n s of t i m e s . I w a s u n d e r
the impression that nothing would ever happen to
m e . I b e l i e v e o f f i c e r s , as a r u l e , f e e l t h a t t h e y ' r e
i n v i n c i b l e , t h a t t h e y ' r e g o i n g t o do t h e i r j o b , go
h o m e a n d s t a r t o v e r t h e n e x t d a y . T h e n a l l of a s u d -
d e n I f o u n d s o m e o n e w h o ' d r a t h e r die t h a n b e i n c a r -
cerated. I c o u l d n ' t believe it.
Q. At the moment the first round went into
the suspect, what was your reaction!
A. I d o n ' t k n o w to this day w h i c h round
struck h i m . I never saw any look on his face, any
r e a c t i o n at a l l f r o m a n y of m y r o u n d s . I h a d n o i d e a
w h e t h e r I'd shot h i m . In fact, I didn't even k n o w
t h a t I h a d b e e n shot, e x c e p t that I had a pain in m y
leg t h a t k n o c k e d m y f e e t o u t f r o m u n d e r m e .
Q. How much of your surviving do you think
was luck versus your being ready to come out on
top!
A. A large p o r t i o n of it w a s l u c k . T h e b a d g u y
d i d n ' t g e t m e i n a v i t a l s p o t a n d I did h i m . I t c o u l d
have been just the other way around.

INMATE 3:
M y u n c l e a n d I p u l l e d u p i n f r o n t of t h e l i q u o r
store, and h e handed m e t h e gun. H e said, " N o w ' s
as g o o d a t i m e a s a n y . ' ' I w a l k e d p a s t t h e p l a c e o n c e ,
t h e n c a m e through t h e door and pulled out h i s Rossi
snub-nose . 3 8 . A guy w a s standing to m y right I
hadn't seen. H e just ducked his head down and
started toward m e running, trying to get his gun out
at t h e s a m e t i m e . I r e a l i z e d h e w a s a c o p . T h e n e x t
thing I k n e w , w e b o t h w e n t flying up against the
wall and he w a s shot. T h e bullet w e n t right in the
t o p of t h e c e n t e r of h i s h e a d a n d c a m e o u t t h e b a c k .
Q. Had you had very much experience with
guns!
A. N o , I'd n e v e r s h o t a g u n i n m y l i f e , n o t
even a rifle. I had absolutely no experience at all.
Q. How prepared do you think he was to fire
on you!
A. I d o n ' t t h i n k h e w a s p r e p a r e d t o f i r e at a l l .
I d o n ' t t h i n k h e r e a l l y w a n t e d t o s h o o t m e , or h e
probably would have from the beginning.
Q. Do you think guys on the street are more
prepared than police!
A. Probably. T h e stick-up m a n realizes w h e n
he goes in that t h e situation m i g h t c o m e d o w n to
w h e r e h e h a s t o s h o o t , w h e r e a s if a n o f f i c e r ' s c a u g h t
in there, h e ' s caught by surprise.
Q. What do you think the officer should have
done!
A. W h a t I w a n t e d h i m to do, l i k e lay d o w n on
the floor. H e could have tried to get a good descrip-
t i o n of m e , p e r h a p s w a i t e d t i l I t u r n e d a r o u n d , t h e n
shot m e . Anything but try to draw his gun on a gun
that was already drawn.
Q. What was your reaction to him when he
started coming toward you! Did you feel that you
were going to win!
A. N o , because I w a s n ' t trying to shoot h i m .
T h a t ' s the point. I didn't have any t i m e to think.
I m e a n , b e f o r e I r e a l i z e d it, t h e m a n w a s o n m e a n d
the gun was shot.
Q. fust one round!
A. Yeah. One Shot.
Q. Now, your brother wants to be a cop. What
would be your hope for him if he ever got involved
in a shooting situation!
A. I would hope he was better trained. Like,
I t h i n k it w o u l d h a v e b e e n n o p r o b l e m f o r t h e o f f i c e r
in m y s i t u a t i o n t o e v e n s a y a w o r d t o m e a n d h e
c o u l d h a v e d i s a r m e d m e . If h e ' d k n o w n w h a t t o d o ,
he wouldn't have been killed. It's that simple.

D E T E C T I V E JACK FISHER:

E a r l i e r i n t h e day a p r i s o n e r h a d e s c a p e d f r o m a
s h e r i f f ' s s u b - s t a t i o n . H e ' d a s k e d t o go t o t h e t o i l e t ,
and a n o f f i c e r h a d u n l o c k e d o n e of h i s h a n d c u f f s . H e
jumped the officer, wrestled h i m to t h e floor, t o o k
his .357 M a g n u m and stole a patrol car. D u r i n g a
c h a s e , h e l o s t c o n t r o l of t h e c a r a n d s k i d d e d off t h e
road. H e t h e n grabbed the shotgun f r o m t h e car and
t o o k off u p a m o u n t a i n s i d e .
A s e r g e a n t a n d I w e r e o n t h e p o i n t of a s e a r c h
party, tracking his footprints. W e w e r e c o m i n g up
on a little clearing w h e n the sergeant saw h i m ,
c r o u c h e d w a y d o w n l o w under a large b u s h , holding
the shotgun.
M y first r e a c t i o n w a s t o d i v e f o r a b u s h , t a k e
cover. T h e suspect brought the shotgun up on the
s e r g e a n t , a n d w h e n h e w o u l d n ' t t h r o w it d o w n l i k e
w e c o m m a n d e d , I fired m y f i r s t r o u n d . I m i s s e d .
H e s p u n a r o u n d a n d fired at m e . T h e b l a s t w e n t o v e r
m y right s h o u l d e r a n d o n e or t w o o f t h e p e l l e t s h i t
m e o n t h e f o r e h e a d . I fired, I t h i n k , s i x r o u n d s u n t i l
he finally w e n t d o w n and didn't get up, h i t in the
k n e e and the heart.
Q. What's the difference between shooting
paper targets and shooting live people!
A. T h e p r i m a r y d i f f e r e n c e , of c o u r s e , is t h e
paper t a r g e t s d o n ' t s h o o t b a c k . A l s o t h e y d o n ' t m o v e
very often, y o u u s u a l l y have good b a c k g r o u n d , the
l i g h t ' s g o o d s o i t ' s e a s y , it b e c o m e s r o u t i n e . A n d ,
of c o u r s e i t ' s d i f f e r e n t i n t h e m o v i e s , t o o . T h e r e t h e
o f f i c e r c a n drop a n y b o d y at 2 0 0 o r 3 0 0 y a r d s w i t h a
revolver, his gun never empties, he doesn't have to
w o r r y a b o u t r e l o a d i n g at c r i t i c a l t i m e s . I t ' s j u s t
not that way.
Q. What's it like to get shot at by someone!
A. V e r y f r i g h t e n i n g , s c a r y , all t h e w o r d s for
t h a t . B u t y o u d o n ' t r e a l i z e t h a t at t h e t i m e , w h e n
you're instinctively reacting. T h e scariness comes
l a t e r , w h e n y o u sit b a c k a n d c r i t i q u e y o u r s e l f . T h e n
y o u get s c a r e d , b e c a u s e t h e r e ' s u s u a l l y s o m e t h i n g
y o u d i d n ' t do t h a t y o u s h o u l d h a v e .
Q. What did you do wrong!
A. T h e biggest thing, I t h i n k , was to m i s s
w i t h m y f i r s t s h o t , t h e r e b y a f f o r d i n g h i m t h e oppor-
t u n i t y t o c r a n k o n e off at m e . H a d h e b e e n s u c c e s s -
f u l , I w o u l d h a v e b e e n o u t of t h e p i c t u r e , a n d w h o
knows what would have happened.
Q. Say I've been an officer for about six
months. What kind of advice could you give me in a
shooting situation!
A. If y o u d o n ' t r e m e m b e r a n o t h e r t h i n g , r e -
m e m b e r t o do something i m m e d i a t e l y . M o v e , run,
j u m p up and down, fall d o w n on t h e ground, yell,
s c r e a m j u s t react so you're not standing there
giving t h e suspect a perfect target. Anything m i g h t
g i v e y o u a n edge, b e c a u s e h e m a y b e a m a z e d at w h a t
you're doing and therefore not pull t h e trigger. T h a t
could give y o u the opportunity to draw your weap-
o n , if y o u d o n ' t a l r e a d y h a v e it o u t , a n d g e t h i m
before he gets you.
Q. What does it feel like to shoot somebody!
A. Y o u t h i n k a b o u t it l a t e r . T o t a k e a h u m a n
l i f e is n e v e r a p l e a s u r e a n d I d o n ' t e v e r e x p e c t it t o
b e o n e . I ' v e h a d s o m e u n c o m f o r t a b l e m o m e n t s as
t h e r e s u l t , b u t I did w h a t I h a d t o d o .

INMATE 4:
Fifty-eight police officers were staked out
around a plant where they'd been informed w e were
g o n n a rob an a r m o r e d car. W e c a m e and w a i t e d for
a n h o u r or t w o , b u t t h e t r u c k w a s l a t e , s o w e p r o -
c e e d e d t o l e a v e . A g u n s h o t w a s fired, a n d w e r e -
turned fire. Five or ten m i n u t e s later, after the
s h o o t i n g had ceased, a police officer w a s found dead,
a l o n g w i t h t w o of m y c o - d e f e n d a n t s .
Q. Was the officer out in the open when he
fired!
A. H e w a s p o s i t i o n e d d i r e c t l y i n f r o n t of t h e
v e h i c l e I w a s o c c u p y i n g a n d 15 t o 2 0 f e e t d i r e c t l y i n
f r o n t of s i x o f f i c e r s w h o w e r e s h o o t i n g o v e r h i s
shoulder. T e s t i m o n y later revealed he was shot by
t h e m d u e to t h e f a c t t h e y w a s b l i n d f r o m t h e b r i g h t
light.
Q. What kind of gun did you have!
A. I had an A R - 1 5 , a s e m i - a u t o m a t i c high-
p o w e r e d r i f l e . I t ' s t h e c i v i l i a n v e r s i o n of t h e M - 1 6 .
Very powerful and very damaging weapon.
Q. Are you a good shot!
A. W e l l , at a d i s t a n c e of 2 5 t o 3 0 f e e t , I w o u l d
h i t a m o v i n g t a r g e t of m o d e r a t e s i z e e i g h t o u t of t e n
times. I knew the most successful criminal would
be the one w h o had the m o s t e x p e r i e n c e in handling
a g u n , so I s t u d i e d g u n s . I u s e d t o go h u n t i n g a n d
to a rifle range and shoot shotguns, A R - 1 5 rifles,
M-16s, Army .45s, .357 Magnums with six-inch
b a r r e l s , p o l i c e s p e c i a l s and P - 3 8 s .
Q. How proficient do you think most officers
are with a handgun!
A. I don't think m y vocabulary contains the
w o r d s t o d e s c r i b e t h e l o u s i n e s s of t h e w a y p o l i c e u s e
their handguns. W h e n they dismount their handgun
from its holster, t h e y ' r e not fixed firmly, t h e y don't
tense t h e m s e l v e s up. T h e y ' r e very loose and casual.
T h a t indicates poor accuracy, poor efficiency. Any-
o n e w h o ' s fired a h a n d g u n k n o w s t h a t y o u s h o u l d b e
as s t u r d y as p o s s i b l e w h e n y o u ' r e i n a f i r i n g p o s i -
tion.
Q. To your knowledge of the way things are
on the street, what do you think the easiest way
would be to take out a cop!
A. T o w a t c h his m o v e m e n t . A good armed
r o b b e r or a g o o d b u r g l a r , h e h a v e o n e t h i n g i n h i s
m i n d : t o p u l l off a s u c c e s s f u l c a p e r . In o r d e r t o do
that, he m u s t have his eyes on the door. And c o m i n g
through t h e door, he always e x p e c t s t h e p o l i c e . H e
anticipates. In m y experience, officers just c o m e
through the door w i t h their gun u n h o l s t e r e d , n o t
k n o w i n g w h e r e t h e c r i m i n a l is l o c a t e d . T h e y l e a v e
themselves vulnerable...no protection. I think it's
a n e m o t i o n a l r e a c t i o n , b e c a u s e a g r e a t d e a l of y o u r
o f f i c e r s is a c t u a l l y afraid, s o t h e t h i n g t h a t m o s t l y
r u n s t h r o u g h t h e i r m i n d is I h a v e t o get i n h e r e ,
m a k e t h i s a r r e s t a n d t h a t ' s i t . T h e y n e v e r l o o k at t h e
p o s s i b i l i t y of b e i n g k i l l e d i n t h e p r o c e s s .
Q. What odds do you give an officer in that
kind of situation!
A. If I s o u g h t o u t t o c o m m i t a r o b b e r y , I w o u l d
g i v e t h e p o l i c e a 3 0 p e r c e n t c h a n c e of l i v i n g , o n c e
h e w a l k e d t h r o u g h t h e d o o r . A s s o o n as I h e a r a
noise, I'm automatically turning and shooting. I
w a n t w h a t I ' v e c o m e for a n d I w a n t t o g e t a w a y , s o
m y o b j e c t i v e is h i g h e r t h a n a n y o f f i c e r t h a t p l a n t o
arrest m e .
Q. And you think you 're better prepared!
A. T h a n the average guy w h o goes to t h e acad-
e m y m a y b e o n c e a w e e k , s p e n d s 10 or 2 0 m i n u t e s
there? Definitely. C r i m i n a l s study t h e police. I've
studied the way police m o v e , their e m o t i o n a l antici-
p a t i o n s . I a l w a y s w a t c h t h e o f f i c e r , n o t for h i s e y e s
or h i s h a n d s h i s c h e s t p a r t . I h a v e h i s c h e s t p a r t
in visual sight.
Q. And you can shoot him without reserva-
tion!
A. I ' l l p u t it in t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e : w h e r e t h e r e ' s
$ 2 , 0 0 0 or m o r e i n v o l v e d , t h e a v e r a g e g u y h a v e n o
reservations whatsoever about w h o he kills. In fact,
he'd be m o r e inclined to kill a police officer rather
than anyone else. He expects the worst to happen.

D E T E C T I V E JIM R O W E :
I was a patrolman when the shooting occurred. I
was on m y m o t o r c y c l e checking out a lower parking
l e v e l for a g u y w h o ' d s t o l e n t w o g u n s f r o m a p a w n -
shop w h e n I noticed s o m e o n e w h o looked like h i m
w a l k by on the sidewalk above. I rode up to w i t h i n
8 or 9 f e e t b e h i n d h i m . I h a d m y g u n o u t , p o i n t i n g
at h i m . I y e l l e d , " H o l d it r i g h t t h e r e ! " H e k i n d of
looked over his right shoulder and t h e n spun
around. B o o m ! H i s first shot hit m e in t h e n e c k . I
fired b a c k , b u t h e t o o k off a n d k e p t g o i n g .
Q. What effect do you think TV and films
have had on officer survival!
A. Definitely detrimental. In the C l i n t East-
wood movies, the John Wayne movies, the crooks
are l o u s y shots, t h e good guys a l w a y s w i n . T h i s in
itself tends to m a k e p o l i c e m e n feel they're a little
m o r e invincible than they really are.
Q. Where do you think your approach was
weak!
A. N u m b e r one, I approached the individual
while still on m y m o t o r c y c l e . I c a m e too close to
h i m , I didn't have any cover, and I b r o k e the golden
r u l e of p o l i c e m e n : I did n o t s e e h i s h a n d s . T h e y w e r e
in his p o c k e t s . I should have k n o w n better, b e c a u s e ,
if h e w a s t h e s u s p e c t I w a s l o o k i n g f o r , I k n e w h e
was armed.
Q. What's it like to get shot by someone who
is better prepared than you are!
A. M y p e r s o n a l f e e l i n g w a s o n e of a n g e r . I f e l t
that w i t h m y experience, ten years on the depart-
m e n t , I should have been m o r e alert. H e was able to
j u s t t u r n a n d fire a n d h i t m e , a n d I s h o t n i n e t i m e s at
h i m f r o m a d i s t a n c e of l e s s t h a n t e n f e e t , a n d I d o n ' t
k n o w w h e t h e r I h i t h i m or n o t .
Q. Things were a little different than on the
range!
A. V e r y . S h o o t i n g paper t a r g e t s , y o u ' r e n o t
pumped up, t h e r e ' s no adrenalin, no danger, n o t h i n g
to fear. Y o u just have the feeling that t h a t ' s e x a c t l y
w h a t t h e y are, paper t a r g e t s . I t ' s v e r y s i m p l e t o k e e p
a calm, steady hand w h e n they're not shooting back.
Q. Where do most officers go wrong, so far as
survival is concerned!
A. Being over-confident, thinking that their
b l u e u n i f o r m is g o i n g t o s t o p b u l l e t s . T h e m o r e
y o u ' r e in p o l i c e w o r k , y o u t e n d t o b e c o m e i n v o l v e d
in s i t u a t i o n s w h i c h are v e r y s i m i l a r , t i m e a n d t i m e
again. Y o u c a n b e c o m e v e r y c o m p l a c e n t d u r i n g
t h o s e t y p e s of i n c i d e n t s , and it c a n t u r n b a d o n y o u .
It did w i t h m e .
Q. Okay, I'm a bad guy and I'm saying I'm
better prepared than any cop out on the street. I
shoot when I want to, and you don't know what
you 're doing.
A. W e l l , I d o n ' t c a r e w h a t y o u say a b o u t b e i n g
b e t t e r p r e p a r e d . I a l m o s t l o s t m y l i f e , a n d I ' l l guar-
antee you, / w o n ' t m a k e the s a m e m i s t a k e s again.
I ' l l be b e t t e r prepared t h a n t h e t y p i c a l c r e e p o n t h e
street. I practice. I don't b e c o m e complacent. T h a t ' s
w h a t i t ' s all a b o u t . N o t b e c o m i n g c o m p l a c e n t , a n d
j u s t p r a c t i c i n g at s u r v i v i n g .
T h e ways and c i r c u m s t a n c e s in w h i c h c r i m i n a l s
take on officers in gunfights have varied a m a z i n g l y
l i t t l e s i n c e p o l i c e first b e g a n t o c a r r y f i r e a r m s i n t h e
m i d d l e of t h e 1 9 t h c e n t u r y . T h e f i r s t p o l i c e k i l l i n g
r e c o r d e d in N e w Y o r k C i t y , i n 1 8 5 4 , o c c u r r e d a f t e r a
baker interrupted two " j u v e n i l e d e l i n q u e n t s " bur-
glarizing his e s t a b l i s h m e n t . " T h e rogues e s c a p e d , "
s a y s t h e o f f i c i a l report of t h e i n c i d e n t , " a n d w e r e
closely pursued by Patrolman Cahill. H e i m m e d i -
ately closed in w i t h the rascals and a struggle ensued
...Several pistol shots were discharged...The officer
gave a g r o a n , s a n k t o t h e g r o u n d a n d e x p i r e d a f e w
m i n u t e s l a t e r . " I n c l o s e s e q u e n c e i n t h e m u s t y old
r e c o r d b o o k s f o l l o w r e p o r t s of p l a i n c l o t h e s a n d u n i -
f o r m e d o f f i c e r s " t r u s t y g u a r d i a n s of t h e n i g h t "
fatally shot upon confronting a shoe store thief w h o
w a s b r a n d i s h i n g ' ' a large h o r s e p i s t o l ' ' . . . w h e n c a l l e d
t o " q u e l l a d i s t u r b a n c e at a n o y s t e r s a l o o n " . . .
w h i l e trying to arrest " a fugitive f r o m j u s t i c e " in a
l i q u o r s t o r e . . . d u r i n g t h e p u r s u i t of " a g a n g of
vagabonds" w h o had " d e b a u c h e d a wretched female
against her w i l l " . . . a n d while a t t e m p t i n g to seize
" a m a d m a n " w h o had v o w e d to shoot t h e first
m a n w h o c a m e through his hotel r o o m door.

T Y P E O F A S S I G N M E N T A T TIR/IE O F D E A T H

Percent
Patrol 66
Detective/Special Assignment 22
Off D u t y 11
Total 99

CIRCUMSTANCES A T T H E SCENE
OF T H E I N C I D E N T

Percent
Disturbance Calls 19
Burglary Calls 7
Robbery Calls 18
A t t e m p t i n g A r r e s t for C r i m e s o t h e r
t h a n R o b b e r y or B u r g l a r y 21
Civil Disorders 1
Handling Prisoners 4
Investigating Suspicious Persons/
Circumstances 8
A m b u s h (premeditated and unprovoked) 7
Dealing with Mentally Deranged 2
T r a f f i c P u r s u i t s and S t o p s 12
Total 99

25
T o d a y , o n l y t h e n a m e s a n d s o m e of t h e l a n g u a g e
a r e d i f f e r e n t , t h e o c c u p a t i o n of l a w e n f o r c e m e n t r e -
mains exactly the same. Throughout the country,
officers still are killed in bars, stores and h o m e s , on
s i d e w a l k s a n d h i g h w a y s , i n a l l e y s a n d g u t t e r s , pre-
d o m i n a n t l y b y g u n s . More than 70 per cent of the
time, the fatal confrontations erupt during so-called
"routine patrol, " a n d e s p e c i a l l y w h e n o f f i c e r s a r e :

attempting arrests
responding to d o m e s t i c disturbances
investigating robberies-in-progress, and
c o n d u c t i n g traffic pursuits and stops.
( T h e d e g r e e of d a n g e r w i t h i n t h e s e b r o a d
categories m a y vary w i t h c i r c u m s t a n c e s .
T h e d a n g e r of d o m e s t i c d i s t u r b a n c e s , for
e x a m p l e , tends to be h e i g h t e n e d w h e n only
o n e o f f i c e r is o n t h e s c e n e ; r o b b e r y - i n -
p r o g r e s s c a l l s a r e apt t o b e m o r e d a n g e r o u s
t o o f f i c e r s in c o n c e n t r a t e d u r b a n a r e a s t h a n
in rural areas, w h e r e the distance an officer
m u s t travel in responding often allows t h e
suspect t i m e to flee.)

No a s s i g n m e n t c a n b e c o n s i d e r e d " s a f e , " h o w -
e v e r . N o r c a n a n y t i m e , day, m o n t h or l o c a t i o n .
O f f i c e r s a r e k i l l e d i n d a y l i g h t , at n i g h t , o n w e e k e n d s
and w e e k d a y s , in w i n t e r and s u m m e r , inside police
s t a t i o n s , jails and judges' c h a m b e r s and o n the
p o r c h e s of t h e i r o w n h o u s e s , as w e l l i n t h e h e a r t of
h o s t i l e g h e t t o s . O n e i n n i n e of t h o s e w h o die are
o f f - d u t y at t h e t i m e t h e y a r e a t t a c k e d . O n c e y o u
c a r r y a b a d g e , y o u ' r e e x p o s e d t o t h e r i s k of a g u n -
f i g h t at all h o u r s , all p l a c e s , o n all d a y s , i n all s e a -
s o n s , a n d u n d e r all c i r c u m s t a n c e s j u s t as y o u r
counterparts were m o r e than a c e n t u r y ago, w h e n
t h e t a l l y of l i v e s l o s t b e g a n .
W h a t ' s e s p e c i a l l y d i s t u r b i n g is t h a t o f f i c e r s t o -
day still r e s e m b l e t h o s e f r o m t h e decade before t h e
C i v i l W a r i n a n o t h e r w a y : i n c r e d i b l y , they are
making the same tactical errors in regard to armed
confrontations. T h e s e persistent m i s t a k e s , in m o s t
c a s e s , are d i r e c t l y r e s p o n s i b l e for t h e t o l l of o f f i c e r
injuries and deaths.
A f t e r m o r e t h a n 1 0 0 y e a r s of c o n s i s t e n c y i n t h e
c i r c u m s t a n c e s a n d o u t c o m e s of o f f i c e r - i n v o l v e d
s h o o t i n g s , m a n y d e p a r t m e n t s are finally beginning
t o r e c o g n i z e t h e c o r e p r o b l e m : a large gap e x i s t s b e -
t w e e n t h e training m o s t officers receive in h o w to
d e f e n d t h e i r l i v e s a n d t h e k i n d s of c h a l l e n g e s t o t h e i r
defense they actually confront on the job. In short,
the patterns of instructions don't match the patterns
of encounter.
T h i s is n o w h e r e m o r e e v i d e n t o r m o r e i m p o r -
t a n t t h a n in t h e a r e a of f i r e a r m s .
M o s t initial recruit range training and subse-
q u e n t q u a l i f i c a t i o n r e q u i r e m e n t s , for e x a m p l e , f o c u s
o v e r w h e l m i n g l y on shooting stationary paper or
m e t a l t a r g e t s at a d i s t a n c e of 2 1 t o 1 5 0 f e e t . T h e
a c t i o n is s l o w a n d d e l i b e r a t e . T h e r a n g e m a s t e r h o l -
lers out a measured c o u n t d o w n : ' 'Ready on the right!
.. . R e a d y o n t h e l e f t ! . . . R e a d y o n t h e f i r i n g l i n e . . . F i r e ! ' '
Y o u c o n c e n t r a t e o n grip, s t a n c e , b r e a t h c o n t r o l ,
s i g h t a l i g n m e n t , trigger s q u e e z e a n d proper f o l l o w -
through. After shooting each round, you m a y be
told to re-holster your gun, and w h e n you reload,
y o u ' r e c a u t i o n e d t o d u m p y o u r b r a s s i n a b u c k e t or
p u t it i n y o u r p o c k e t t o k e e p t h e r a n g e t i d y . T h e r e ' s
u s u a l l y l i t t l e p r e s s u r e . . . t h e l i g h t ' s g o o d . . . a n d if y o u r
gun or a m m u n i t i o n m a l f u n c t i o n , you just s t i c k your
h a n d i n t h e air a n d c a l l t i m e - o u t .

28
B u t , r e a l l i f e - o r - d e a t h e p i s o d e s , as s u r v i v o r s
are q u i c k t o p o i n t o u t , are d r a s t i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t .
S h o o t - o u t s t e n d t o b e at c l o s e q u a r t e r s , q u i c k a n d
d a r k . Y o u r t a r g e t s h o o t s at you...and moves. While
y o u ' r e t r y i n g t o d u c k b u l l e t s , s e e h i m a n d fire b a c k ,
y o u m a y be s c r a m b l i n g for f o o t i n g o n i c e , t r y i n g t o
k e e p y o u r b a l a n c e o n a r i c k e t y fire e s c a p e , or f e n d i n g
off s t o n e s a n d b o t t l e s h u r l e d f r o m a n a n g r y c r o w d .
Your gun m a y be wobbling, because you're panting
a n d t r e m b l i n g f r o m t h e e x e r t i o n of a c h a s e . T o r e a c h
c o v e r , y o u m a y h a v e t o r o l l t h r o u g h a p a t c h of c a c -
t u s or o v e r b r o k e n g l a s s . Y o u m a y r u n o u t of a m m u -
nition before your assailant does, and w h i l e y o u ' r e
struggling to reload, he m a y rush you. Y o u m a y face
m u l t i p l e suspects in different l o c a t i o n s and w i t h
m o r e p o w e r f u l g u n s t h a n y o u r s , a l l f i r i n g at o n c e .
Y o u m a y b e c o m e wounded and start pumping blood.
O r at t h e s p l i t - s e c o n d y o u n e e d t o s h o o t t o s a v e y o u r
life, y o u r g u n m a y m a l f u n c t i o n .

F o r c e r t a i n , w h e n y o u are u n d e r s u d d e n s t r e s s
and fear, y o u r p u p i l s d i l a t i n g , y o u r h e a r t t h u m p i n g ,
your lungs heaving, your adrenalin surging, your
s t o m a c h a n d b o w e l s i n t u r m o i l , y o u r a b i l i t y t o dis-
t i n g u i s h t i m e , c o l o r s a n d d i s t a n c e d i m i n i s h e d , you
revert without thinking to the habits you have
learned in training. U n l e s s you have trained realis-
t i c a l l y , t h i s a l o n e m a y c o s t y o u y o u r l i f e . In a n o t o r -
ious highway patrol incident, four officers were
k i l l e d in a g u n f i g h t t h a t b r o k e o u t d u r i n g a f e l o n y
s t o p . A f t e r t h e s h o o t i n g w a s o v e r , o n e of t h e dead
officers, w h o had reloaded during t h e s h o o t - o u t ,
reportedly was found w i t h spent cartridges in his
pants p o c k e t s . U n d e r fire, he had u n c o n s c i o u s l y
t a k e n p r e c i o u s s e c o n d s t o do w h a t h e h a d l e a r n e d o n
the range: eject his e m p t i e s i n t o his p a l m and stuff
t h e m into his pocket before reloading live rounds.
T h e o f f i c e r w h o h a s h a d l i t t l e or n o t r a i n i n g or
h a s n o t r e c e n t l y u n d e r g o n e r e - t r a i n i n g is l i k e l y
under stress simply to panic. His behavior can b e
j u s t as t h r e a t e n i n g t o h i m s e l f a n d t o o t h e r i n n o c e n t
p a r t i e s as t h a t of t h e o f f i c e r w h o is i m p r o p e r l y
trained.
No one should underestimate the importance
t h a t t h e b a s i c f u n d a m e n t a l s of m a r k s m a n s h i p c a n
p l a y in a r m e d e n c o u n t e r s . B u t t h e y s h o u l d b e r e -
garded as t h e f o u n d a t i o n , n o t t h e f i n i s h e d p r o d u c t ,
of s u r v i v a l e x p e r t i s e . A n d t h e y s h o u l d b e u t t e r l y f r e e
of t h e p r a c t i c e s t h a t m a y b e c o n v e n i e n t t o t h e r a n g e
staff, b u t j e o p a r d i z i n g t o t h e o f f i c e r s i n w h o m t h e y
h a v e b e c o m e i n g r a i n e d ( s u c h as p u t t i n g e m p t y s h e l l
cases in your pocket to avoid cluttering up t h e
grass).
Some agencies have modernized their firearms
training to include i n s t i n c t shooting, dim-light
firing, s t r e s s c o u r s e s a n d c l o s e , m u l t i p l e a n d m o v i n g
targets in s i m u l a t e d street s i t u a t i o n s . S o m e , in
doing so, have been startled to discover that officers
w h o have b e e n w i n n i n g target shooting trophies
o f t e n are u n a b l e t o h i t " c o m b a t " t a r g e t s at 8 t o 10
f e e t , p a r t i c u l a r l y w h e n t h e t a r g e t s are m o v i n g . I n
m o s t jurisdictions, however, range facilities remain
inadequate, instruction m i n i m a l and the techniques
c o n v e y e d t o o o u t m o d e d or u n r e a l i s t i c for p r a c t i c a l
application.
A s a b e g i n n i n g for y o u r s u r v i v a l a w a r e n e s s , y o u
need to k n o w just w h a t factors y o u are l i k e l y to have
to deal w i t h in a real shooting situation. Y o u m a y
f i n d it s o b e r i n g t o c o m p a r e t h e t r a i n i n g y o u h a v e r e -
c e i v e d t o d a t e w i t h t h e s e s t a t i s t i c a l p r o b a b i l i t i e s of
t h e s t r e e t . Y o u m a y agree w i t h o n e o f f i c e r w h o
assessed his formal instruction this way: " I t seems
like t h e y give y o u a b o w and arrow and send y o u
o u t t h e r e t o do y o u r j o b . "

Patterns of Encounter
N o t w o s h o o t i n g c o n f r o n t a t i o n s are e v e r e x a c t l y
alike, but over the years records have been kept,
certain recurring patterns have been identified. Of
c o u r s e , o n e s h o u l d a l w a y s t r a i n for t h e e x c e p t i o n as
well as the rule. But w h e r e traditional firearms
i n s t r u c t i o n f a l l s s h o r t is i n p r e p a r i n g i t s t r a i n e e s
only f o r t h e e x c e p t i o n s a s s o m e of t h e s e r e a l i t i e s
indicate:

Distance: W h i l e m o s t range practice involves


t a r g e t s s e t at 7 t o 5 0 y a r d s , s p a n s of less than 7 yards
e x i s t b e t w e e n o f f i c e r s a n d s u s p e c t s in a l m o s t 8 5 per
cent of a c t u a l s h o o t - o u t s . W h e n o f f i c e r s are k i l l e d ,
t h e y a r e o n l y 0 t o 10 f e e t f r o m t h e i r a s s a i l a n t s i n
t h e v a s t m a j o r i t y of c a s e s ; h a l f a r e 5 f e e t or l e s s ,
1

close enough m a n y t i m e s to t o u c h e a c h other. Of


t h e m o r e t h a n 2 5 0 officer deaths recorded in N e w
Y o r k C i t y s i n c e 1 8 5 4 , in o n l y one did t h e s u s p e c t
s h o o t f r o m m o r e t h a n 2 0 f e e t a w a y . Y e t , 2 1 f e e t is
t h e d i s t a n c e at w h i c h m o s t r a n g e t r a i n i n g s t a r t s a n d
it l e n g t h e n s f r o m t h e r e . T h a t c o n d i t i o n s y o u t o
t h i n k i n t e r m s of r e l a t i v e l y v a s t s p a t i a l r e l a t i o n -
s h i p s , w h e n y o u s h o u l d b e t h i n k i n g a n d prepar-
i n g f o r close q u a r t e r s . T h e s u s p e c t w h o s h o o t s at
y o u is l i k e l y t o b e l e s s t h a n h a l f t h e l e n g t h of y o u r
p a t r o l c a r , or t h e l e n g t h of y o u r a r m , a w a y .

Light: I n c o n t r a s t t o t h e t y p i c a l s u n n y or
b r i g h t l y l i g h t e d r a n g e , m o r e t h a n t w o o u t of t h r e e
f a t a l o f f i c e r s h o o t i n g s o c c u r d u r i n g t h e h o u r s of

1 FBI " L a w Enforcement Officers Killed" Summaries.


d a r k n e s s or i n l o c a t i o n s w h e r e t h e l i g h t is v e r y d i m ,
like hallways, bars, w a r e h o u s e s and b a s e m e n t s .
O u t s i d e y o u m a y h a v e o n l y t h e l i g h t of s t a r s or t h e
m o o n , or a s t r e e t l a m p h a l f a b l o c k a w a y . T h e l i g h t
m a y be so p o o r t h a t y o u w o n ' t b e a b l e t o s e e t h e
sights on your gun w h e n you need to return fire.

Time: T h e t i m e you t a k e to position yourself


o n t h e r a n g e is p r o b a b l y l o n g e r t h a n m o s t g u n f i g h t s
l a s t . C o n f r o n t a t i o n s are s u d d e n a f f a i r s , o v e r in 2 to 3
seconds, in t h e m a j o r i t y of c a s e s . A l m o s t n e v e r is
there t i m e to c o c k your gun, stand in profile, and
t a k e c a r e f u l a i m at y o u r t a r g e t . Y o u a n d t h e s u s p e c t
t o g e t h e r are n o t l i k e l y t o fire m o r e t h a n a t o t a l of 3
s h o t s , w h e t h e r t h e s i t u a t i o n is a n a m b u s h , a n a r m e d
r o b b e r y or a f a m i l y f i g h t . In t h e m a j o r i t y of c a s e s ,
2

t h e i n i t i a l e x c h a n g e of fire w i l l d e t e r m i n e t h e o u t -
c o m e . T h e s p e e d w i t h w h i c h y o u c a n r e a c t t o dan-
ger, t h e r e f o r e , is l i k e l y t o b e a m o r e c r i t i c a l c o m m o d - The scene of a gunfight. Two suspects
i t y t h a n t h e a m o u n t of a m m u n i t i o n y o u h a v e at are dead after wounding a police officer.
your disposal. Y o u probably carry m o r e a m m u n i t i o n A short distance away the officer re-
t h a n y o u ' l l e v e r n e e d , b u t t i m e is a l m o s t always in ceives assistance from fellow officers.
short supply. Note the presence of civilians, location,
distance between subjects, and the
1-"Carrying Duty A m m o for R e v o l v e r s , " by Ed Lovette, N e w Mexico Law- outcome.
man, January, 1977.

31
Location: Officer-involved shootings occur-
ring o u t d o o r s o u t n u m b e r t h o s e i n s i d e b y 2Vi t o l . 3

W h e n t h e s u s p e c t is w i t h i n a b u i l d i n g of s o m e s o r t ,
y o u m a y have t i m e to c o n t a i n h i m and to plan and
get assistance. But outside, fast, positive action m a y
b e d e m a n d e d t o p r e v e n t h i s e s c a p e or t o s a v e y o u r
life and o t h e r s . T h e m a j o r i t y of outdoor c o n f r o n t a -
t i o n s o c c u r o n s t r e e t s a n d s i d e w a l k s or i n a l l e y s or
yards. T h a t can m e a n passing m o t o r i s t s , shoppers,
kids playing, people leaning from w i n d o w s . . . a s well
as f e l l o w o f f i c e r s or h o s t a g e s i n t h e i m m e d i a t e v i c i n -
ity. Rigid safety rules protect everyone on the range,
but in real life, your assailant will likely s h o o t w i t h
t o t a l d i s r e g a r d for b y s t a n d e r s ' w e l f a r e . Y o u r r e t u r n
fire, o n t h e other h a n d , will h a v e to safely a c c o m m o -
d a t e t h e i r p r e s e n c e b e c a u s e you w i l l b e h e l d l e g a l l y
r e s p o n s i b l e for w h e r e v e r y o u r b u l l e t s i m p a c t , e v e n
several t h o u s a n d yards d o w n range.

Assailants: O n the range, you typically shoot


at o n e s t a t i o n a r y t a r g e t at a t i m e . A t l e a s t f o u r o u t
of t e n g u n f i g h t s , h o w e v e r , i n v o l v e m o r e t h a n o n e
a s s a i l a n t . I t ' s i n c r e a s i n g l y c o m m o n t h e s e d a y s for
a r m e d robbers and other c r i m i n a l s to e m p l o y back-
up m e n . O f t e n t h e s e i n d i v i d u a l s a r e n o t r e a d i l y
i d e n t i f i a b l e as s u s p e c t s a n d m a y e s c a p e y o u r n o t i c e
until they open fire. Y o u m a y find t h e m positioned
at d i f f e r e n t h e i g h t s t h a n y o u a r e , at d i f f e r e n t dis-
t a n c e s a w a y , a n d at d i f f e r e n t a n g l e s t o y o u , a n d t h e y
are q u i t e l i k e l y t o be m o v i n g , t h e r e b y c o m p l i c a t i n g
your return-fire capabilities.

Weapons: T h e r e are n o c o u n t e r - w e a p o n s on
t h e a v e r a g e r a n g e ; t h e t a r g e t t a k e s y o u r fire a n d
never responds. O n the street, your targets not only
fire b a c k , b u t t h e y g e n e r a l l y f i r e fiist...and their
g u n s m a y b e b a l l i s t i c a l l y s u p e r i o r . O n e s u r v e y indi-
c a t e s t h a t a b o u t 15 p e r c e n t of t h e s u s p e c t s w h o
s h o o t at p o l i c e u s e s h o t g u n s or r i f l e s , w h e r e a s f e w e r
t h a n 5 p e r c e n t of t h e o f f i c e r s i n v o l v e d h a v e t h e s e
w e a p o n s in h a n d . O f officers w h o are killed, h o w -
4

e v e r , s e v e n o u t of t e n die f r o m handgun wounds.


M o r e t h a n 8 0 per c e n t of t h e g u n s u s e d i n t h e s e
a s s a u l t s a r e t h e s a m e c a l i b e r as t h e o f f i c e r ' s or s m a l l -
e r . M a n y h a v e b e e n s t o l e n , e i t h e r b u r g l a r i z e d or
bought f r o m fences. M i l i t a r y and high-quality law
enforcement weapons with armor-piercing rounds
are easily available to c r i m i n a l s f r o m illegal s o u r c e s .
In s o m e cases, c r i m i n a l ingenuity can m a k e a stand-
ard w e a p o n m o r e h a z a r d o u s . (In T e n n e s s e e , a s u s -
pect loaded shotgun shells w i t h d i m e s to produce a
d e a d l i e r i m p a c t at c l o s e r a n g e . ) F r o m y o u r p o i n t of

- Target Blue, Robert Daley, Dell Publishing Company, 1978.


3

4 " A n a l y s i s of Police C o m b a t S i t u a t i o n s , " New York City Police Depart-


ment, 1974.
v i e w , the most dangerous gun is still the .38 Special
revolver. 5
S u s p e c t s favor it, s t a t i s t i c a l l y , o v e r a l l
o t h e r s . O t h e r s m o s t c o m m o n l y i n v o l v e d are . 2 5
cal., .32 cal. and .357 M a g n u m in t h a t descending
order. In a b o u t 2 0 p e r c e n t of t h e c a s e s , t h e g u n u s e d
t o k i l l a n o f f i c e r is h i s own s e r v i c e f i r e a r m , w r e s t e d
6

f r o m h i s h a n d or h i s h o l s t e r b y h i s w o u l d - b e target
and t u r n e d a g a i n s t h i m a n o t h e r p r o b l e m t o t a l l y
foreign f r o m r a n g e t r a i n i n g . W h a t e v e r w e a p o n is
used, t h e suspect in m o s t cases will i n s t i n c t i v e l y
fire it d o u b l e - a c t i o n . T h i s c a n g i v e a n a s s a i l a n t a n
a d d i t i o n a l edge, e s p e c i a l l y w h e n , as s o m e t i m e s h a p -
pens, the v i c t i m officer, under stress, reverts to the
s l o w e r , r e c r u i t r a n g e - i n s t i l l e d h a b i t of f i r i n g s i n g l e -
action.

5 FBI " L a w Enforcement Officers Killed S u m m a r y , " 1977.


^"Revolver Retention for Law Enforcement Officers," Kansas City (MO)
Police Department, 1976.

38 cal. S&W Military and Police Model


with a tragic history. The offender
disarmed one officer to steal it, then
used it months later to kill another
officer. Between incidents the barrel
was cut down, for better concealment.

Even cap guns have been used to draw


down on police. In some cases, toy guns
have been made operable and used in
robberies.
Guns found in a car which was stopped
for having homemade cardboard license
plates. Some of these guns were used
by the four occupants, who had recently
killed an officer in another state.

Long guns confiscated by police after


being used in various robberies and
assaults in a middle-class suburb of
80,000.

Firearms are often stolen prior to armed


confrontations. This collection, plus
ammunition, was seized in a "routine"
drug raid.

34
Suspects Who Shoot
J u s t as p u n c h i n g paper t a r g e t s f a i l s t o r e f l e c t t h e
weaponry and m o s t other c o n f r o n t a t i o n parameters,
c l a s s r o o m p r e s e n t a t i o n s and l o c k e r r o o m w a r s t o r i e s
m a y , in equal m e a s u r e , fail to prepare you for the
m e n and w o m e n w h o stand behind the revolvers,
the s e m i - a u t o m a t i c s , the rifles, the shotguns, the
machine-guns, the pen guns, the pellet guns, the
zip g u n s , a n d t h e G o d - k n o w s - w h a t - y o u ' d - c a l l - ' e m
h o m e m a d e guns that you m a y confront on the
street. Yet, because they usually dictate the critical
factors in a s h o o t i n g l i k e t i m e , distance and loca-
t i o n u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e i r p e r s p e c t i v e is c r u c i a l .
Once you confront a suspect who has a gun, the
odds are better than 40-60 that he will shoot at you
and m o s t p r o b a b l y fire t h e f i r s t r o u n d . H e m a y do s o
o u t of p a n i c , d e s p e r a t i o n , c o n f u s i o n , a n g e r , f e a r ,
derangement, exasperation, revenge, intoxication,
h a l l u c i n a t i o n , p o l i t i c a l z e a l or s u i c i d a l y e a r n i n g . B u t
the fact remains that, whatever the motivation, a
s i z e a b l e p r o p o r t i o n of s u s p e c t s w i t h g u n s are n o t
i n t i m i d a t e d j u s t b e c a u s e y o u are a n o f f i c e r . I n d e e d ,
it m a y b e t h a t v e r y s t a t u s t h a t i m p e l s t h e m t o f i r e
especially w h e n you stand b e t w e e n t h e m and es-
cape.
A t s o m e l e v e l , of c o u r s e , e v e n if i t ' s s u b c o n -
scious, an armed suspect faced w i t h your p r e s e n c e
m u s t decide w h e t h e r to run, surrender or shoot;
f e w , if a n y , a r e forced t o fire o n p o l i c e . A g a i n , as
w i t h t h e e l e m e n t s of c o n f r o n t a t i o n , n o a b s o l u t e s
c a n b e d r a w n , a n d i t ' s r i s k y n o t t o a l l o w for t h e
m a n y e x c e p t i o n s . B u t c e r t a i n patterns are evident
a m o n g those w h o c h o o s e to squeeze the trigger.
Of suspects w h o kill officers, better than 9 6
per c e n t a r e m a l e , n e a r l y h a l f n a t i o n w i d e are b l a c k
( m u c h higher in s o m e urban areas), m o s t are under
3 0 . ( T h i s is n o t t o s a y , of c o u r s e , t h a t w o m e n a n d
7

children, C a u c a s i a n s and the elderly can be ruled


o u t as d a n g e r o u s s u s p e c t s . I n d i v i d u a l s i n t h e s e
groups a t t a c k l a w e n f o r c e m e n t o f f i c e r s , t o o o f t e n
with the greatest a m o u n t of surprise.) Suspects
u n d e r 2 1 and t h o s e w h o are b l a c k a r e l i k e l i e s t t o
c o n f r o n t o f f i c e r s w h i l e i n t h e c o m p a n y of o t h e r s ,
while those over 3 0 and w h i t e tend to act a l o n e . 8

L i k e y o u , t h e a v e r a g e a s s a i l a n t is a p r o . O v e r 6 0
per c e n t h a v e b e e n a r r e s t e d b e f o r e o n c r i m i n a l c h a r g -
e s , a b o u t 4 0 p e r c e n t for a v i o l e n t c r i m e m u r d e r ,
rape, r o b b e r y or a s s a u l t . A s i z e a b l e p e r c e n t a g e h a v e
been granted l e n i e n c y on a previous c o n v i c t i o n and
are on p r o b a t i o n or p a r o l e at t h e t i m e of t h e s h o o t -
ing.

7 FBI " L a w Enforcement Officers Killed" Summaries.


&Shots Fired: An Examination of New York City Police Firearms Dis-
charges, James Fyfe, 1978.
This single-shot [.12 ga.) pipe gun loads
with a bolt action mechanism. This
10 inch gun was taken off a juvenile
suspect during an arrest.

Concealed lethal weapons are a constant


threat to any officer. This converted
cigaret lighter can fire either a . 22
short or .22 long when breach-loaded.

A .22 pistol, custom made from alumi-


num. Do you think the creator of this
gun was capable of shooting an officer!

M o s t are n o t t r a i n e d m a r k s m e n , b u t s o m e h a v e
p r a c t i c e d w i t h f i r e a r m s much m o r e t h a n y o u prob-
a b l y h a v e if y o u are a n a v e r a g e o f f i c e r . A m o n g t h e
c r i m i n a l g r o u p , e s p e c i a l l y , m a n y are a l s o a s t u t e s t u -
d e n t s of p o l i c e t a c t i c s . In p r i s o n s , t h e y m a y t a l k
p o l i c e t a c t i c s 2 4 h o u r s a d a y a n d t h e y a r e sur-
r o u n d e d b y " e x p e r t s . " It is n o t u n c o m m o n for i n -
m a t e s to hold informal seminars on police ma-
n e u v e r s h o w you exit patrol cars, h o w you approach
t r a f f i c s t o p s , h o w y o u c o m m u n i c a t e w i t h y o u r part-
ner, h o w you handle w e a p o n s , e t c . And in t h e rec-
reation yard, i n m a t e s often practice a m o n g t h e m -
s e l v e s w a y s t o d i s a r m and m u r d e r o f f i c e r s . S o m e
h a v e b e e n t r a i n e d i n m a r t i a l a r t s , s u c h as k a r a t e and
judo. W h i l e " t h e s e guys are n o t R h o d e s S c h o l a r s "
(in t h e w o r d s of a R h o d e I s l a n d p o l i c e c a p t a i n ) , m o s t
do h a v e a p r e - a r r a n g e d p l a n , h o w e v e r c r u d e , of w h a t
t h e y w i l l do if c o n f r o n t e d b y t h e p o l i c e .

36
W h e n t h e y s h o o t as part of t h a t p l a n , t h e y a r e
l i k e l y t o do s o w i t h o u t v a c i l l a t i o n or r e m o r s e . T h e i r
a t t i t u d e m i r r o r s t h a t of a n A r i z o n a c o p k i l l e r : " A l l I
f e l t w a s t h e r e c o i l of t h e g u n . " T o m a n y o f f i c e r s ,
especially those with limited experience on the
s t r e e t , t h i s k i n d of i c y s a v a g e r y is o n e of t h e h a r d e s t
e l e m e n t s of a r m e d c o n f r o n t a t i o n s t o i n t e r n a l i z e . I t ' s
h u m a n nature to expect s o m e rationality and c o m -
p a s s i o n f r o m a n o t h e r h u m a n b e i n g . B u t as a n I l l i -
n o i s prison official explained after i n m a t e s cold-
b l o o d e d l y m u r d e r e d t h r e e g u a r d s at a c o r r e c t i o n a l
f a c i l i t y i n t h a t s t a t e : " T h e t r u t h is t h e r e a r e a l o t of
people w h o are just v i c i o u s . T h e y d o n ' t have to have
any cause to k i l l . "
Often, suspects who will take you on c o m e
f r o m e l e m e n t s of s o c i e t y w h e r e t h e c u l t u r a l n o r m is
to resent and defy a u t h o r i t y . F r o m childhood on, in
their h o m e s , in their schools, in their gangs, in their
fragmented personal relationships, their principal
m e a n s of c o m m u n i c a t i o n h a s b e e n v i o l e n c e .
In a c o n f r o n t a t i o n , m o s t w o u l d - b e a s s a i l a n t s
know y o u w o n ' t s h o o t f i r s t i n a l l b u t t h e r a r e s t
s i t u a t i o n s . Faced w i t h arrest and a possible prison
term, the suspect m a y feel he has nothing to lose
b y s h o o t i n g it o u t . Y e t h e k n o w s y o u are a r m e d a n d
u s u a l l y p r e s u m e s y o u are t r a i n e d . P s y c h o l o g i c a l l y ,
h e m a y e x p e c t t o get s h o t , t o die, as a n a t u r a l r i s k
of h i s l i f e s t y l e . A n d w h e n h e m a k e s t h e d e c i s i o n t o
p u l l t h e trigger, h e ' s t h i n k i n g o n l y of h i m s e l f at
t h a t m o m e n t . H e h a s o n e o b j e c t i v e o n l y : t o get o n
t a r g e t as f a s t as p o s s i b l e a n d b l o w " t h a t c o p " o u t
of h i s s o c k s .

This man held police at bay formoie


than three hours. Despondent over
domestic problems, he fired at police
with this revolver, and was also armed
with five other guns and 200 rounds
of ammunition.
Officer Attitudes
W h i l e the suspect's background and despera-
tion m a y be bolstering his instinct to shoot, a host
of c o n s t r a i n t s are l i k e l y c o n s p i r i n g t o delay your
reaction. As you perceive his threat and begin to
react, your m i n d m a y flash to your f a m i l y . . . t o your
p a r t n e r . . . t o b y s t a n d e r s . Y o u m a y , if o n l y for a s p l i t -
s e c o n d , w o n d e r if s h o o t i n g b a c k w i l l c o n f o r m t o
y o u r d e p a r t m e n t ' s p o l i c y o n t h e u s e of d e a d l y
f o r c e . . . w h e t h e r y o u c a n j u s t i f y it i n a r e p o r t t o y o u r
s u p e r i o r s . . . w h e t h e r your a c t i o n will be sustained in
t h e j u d g m e n t of a s h o o t i n g r e v i e w b o a r d , m o n t h s
l a t e r , in a s t e r i l e e n v i r o n m e n t w h e r e t h e u r g e n c y of
the m o m e n t can never be recreated.
N a t i o n w i d e , 9 2 p e r c e n t of s h o o t i n g s b y p o l i c e
are l a t e r r u l e d j u s t i f i e d , w i t h n o r e p r i m a n d or s u s -
p e n s i o n ; usually unbiased w i t n e s s e s are around and
9

can help clear the officer involved. O n l y a tiny


f r a c t i o n of s u s p e c t s h o o t i n g s a r e e v e r r e f e r r e d for
c r i m i n a l prosecution, and in a s m a l l e r fraction still
do j u r i e s c o n v i c t o n l y 3 o u t of 1 , 5 0 0 c a s e s i n o n e
survey. But you k n o w that very specific rules exist,
b y l a w a n d d e p a r t m e n t p o l i c y , f o r t h e u s e of d e a d l y
f o r c e , a n d , if y o u are l i k e m o s t o f f i c e r s , a d o u b t f u l
hesitation will affect your reaction.
R u l e s a s i d e , y o u m a y n o t want t o s h o o t . M a n y
officers opt n o t to even w h e n t h e y h a v e a clear right
t o do s o . In C h i c a g o , a n e x - c o n v i c t , m i f f e d b e c a u s e
the police had not recovered a car h e c l a i m e d was
s t o l e n f r o m h i m , i n v a d e d a p o l i c e s t a t i o n and w i t h -
out warning began firing a gun, seriously w o u n d i n g
t w o o f f i c e r s . A p a t r o l m a n in a p o s i t i o n t o s h o o t
b a c k c h o s e i n s t e a d t o tackle the assailant, even
t h o u g h h e h i m s e l f h a d d u c k e d t h r e e of t h e m a n ' s
b u l l e t s . In o n e e a s t e r n c a s e , a p a t r o l m a n w a s dis-
a r m e d b y a m a n w h o t h e n s h o t at h i m , b u t m i s s e d .
T h e officer wrestled h i m to the ground, and by k i c k -
ing h i m a n d b i t i n g h i s f a c e , f i n a l l y g o t t h e g u n b a c k .
" I really w a n t e d to kill h i m , " the officer said later,
" I did, b u t I c o u l d n ' t s h o o t . I s m a s h e d h i m w i t h t h e
butt i n s t e a d . " Even w i t h their o w n lives in jeop-
ardy, a m o r a l r e p u g n a n c e t o w a r d k i l l i n g k e p t t h e s e
officers f r o m using their sidearms.
O n e l i m i t e d s t u d y h a s s u g g e s t e d t h a t t h e s e x of
your partner m a y influence your reaction. T h e evi-
dence suggests that m a l e officers w i t h m a l e partners
g e n e r a l l y are m o r e r e l u c t a n t t o u s e t h e i r g u n s a n d a r e
g u i l t y of m o r e m i s t a k e s in c l e a r l y p e r c e i v i n g d a n g e r
a n d r e a c t i n g t o it t h a n are m a l e o f f i c e r s w i t h f e m a l e
p a r t n e r s . S p e c u l a t i o n is t h a t m a l e - f e m a l e t e a m s
tend to experience m o r e s u b c o n s c i o u s e m o t i o n a l

^Police Use of Deadly Force, Catherine Milton, Police Foundation, 1977


a r o u s a l as t h e y w o r k a n d t h u s are m o r e a t t u n e d t o
picking up subtle clues to danger in their environ-
ment. 1 0

In s o m e cases, your decision to shoot m a y be


colored by an a c q u a i n t a n c e s h i p w i t h t h e suspect. In
a b o u t 2 7 p e r c e n t of t h e i n s t a n c e s n a t i o n a l l y w h e r e
officers are killed, they k n o w their a s s a i l a n t s . In
1 1

such c i r c u m s t a n c e s , you m a y be t e m p t e d to relax


y o u r v i g i l a n c e a n d n o t t a k e c o v e r e v e n if y o u see h e
is a r m e d . If y o u ' v e h a d p r e v i o u s e n c o u n t e r s w i t h t h e
s u s p e c t t h a t w e r e n o n - v i o l e n t or i n w h i c h y o u ' v e
b e e n a b l e t o t a l k h i m o u t of d r a s t i c a c t i o n , y o u m a y
e n t e r t a i n u n w a r r a n t e d hope for " r e a s o n i n g " t h e
confrontation to conclusion rather than shooting
it o u t .
Probably your greatest a t t i t u d i n a l e n e m y in a
c o n f r o n t a t i o n , h o w e v e r , is oveiconfidence. You've
b e e n s u c c e s s f u l or l u c k y e n o u g h t o a v o i d i n j u r y i n
so m a n y s i t u a t i o n s that y o u begin to believe you
will never be unsuccessful. Moreover, through
m o v i e s , television and an enduring cultural m y t h ,
y o u ' v e b e e n b o m b a r d e d all y o u r l i f e w i t h t h e c o n -
c e p t of t h e l a w m a n as a n i n v u l n e r a b l e s u p e r - h e r o ,
c a p a b l e of " w a l k i n g t a l l " t h r o u g h a n y c h a l l e n g e
that c o m e s his way, with never a thought even to
the possibility h e m i g h t die. In w e s t e r n s , the image
is t h a t of D o d g e C i t y , w h e r e " y o u c a n ' t b e a m a r s h a l
u n t i l y o u ride a w i l d h o r s e b a r e b a c k w i t h a b a r b e d -
w i r e b r i d l e at f u l l g a l l o p w i t h a t i n c u p of red w h i s -
k e y in your left hand, rope a jackrabbit w i t h your
r i g h t h a n d , a n d d o n ' t spill a d r o p . " I n t h e c o p t e l e -
v i s i o n s h o w s , t h e l e g e n d is u p d a t e d w i t h c u s t o m -
i z e d M a g n u m s a n d s e m i - a u t o m a t i c s a n d a n end-
l e s s s u p p l y of b a c k - u p g u n s .
If y o u b u y i n t o t h i s s e l f - i m a g e a n d p l e n t y of
officers d o y o u ' r e said to suffer the " S u p e r m a n
s y n d r o m e . " Y o u believe that simply by m a k i n g a
c o m m i t m e n t , b y p u t t i n g y o u r b o d y o n t h e l i n e and
" h a n g i n g t o u g h , " y o u can face d o w n any danger
t h a t t h r e a t e n s ; i t ' s a m a t t e r of w i l l a n d b r a v a d o o v e r
a l l . O f c o u r s e , t o b e a " g o o d c o p , " y o u m u s t , of
necessity, be aggressive; taking c h a n c e s , playing
h u n c h e s a n d so o n a r e all part of t h e g a m e . B u t w h e n
y o u add t h e e l e m e n t s of f o o l i s h n e s s or r e c k l e s s n e s s
to your aggressive c o n d u c t , t h e n y o u fall prey to t h e
w o r s t a s p e c t of t h i s u n f o r t u n a t e s y n d r o m e .
A real-lifeor m o r e appropriately, real-death
i l l u s t r a t i o n is p r o v i d e d b y t h e m i d d l e - a g e d M a s s a -
chusetts detective w h o responded to a silent alarm
at a l o c a l c l u b . T w o u n i f o r m e d o f f i c e r s h a d b e a t e n
h i m to t h e place, seen that a robbery w a s in progress

1 0 . " T h e Effect of Female Partners on Male Police Shooting Responses,"


Christina |ohns and Andrew Barclay, Michigan State University, 1 9 7 8 .
11 FBI " L a w Enforcement Officers Killed" Summaries.
and p r o p e r l y s t a t i o n e d t h e m s e l v e s o u t s i d e t o a w a i t
assistance. W h e n the detective arrived, they warned
h i m t h a t o n e s u b j e c t w a s a r m e d w i t h a . 1 6 ga.
s h o t g u n . B u t h e shrugged off t h e i r c a u t i o n i n g a n d
brazenly headed into the building. H e n o sooner set
foot inside t h e club than he was fatally shot in t h e
face.
S u c h a n a t t i t u d e invites hostile fire. And w h e n
it c o m e s , t h e S u p e r m a n t y p e , w h o t y p i c a l l y h a s
underestimated the adversary, m a y freeze up, n o t
knowing w h a t to do. C h a n c e s are h e ' s under-
t r a i n e d , as w e l l as o v e r c o n f i d e n t . S u c h o f f i c e r s t y p i -
c a l l y " q u a l i f y " i n t h e u s e of f i r e a r m s o n l y b e c a u s e
of d e p a r t m e n t orders r e q u i r i n g t h e m t o do s o n o t
b e c a u s e t h e y f e e l it n e c e s s a r y for t h e i r o w n p r o t e c -
t i o n or t o e n a b l e t h e m t o do a b e t t e r j o b . T h e y do vir-
tually n o training voluntarily. According to an FBI
s t u d y , n e a r l y 4 0 per c e n t of t h e o f f i c e r s k i l l e d d u r i n g
o n e r e v i e w p e r i o d had n o t r e c e i v e d any i n - s e r v i c e
f i r e a r m s t r a i n i n g at a l l for at l e a s t t h r e e y e a r s b e f o r e
getting shot.
E v e n if y o u ' r e r e l a t i v e l y f r e e of c o m p l a c e n c y
a n d of t h e S u p e r m a n s y n d r o m e , c h a n c e s a r e y o u ' v e
b e e n affected enough by these i n f l u e n c e s to be star-
t l e d at b e i n g s h o t . I n c o n t r a s t t o m a n y s u s p e c t s ,
m o s t o f f i c e r s s u b c o n s c i o u s l y don't expect ever to
get s h o t ; i n o u r m y t h o l o g y , " g o o d " g u y s r a r e l y d o .
Wounded, more than one officer has gone into im-
m e d i a t e t r a u m a t i c s h o c k and died. O f t h o s e w h o
m a n a g e to shoot b a c k and actually h i t their assail-
ants, m o r e t h a n 70 per c e n t fail to inflict neutraliz-
ing w o u n d s . E i t h e r t h e y d o n ' t k n o w w h e r e t o s h o o t
t o i n f l i c t w o u n d s c a p a b l e of s t o p p i n g t h e i r o p p o -
n e n t s ' i l l e g a l a c t i o n s , or t h e y a r e n ' t p r o f i c i e n t
enough to deliver shots to that area.
S t a t i s t i c a l l y , j u s t as a s s a i l a n t s t e n d t o r e f l e c t
c e r t a i n b a c k g r o u n d s , s o do t h e o f f i c e r s w h o t a k e
t h e i r r o u n d s . O v e r w h e l m i n g l y , o f f i c e r s k i l l e d are
w h i t e , m a l e , of p a t r o l s t a t u s ( 6 6 p e r c e n t ) , i n u n i -
form, assigned to a patrol car, and w o r k i n g w i t h a
p a r t n e r or b a c k - u p in r u r a l or s u b u r b a n a r e a s or i n
cities under 2 5 0 , 0 0 0 population.
M o r e t h a n 6 0 per c e n t a r e f r o m 2 5 t o 4 0 y e a r s
old, a n d t h e y h a v e a m e d i a n of f i v e y e a r s of s e r v i c e
at t h e t i m e of t h e c o n f r o n t a t i o n . O n e m i g h t e x p e c t
the least experienced officers to be the m o s t vul-
n e r a b l e , y e t o n l y a b o u t 1 3 per c e n t h a v e l e s s t h a n a
year's s e r v i c e . 1 2

Here again, attitude s e e m s to have a bearing.


As a n e w officer, you m a y n o t e x p e r i e n c e so m a n y
f a l s e a l a r m s t h a t y o u d e v e l o p c a s u a l p a t t e r n s for
responding to calls w i t h i n your first year. As you
head toward the five-year mark, though, you're
likelier to feel you k n o w and have seen everything,
you m a y begin to s u c c u m b to peer pressure to be
b l a s e . Y o u m a y d i s c a r d or f o r g e t or d i s m i s s w h a t y o u
k n e w a b o u t s u r v i v a l a n d m a k e n o e f f o r t t o l e a r n or
p r a c t i c e a n y t h i n g n e w . T o t h e s u s p e c t w h o ' s pre-
pared and willing to s h o o t , y o u m a y t h e n be a sitting
duck.

The Survival State of Mind


T h e f i r s t s t e p i n s u r v i v i n g o n t h e s t r e e t is t o
a d j u s t y o u r m e n t a l a t t i t u d e s , i n l i g h t of t h e c o m m o n
p a t t e r n s of e n c o u n t e r a n d t h e p e r s p e c t i v e s b o t h y o u
and the s u s p e c t are l i k e l y to bring to a c o n f r o n t a -
tion. T h i s involves reminding yourself repeatedly
that:
1. l a w e n f o r c e m e n t is a h a z a r d o u s o c c u p a -
t i o n , d e m a n d i n g y o u r c o n s t a n t vigilance,-

12.FBI " L a w Enforcement Officers Killed" Summaries.


2. a suspect's background, attitudes, motiva-
t i o n , w i l l i n g n e s s to r e a s o n a n d i n c l i n a t i o n
to shoot m a y be quite different from your
own;
3. t h e r e are l e g a l , m o r a l , a n d p s y c h o l o g i c a l
i m p l i c a t i o n s of s h o o t i n g t h a t m u s t b e a n t i -
c i p a t e d a n d p e r s o n a l l y r e s o l v e d before a
confrontation,-
4. it m a y b e n e c e s s a r y at a n y t i m e t o t a k e a
l i f e t o save y o u r o w n or s o m e o n e e l s e ' s ;
5. practical proficiency with firearms includes
l e a r n i n g and p r a c t i c i n g n e w t e c h n i q u e s
u n d e r s t r e s s i n as r e a l i s t i c a n e n v i r o n m e n t
as is p o s s i b l e t o s i m u l a t e , a n d
6. w i t h preparedness, preplanning and proper
p h y s i c a l f i t n e s s , y o u c a n a v o i d m i s t a k e s of
less fortunate officers and successfully con-
clude most suspect encounters.

N o w l e t ' s l o o k at t h e t a c t i c a l p r o c e d u r e s t a i -
lored t o t h e r e a l i t i e s of c o n f r o n t a t i o n b y w h i c h y o u
can project these attitudes into an effective defense
system.
Three officers and two priests trying
to talk a would-be suicide victim into
surrendering the gun in his hand. How
would you evaluate their perception
of potential danger!

44
APPROACH TO
DANGER
T o w a i t u n t i l y o u n e e d t o d r a w a n d fire y o u r g u n
t o t h i n k a b o u t s u r v i v a l t a c t i c s is l i k e w a i t i n g u n t i l
you're coughing up blood to t h i n k about annual phy-
sical c h e c k u p s . Y o u should have survival in your
conscious thoughts the m o m e n t you receive an as-
s i g n m e n t , for t h e m o v e s y o u m a k e at t h e o u t s e t m a y
directly affect the o u t c o m e . By properly planning
y o u r a p p r o a c h t o a c a l l , y o u m a y b e a b l e t o prevent a
s h o o t i n g f r o m o c c u r r i n g . O r , if t h a t p r o v e s i m p o s s i -
ble, you will h a v e positioned yourself w h e r e you are
e x p o s e d t o t h e l e a s t r i s k a n d h a v e t h e b e s t c h a n c e of
responding safely w h e n danger does erupt.
W h e r e m a n y o f f i c e r s go w r o n g is i n a s s u m i n g
t h a t an a s s i g n m e n t is i n c o n s e q u e n t i a l a n d t h e r e f o r e
a p p r o a c h i n g it o n w h a t a m o u n t s t o a u t o m a t i c p i l o t .
T h e y f a i l t o c o n s i d e r t h a t , g o i n g in, t h e r e is a g r e a t
deal a b o u t any s i t u a t i o n a n d t h e p e o p l e i n v o l v e d
t h a t t h e y do n o t c a n n o t k n o w . P r e s u m i n g o n e
s e t of c i r c u m s t a n c e s o n t h e b a s i s of a p p e a r a n c e s or
past experience, they m a y find t h e m s e l v e s con-
f r o n t i n g q u i t e a n o t h e r , for w h i c h t h e y are n o t pre-
pared. In O r e g o n , f o r e x a m p l e , a s e r g e a n t w h o
s t o p p e d t o h e l p a t e e n a g e c o u p l e i n a d i s a b l e d c a r did
n o t k n o w t h e girl w a s a n e s c a p e e or t h a t t h e y w o u l d
kill h i m because they thought he intended to arrest
her. A M i l w a u k e e patrolman responding to a distur-
b a n c e at a h o u s e w h e r e p o l i c e h a d b e e n f i f t y p r e -
v i o u s t i m e s w i t h o u t i n c i d e n t did n o t k n o w t h a t t h i s
t i m e the husband beating his wife had picked up a
. 3 0 - 0 6 rifle on his w a y h o m e and w o u l d shoot t h e
o f f i c e r for " m e s s i n ' i n . " A G e o r g i a o f f i c e r w h o
w a l k e d u p t o t h e d o o r of a c o c k t a i l l o u n g e t h a t w a s
ajar a f t e r n o r m a l c l o s i n g t i m e did n o t k n o w u n t i l
he was shot deadthat an armed burglar was inside.
W h e n y o u o b s e r v e a p r o b l e m o n t h e s t r e e t or
receive an a s s i g n m e n t from a dispatcher, all y o u
k n o w for c e r t a i n is t h e g e n e r a l d i r e c t i o n i n w h i c h t o
proceed. W h a t y o u ' l l find w h e n you arrive, there's
n o w a y of t e l l i n g .
W i t h a survival orientation, you keep this firm-
ly in m i n d a n d always approach a situation antici-
pating an armed confrontation. In m a n y c a s e s , as w e
k n o w f r o m t h e c o m m o n p a t t e r n s of e n c o u n t e r , a n
o f f e n d e r h a s a p l a n i n m i n d for h o w h e w i l l s h o o t .
So y o u w a n t to plan ahead, too, but y o u ' l l have to
l e t t h e circumstances dictate tactics, not vice versa.
E a c h s t e p of t h e w a y , y o u c o n s i d e r t h e oppor-
t u n i t i e s a n o f f e n d e r m i g h t h a v e f o r s h o o t i n g at y o u
a n d t h e w a y s i n w h i c h y o u m i g h t f o r e s t a l l or r e -
s p o n d t o a n a t t a c k . In o t h e r w o r d s , y o u m a k e a h a b i t
of f i g u r i n g , " I f ' A ' h a p p e n s , I ' m g o i n g t o do ' B , ' " ad-
j u s t i n g f o r n e w d e v e l o p m e n t s as y o u g o . I t ' s a h a b i t
y o u p r a c t i c e f a i t h f u l l y , r e g a r d l e s s of y o u r a s s i g n -
m e n t . H o w e v e r crude, you discuss your planned
m o v e m e n t s w i t h your partner and rehearse t h e m
m e n t a l l y , and have a back-up plan in m i n d in case
t h e first fails. O n c e t h e a c t i o n starts, y o u w o n ' t have
t i m e t o t h i n k t h i n g s o u t r a t i o n a l l y . You have to be
ready to carry out your plan instinctively, with a
m i n i m u m of h e s i t a t i o n , w h i c h w e c a l l " l a g t i m e . "
W h e n e v e r p o s s i b l e , y o u w a n t t o cultivate tac-
tics that are unexpected, to be " s y s t e m a t i c a l l y un-
s y s t e m a t i c . " O f t e n a s s a i l a n t s c o u n t on officers re-
sponding in predictable, " r o u t i n e " w a y s to assign-
m e n t s , a n d if y o u are a b l e t o depart f r o m s t e r e o t y p e d
l a w e n f o r c e m e n t procedures in your approach, y o u
m a y be able to t h w a r t an a s s a i l a n t ' s plan w h i l e
strengthening your own position.
With some calls"shots fired," " m a n with a
g u n , " crimes-in-progress and disturbances where a
firearm m a y be a v a i l a b l e y o u have an early warn-
ing of p o s s i b l e v i o l e n c e . In o t h e r s i t u a t i o n s , y o u
m a y have to depend on being observant and applying
a " s i x t h s e n s e " for t r o u b l e . U s u a l l y t h e r e is some
c l u e or " d a n g e r s i g n " t o v i o l e n c e , s o m e t h i n g a b o u t
a s c e n e or a s u s p e c t ' s b e h a v i o r t h a t i s n ' t q u i t e r i g h t .
It m a y i n v o l v e u n u s u a l n e r v o u s n e s s o n h i s part o r so
s m a l l a t h i n g as h i s u n d u e c o n c e r n w i t h w a t c h i n g
y o u i n h i s r e a r - v i e w m i r r o r as y o u a p p r o a c h o n a
traffic stop. W i t h t a c t i c s and a m e n t a l attitude that
stress a n t i c i p a t i o n , y o u ' l l be in the best position to
see t h e w a r n i n g . . . t o r e c o g n i z e i t . . . a n d t o p a y a t t e n -
tion to it.
M a n y o f f i c e r s g e t t h e m s e l v e s s h o t at b y ap-
proaching an a s s i g n m e n t carelessly, hastily, slop-
pily and w i t h o v e r c o n f i d e n c e . U n e v e n t f u l famil-
i a r i t y b r e e d s c o m p l a c e n c y . A s a n a r m o r e d c a r driver
i n C o n n e c t i c u t said a f t e r t h r e e of h i s f e l l o w guards
w e r e m u r d e r e d b y r o b b e r s , " T h e h a r d p a r t is t h a t
after a w h i l e you b e c o m e lax. Y o u r ' r e not t h i n k i n g
s e c u r i t y . " O n e m i g h t argue t h a t t h e r e is n o o n e
r i g h t w a y to w o r k a n d n o o n e w a y t o b e t o t a l l y pre-
pared at all t i m e s . T r u e . B u t t h e r e are a p p r o a c h t a c -
t i c s t h a t i n v o l v e r i g h t t h i n k i n g , and it is c e r t a i n l y
p o s s i b l e t o d e v e l o p p r e p a r e d n e s s far b e y o n d t h a t dis-
played by m a n y officers w h o b e c o m e involved in
gunfights.
H e r e are s o m e p r o v e n field t e c h n i q u e s t h a t c a n
h e l p y o u plan, perceive and perform tor s u r v i v a l i n a
v a r i e t y of c o m m o n s i t u a t i o n s . T h e y a r e n o t n e c e s -
s a r i l y b l u e p r i n t s t h a t c a n be a p p l i e d a r b i t r a r i l y t o
every i n s t a n c e , but guidelines and options that y o u
w i l l w a n t t o c o n s i d e r , adapt a n d e x p a n d u p o n .

Building Approach
A scenario that occurs with haunting frequency
in t h e F B I ' s a n n u a l s u m m a r y of l a w e n f o r c e m e n t
officers killed c o n c e r n s an officer w h o a n s w e r s a
d i s t u r b a n c e or r o b b e r y - i n - p r o g r e s s c a l l , hurries
t o w a r d t h e f r o n t of t h e r e s i d e n c e or b u s i n e s s e s t a b -
l i s h m e n t i n v o l v e d and b e f o r e h e c a n t a k e appro-
p r i a t e a c t i o n is m o r t a l l y w o u n d e d w i t h a s h o t g u n ,
rifle or h a n d g u n b l a s t fired at h i m t h r o u g h t h e d o o r .
H e a n s w e r s a c a l l r o u t i n e l y a n d is r o u t i n e l y s h o t ,
as e a s i l y as if h e h a d a " t e n - r i n g " p a s t e d o n h i s
chest.
Modern c o m m u n i c a t i o n puts officers on the
s c e n e of a n y c o m p l a i n t c a l l f a s t . T h e c h a n c e s t o d a y
are g r e a t e r t h a n e v e r t h a t y o u w i l l a r r i v e w h i l e t h e
a c t i o n is s t i l l i n p r o g r e s s or at l e a s t w h i l e t h e s u s p e c t
is s t i l l i n t h e a r e a . Y o u r o b j e c t i v e is c l e a r : Y o u h a v e
t o locate the problem that prompted the call...iso-
late t h e offender(s) f r o m i n n o c e n t c i v i l i a n s . . . a n d
eliminate the hazard presented by t h e offender(s).
B u t t h e r e ' s n o a s s u r a n c e y o u ' l l get a s u s p e c t ' s c o o p -
e r a t i o n in doing all t h a t . C a r e e r c r i m i n a l s are a l w a y s
a n t i c i p a t i n g t h e i m m i n e n t a r r i v a l of t h e p o l i c e and
are v e r y o f t e n w i l l i n g t o g a m b l e d e s p e r a t e l y for f r e e -
dom by c o m m i t t i n g a greater c r i m e t h a n the o n e
t h e y ' r e i n v o l v e d i n s u c h as y o u r a s s a u l t or h o m i -
cide. " A m a t e u r s , " like wife-beaters, p s y c h o s and
d r u n k s , are o f t e n m o r e t o t a l l y a b s o r b e d i n w h a t
t h e y ' r e d o i n g a n d are o f t e n l e s s v i g i l a n t . B u t , in t h e
p a s s i o n of t h e m o m e n t , t h e y m a y b e j u s t as pre-
pared a n d d e t e r m i n e d t o s h o o t .
W h a t y o u w a n t is a n unexpected approach that
m a y d e l a y a s u s p e c t ' s a w a r e n e s s of y o u r p r e s e n c e
until you have a c h a n c e to assess the situation you
are c o n f r o n t i n g .
One proper approach to a domestic
disturbance call involving a residence.

48
Y o u ' r e b e s t off t o anticipate the address you're
l o o k i n g f o r as y o u a p p r o a c h t h e s c e n e a n d p a r k y o u r
p a t r o l c a r t h r e e or f o u r d o o r s a w a y o n t h e s a m e side
of t h e s t r e e t , before y o u r e a c h i t . T h i s f o r e s t a l l s y o u r
driving d i r e c t l y i n t o t h e " k i l l z o n e . " ( H e r e w e ' r e
using " k i l l z o n e " to m e a n that area w h i c h an armed
suspect in a given l o c a t i o n can c o n t r o l w i t h h o s t i l e
w e a p o n s fire. T h e t e r m a l s o m e a n s t h a t part of t h e
anatomy where incoming rounds will most likely
prove i n c a p a c i t a t i n g . ) M a k e as l i t t l e d i s t u r b a n c e as
possible. T h a t m e a n s : avoid using your e m e r g e n c y
l i g h t s a n d s i r e n in y o u r a p p r o a c h (if d e p a r t m e n t
p o l i c y p e r m i t s ( . . . t u r n y o u r r a d i o d o w n l o w s o it
c a n ' t be heard outside your patrol car...round cor-
ners without squealing your tires...at night, consi-
der t u r n i n g off y o u r e n g i n e a n d h e a d l i g h t s a n d c o a s t -
ing t h e l a s t 1 0 0 f e e t or s o b e f o r e y o u s t o p , u s i n g t h e
e m e r g e n c y b r a k e s o as n o t t o a c t i v a t e t h e b r a k e
lights. S o m e departments permit officers to discon-
nect the b u t t o n s in patrol car doors t h a t turn o n
i n t e r i o r l i g h t s w h e n a d o o r is o p e n e d . H a v i n g d o n e
this will help keep your approach unobtrusive.
W h e n y o u e x i t y o u r u n i t , e a s e y o u r c a r d o o r s h u t as
q u i e t l y as y o u c a n or l e a v e it s l i g h t l y ajar if s e c u r i t y
a l l o w s . A t n i g h t e s p e c i a l l y , s o u n d t r a v e l s far a n d
f a s t ; e v e n at l o w v o l u m e , y o u r r a d i o or a d o o r s l a m -
ming m a y be audible a b l o c k away. A quiet approach
m a y keep you from attracting neighbors and trouble-
s o m e o n l o o k e r s , as w e l l as t h e s u s p e c t .
Certainly, don't just " g i v e " yourself to a sus-
p e c t , as a n e w p a t r o l m a n i n T e n n e s s e e did. R e s p o n d -
ing t o a c o m p l a i n t of a m i d d l e - a g e d m a n , a k n o w n
m e n t a l case, beating on an old t r u c k behind his
house, the officer stopped his patrol car in the sus-
pect's driveway. As h e strode up to the residence,
h e w a s e a s y p i c k i n g s for h i s a s s a i l a n t , w h o k i l l e d
h i m with a shot to the chest with a 7 . 6 5 m m rifle.
A p p r o a c h i n g t h e a d d r e s s of y o u r c a l l , y o u
s h o u l d s u r v e y all v e h i c l e s p a r k e d or m o v i n g i n t h e
i m m e d i a t e n e i g h b o r h o o d a n d a l l p e d e s t r i a n s or
l o i t e r e r s . A lay-off m a n m a y b e w a i t i n g i n a c a r o r o n
t h e s i d e w a l k as a l o o k - o u t . A c a r p a r k e d w i t h i t s
m o t o r r u n n i n g is a u t o m a t i c a l l y s u s p i c i o u s . I n s o m e
cases, suspects have been k n o w n to hide under
v e h i c l e s . O r , if a c r i m e - i n - p r o g r e s s h a s b e e n r e p o r t -
ed, t h e o f f e n d e r ( s ) m a y b e i n t h e p r o c e s s of f l e e i n g
as y o u a r r i v e .

A s y o u m o v e in o n f o o t , y o u w i l l w a n t t o c o n s i d -
er a v a i l a b l e c o v e r w h i c h y o u c a n u s e i n t h e e v e n t of
serious trouble. E m p l o y an invisible advance to t h e
f u l l e s t e x t e n t p o s s i b l e , f u s t t h e s i g h t of y o u m a y b e
enough to i m p e l an armed suspect to shoot. W h e r e
there's reason to believe y o u m a y be dealing w i t h a
v i o l e n t s i t u a t i o n , i n v i s i b l e d e p l o y m e n t is c r i t i c a l . It
is u s u a l l y e a s i e r i n d a r k n e s s , b u t e v e n i n d a y l i g h t
or u n d e r b r i g h t l i g h t s b y m o v i n g b e h i n d p a r k e d c a r s ,
f e n c e s , t r a s h c a n s or s h r u b b e r y or b y t a k i n g a n i n d i -
rect route, you m a y be able to get close to the build-
ing w i t h o u t b e i n g o b s e r v e d b y a n y o n e i n s i d e . T r y t o
blend into backgrounds that m a t c h your uniform
color where possible, and where colors don't m a t c h ,
t r y at l e a s t t o k e e p y o u r b a c k g r o u n d as d a r k as y o u r
c l o t h i n g . If y o u m u s t p a s s w i n d o w s , t r y t o g o over
t h o s e t h a t a r e n e a r or b e l o w g r o u n d l e v e l a n d under
t h o s e that are higher. T r y to stay protected by cover
w h e n possible and to k n o w always where your near-
est cover is. M o v e rapidly through open areas, trying
to m o v e from covered position to covered position.
Y o u w a n t to c o n s t a n t l y guard against t h e " o s -
trich effect;" that's thinking that because you can't
s e e t h e s u s p e c t , h e c a n ' t s e e y o u . A c t u a l l y , h i s per-
s p e c t i v e o n t h e s c e n e is l i k e l y t o b e e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t
from yours. T h i s was dramatically illustrated to a
young Cincinnati patrolman one afternoon when he
Many officers find it hard to resist the r e s p o n d e d t o a s i l e n t h o l d u p a l a r m at a d o w n t o w n
temptation to rush in and gain control. bank. He properly parked around t h e corner from
Lying dead is a 37-year-old plain-
t h e e n t r a n c e and was cautiously approaching on foot
clothes officer who rushed in on a
along t h e building's side wall. H e w a s a l m o s t to t h e
burglary suspect.
end w h e n he suddenly realized a major oversight;
t h e w a l l w a s of r e f l e c t i v e g l a s s , a n d b e c a u s e i t s m i r -
r o r e d s u r f a c e h a d k e p t h i m f r o m s e e i n g t h r o u g h it,
h e ' d f o r g o t t e n t h a t f r o m t h e o t h e r side t h a t k i n d of
g l a s s is l i k e a n o r m a l w i n d o w . P e o p l e i n s i d e t h e
b a n k had been able to see h i m perfectly all along.
Fortunately, the call turned out to be a false alarm,
or r o b b e r s i n s i d e c o u l d h a v e s h o t t h r o u g h t h e g l a s s
and killed h i m any t i m e they c h o s e .

The contemporary design of buildings


often works against a safe response for
law enforcement.

50
Stay conscious of your surroundings in a n o t h e r
regard, a l s o : b e f o r e y o u r a r r i v a l , a s u s p e c t , as part of
h i s p l a n , m a y h a v e l e f t t h e p r e m i s e s y o u ' r e ap-
p r o a c h i n g and m o v e d t o a n o t h e r v a n t a g e p o i n t f r o m
w h i c h h e c a n s h o o t . In a n o t h e r O h i o c a s e , t w o s h e r -
iff's deputies one afternoon were s i m u l t a n e o u s l y
a p p r o a c h i n g t h e f r o n t a n d r e a r of a h o u s e w h e r e a
rape h a d b e e n r e p o r t e d i n p r o g r e s s . T h e i r a t t e n t i o n
w a s so f o c u s e d o n t h e r e s i d e n c e a n d w h a t t h e y
would e n c o u n t e r there that t h e y ignored a garage
beside it. T h e alleged rapist had hidden there and
f r o m i n s i d e w a s a b l e e a s i l y t o t r a i n a . 1 2 ga. s h o t g u n
o n o n e of t h e d e p u t i e s . W i t h o u t w a r n i n g , h e s h o t
the deputy t w i c e and killed h i m . As y o u approach,
t h e n , be alert t o p o s s i b l e h i d i n g p l a c e s , i n c l u d i n g
r o o f t o p s and n e a r b y v e h i c l e s .
If y o u n e e d t o r o u n d a c o r n e r o n f o o t i n y o u r
a p p r o a c h , y o u m a y b e e a s y prey t o a s u s p e c t w a i t i n g
o n t h e o t h e r side if y o u c h a r g e a r o u n d a s s u m i n g
t h e r e is n o o n e t h e r e or e v e n if y o u s l o w l y s t i c k y o u r
head around to look. A young sheriff's deputy in
Florida, responding to a robbery-in-progress call,
h u r r i e d l y r o u n d e d a c o r n e r of a b u i l d i n g w i t h h i s
shotgun in h a n d and ran s m a c k into t w o suspects
and a h o s t a g e ; o n e of t h e r o b b e r s s h o t h i m f a t a l l y
in the chest w i t h a .45 s e m i - a u t o m a t i c , and w o u n d -
ed t w o o t h e r o f f i c e r s as w e l l .

A crucial tactic when making an ap-


proach is to always assume the sus-
pects] could be anywhere.

51
Applying the quick peek technique. Quickly peek out, then pull your head
Assume a low position behind cover back to your original position. If the
with your sidearm ready. The suspect suspect shoots, he will probably fire at
will be waiting for you at eye level. shoulder height.

Now assume a standing position behind Again apply the quick peek technique.
cover. The suspect will now assume If you have a visual on the suspect with
you're going to come out shooting. But no civilians behind, you now can return
you don't know if he's still there or not. fire safely.

A profile view of Step 2. Notice the The armed suspect's point of view re-
torso and hand positioning relative to veals no more of your head than this as
the wall barricade. you apply the quick peek technique.
Y o u ' r e safer, of c o u r s e , t o u s e t h e " q u i c k p e e k "
t e c h n i q u e . For this, you squat on the balls of your
f e e t , f a c i n g c l o s e t o y o u r side of t h e w a l l w i t h y o u r
legs apart and w i t h y o u r p a l m s a g a i n s t t h e w a l l i n a
b a l a n c i n g b r a c e . B e c a r e f u l n o t t o e x p o s e a n y of y o u r
b o d y p a s t t h e c o r n e r a n d stay lowat or b e l o w waist
level. T h e n , shifting your weight o n t o your foot
n e a r e s t t h e c o r n e r , s u d d e n l y dart y o u r h e a d o u t b e -
y o n d t h e c o r n e r and b a c k i n o n e iapid motion.
Y o u ' l l get a f a s t b u t fairly t h o r o u g h l o o k at t h e
area a r o u n d t h e b e n d , y e t y o u r p e e k w i l l b e s o f a s t
that a suspect will not be able to respond effectively.
If h e d o e s s h o o t r e f l e x i v e l y , y o u r h e a d w i l l b e s a f e l y
b a c k behind the wall before the bullet c a n hit, prob-
a b l y b e f o r e h e e v e n p u l l s t h e trigger. If y o u w a n t
a n o t h e r l o o k , a g a i n do t h e u n e x p e c t e d b y q u i c k
p e e k i n g f r o m a different level.
Q u i c k p e e k i n g c a n a l s o b e u s e d for s e e i n g
around barriers other than walls. Generally, y o u ' l l
incur the least risk by peeking around the sides
r a t h e r t h a n o v e r t h e t o p of m o s t o b j e c t s , b e c a u s e at
t h e side y o u ' r e l e s s l i k e l y t o s i l h o u e t t e y o u r s e l f .

How would you rate the approach


tactics of these four troopers! Their
mission is to search an "abandoned"
house owned by the prime suspect who
killed two officers and three civilians
hours before.

The dotted lines indicate an armed


suspect's effective kill zone when you
approach the front of a stucco or wood
surface residence.

53
T h r o u g h o u t your approach, you want to utilize
all your senses to help evaluate a call. Before enter-
ing, y o u m a y b e a b l e t o q u i c k p e e k at w i n d o w s t o
g e t a v i s u a l o n t h e a c t i o n , i t s p a r t i c i p a n t s a n d , par-
t i c u l a r l y , o n a n y f i r e a r m s t h a t m a y b e i n v o l v e d or
a v a i l a b l e . ( D o n ' t t a k e s l o w p e e k s or l o n g s t a r e s
t h r o u g h w i n d o w s , t h o u g h ; it m a k e s y o u t o o g o o d a
t a r g e t . ) Y o u r s e n s e of s m e l l m a y s u g g e s t w h e t h e r y o u
will be confronting individuals w h o s e judgment has
b e e n i m p a i r e d b y t h e u s e of c e r t a i n d r u g s . S o m e -
t i m e s w h a t you hear will help you plan. Approach-
ing t h e r e a r d o o r of a h o u s e w h e r e a b u r g l a r y h a d
b e e n r e p o r t e d o n e n i g h t , a n o f f i c e r h e a r d n o i s e s of
d r a w e r s b e i n g y a n k e d o u t a n d d u m p e d t h a t led h i m
t o b e l i e v e t h e b u r g l a r w a s s t i l l i n s i d e . I n s t e a d of
a t t e m p t i n g a n i m m e d i a t e c o n f r o n t a t i o n , t h e offi-
c e r t i p p e d o v e r a p i c n i c t a b l e i n t h e yard a n d c r o u c h -
ed b e h i n d it w i t h h i s r e v o l v e r d r a w n . W h e n t h e
burglar emerged w i t h a gun and his loot a few m o -
m e n t s later, the officer a n n o u n c e d h i m s e l f and
y e l l e d at h i m t o s t o p . T h e b u r g l a r fired w i l d l y and
i n e f f e c t u a l l y i n t o t h e d a r k , u n c e r t a i n w h e r e t h e offi-
cer was. But the officer, from his protected, clear-
v i e w p o s i t i o n , w a s r e a d y t o fire b a c k i m m e d i a t e l y
o n t a r g e t . T h e old w a r n i n g is a g o o d o n e : "stop,
look, listen" as y o u a p p r o a c h . Don't rush.

A position of cover affords the safest


opportunity for maximum observation
and control. In this case, a short brick
wall provided that advantage.

If y o u are a p p r o a c h i n g a s c e n e w i t h a b a c k - u p
or p a r t n e r , y o u w a n t t o b e a b l e t o c o m m u n i c a t e
w i t h e a c h o t h e r along t h e w a y . Avoid m o v i n g in
s h o u l d e r - t o - s h o u l d e r or s i d e - b y - s i d e , b u t i n s t a y i n g
apart b e s u r e y o u k e e p p o s i t i o n e d s o t h a t y o u c a n
e a c h r e t u r n f i r e if n e c e s s a r y , w i t h o u t p l a c i n g t h e
other in cross-fire. M a i n t a i n visual c o n t a c t . Y o u
s h o u l d k n o w w h a t e a c h o t h e r is g o i n g t o d o . H a n d
s i g n a l s c a n h e l p y o u m a i n t a i n a d i s c r e e t a d v a n c e . In
s o m e c a s e s , f l a s h l i g h t s or p e n l i g h t s b l i n k e d o n and

54
off rapidly m a y b e an a p p r o p r i a t e s i g n a l s u b s t i t u t e
at n i g h t , p r o v i d e d y o u t a k e c a r e n o t t o i l l u m i n a t e
each other. O r prearranged code words can b e used
w h e r e y o u k n o w t h e s u s p e c t c a n o v e r h e a r y o u . If
t h e r e is a n i m m i n e n t t h r e a t t o e i t h e r of y o u , s h o u t
o u t a b r u p t l y . Don't assume that youi partner sees
and hears everything you do, a n d v i c e v e r s a . A s w i t h
t h e o s t r i c h e f f e c t , y o u r p o i n t s of v i e w m a y b e s i g n i f -
icantly different.
If y o u a r e a l o n e , y o u m a y w a n t t o p r e t e n d t o b e
c o m m u n i c a t i n g with a hidden partner, o n c e you feel
y o u r p r e s e n c e is k n o w n . Y o u c a n do t h i s b y i s s u i n g
" c o m m a n d s " or " r e l a y i n g " i n f o r m a t i o n , i n a v o i c e
audible to any offender. Suspects are not always
i n t i m i d a t e d b y t h e p r e s e n c e of m o r e t h a n o n e offi-
c e r , b u t if a s u s p e c t b e l i e v e s t h e r e is a n o f f i c e r o u t
t h e r e w h o m h e c a n ' t s e e , h e m a y b e l e s s s u r e of h i s
ability to shoot you and successfully escape.
O n e of t h e m o s t d a n g e r o u s m o m e n t s i n a n
a p p r o a c h is w h e n y o u r e a c h a d o o r y o u c a n ' t s e e
through and are dependent on s o m e o n e else to open,
as is t y p i c a l l y t h e c a s e w h e n y o u r e s p o n d t o a c a l l
at a r e s i d e n c e . Y o u w a n t t o stay to the side of the
door, so if a n a s s a i l a n t i n s i d e d e c i d e s t o s h o o t
t h r o u g h it y o u are n o t d i r e c t l y i n h i s l i n e of f i r e .

lit'*

UXit

Narcotics agents about to make entry


to the connecting door of a hotel room
in search of a suspect. How would you
rate their relative safety!
Here the element of surprise lies solely Y o u r position m a y be even m o r e u n e x p e c t e d to h i m
with the subject. The woman holding if, r a t h e r t h a n s t a n d , y o u s q u a t d o w n at t h e side
a semi-automatic in her left hand has b e l o w t h e n o r m a l f i r i n g l e v e l a g a i n s t t h e w a l l , as
just set her house afire and threatened
you reach out w i t h your n i g h t s t i c k in your non-gun
to take her life as well as her daughter's.
h a n d t o rap o n t h e d o o r a n d a n n o u n c e y o u r p r e s e n c e .
T h i s w a y , if h e t r i e s t o f i r e t h r o u g h t h e w a l l , h i s
s h o t is l i k e l y t o b e t o o h i g h t o h i t y o u .
A s s u m i n g there are n o special cover possibil-
i t i e s , y o u r b e s t p o s i t i o n is p r o b a b l y t o t h e r i g h t of
w h e r e t h e d o o r k n o b is l o c a t e d . H e r e y o u w i l l b e
least readily visible to a n y o n e w h o m a y be waiting
i n s i d e t h e r o o m as t h e d o o r o p e n s .
O n c e t h e d o o r is o p e n e d , don't be too quick to
enter. Your immediate intrusion could precipitate
s h o t s f r o m i n s i d e . F r o m as p r o t e c t e d a p o s i t i o n as
p o s s i b l e a n d w i t h y o u r g u n s i d e away f r o m t h e per
s o n in t h e d o o r , t r y t o a s c e r t a i n m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n
If t h e c o m p l a i n a n t a n s w e r s , for e x a m p l e , y o u w a n t
t o d e t e r m i n e i m m e d i a t e l y : 1) t h e degree of t h r e a t
t o y o u r o w n s a f e t y ; 2) w h e t h e r t h e c o m p l a i n a n t is
a r m e d ; 3) w h e r e t h e s u s p e c t i s ; 4) w h e t h e r h e is
a r m e d ; 5) w h e t h e r t h e r e a r e any f i r e a r m s o n the
p r e m i s e s ; 6) w h o e l s e is i n s i d e a n d 7) w h a t t h e inter-
ior p h y s i c a l l a y o u t i s . Don't dismiss the threat po-
tential of any firearm. During a shooting incident
t h a t g r e w o u t of a n a t t e m p t t o s e r v e a n a r r e s t war-
r a n t , a s h e r i f f ' s d e p u t y i n S o u t h C a r o l i n a w a s killed
by a suspect wielding an antique rifle.

56
If t h e r e is a n y i n d i c a t i o n t h a t t h e s u s p e c t is
a r m e d o r h a s a c c e s s t o a g u n , t r y t o get t h e c o m -
p l a i n a n t o u t s i d e w i t h y o u t o a p o s i t i o n of c o v e r . . .
c a l l for b a c k - u p t o h e l p c o n t a i n t h e off e n d e r . . . a n d
c o n s i d e r t r e a t i n g t h e s i t u a t i o n as a b a r r i c a d e d s u s -
p e c t i n c i d e n t . T h e p a s s a g e of t i m e , n e g o t i a t i o n
a n d / o r t h e u s e of c h e m i c a l a g e n t s a r e l i k e l y t o p r o v e
far safer a l t e r n a t i v e s t h a n y o u r b a r g i n g i n in a n effort
to q u e s t i o n or c a p t u r e h i m . A n u n f o r t u n a t e i l l u s -
t r a t i o n of t h i s p o i n t o c c u r r e d in T e x a s w h e r e t h r e e
e s c a p e d p r i s o n e r s w e r e l o c a t e d in a p r i v a t e h o m e .
W h e n o f f i c e r s arrived at t h e s c e n e , s e v e r a l p r o m p t l y
entered the h o u s e and started upstairs to flush out
the suspects. Before t h e y reached the second floor,
o n e of t h e e s c a p e e s s u d d e n l y l e a n e d o v e r t h e r a i l i n g
and s h o t t h e lead p a t r o l m a n dead w i t h a b l a s t t o t h e
n e c k f r o m a . 1 6 ga. s h o t g u n . O n l y a f t e r a g u n b a t t l e
did t h e s u r v i v i n g o f f i c e r s r e t r e a t , s t a t i o n t h e m s e l v e s A single officer approach to a door which
o u t s i d e t h e d w e l l i n g a n d f i n a l l y fire t e a r gas i n s i d e . opens in. The low ground position, use
E v e n if t h e s u s p e c t ( s ) e s c a p e t e m p o r a r i l y , i t ' s b e t t e r of the baton in your non-gun hand and
than your getting killed during an ill-conceived proper distance from the door add to the
element of surprise to any possible
capture.
armed occupant.
B e a l e r t a l w a y s t o t h e p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t you may
not get reliable information from civilians you en-
c o u n t e r during your approach. B e suspicious. T a k e
n o t h i n g for g r a n t e d . In N e w Y o r k , a h u s b a n d w h o
answered the door w h e n two officers responded to a
d i s t u r b a n c e c a l l w a s all s m i l e s a n d c o u r t e s y : " C o m e
o n in, o f f i c e r s ! E v e r y t h i n g is a l l r i g h t h e r e , j u s t a
little f a m i l y s q u a b b l e . " T h e y relaxed and accepted
h i s i n v i t a t i o n w i t h o u t n o t i c i n g or b e i n g w a r y of
o n e h a n d h e l d b e h i n d h i s b a c k . It h e l d a r e v o l v e r
with w h i c h he m o m e n t a r i l y shot and killed t h e m
both.

Indeed, in s o m e cases, y o u m a y n o t even be


t a l k i n g t o w h o m y o u think y o u a r e . T w o o f f i c e r s i n
M e m p h i s r e s p o n d i n g t o a n a r m e d r o b b e r y a l a r m at
a n a l l - n i g h t g r o c e r y s t o r e , for e x a m p l e , w e r e m e t b y
a m a l e a d u l t w h o said h e w a s t h e m a n a g e r a n d h a d
s e t off t h e a l a r m a c c i d e n t a l l y . I n f a c t , as t h e y f o u n d
out too late, he was the robber.
(Note: W e have talked here about approaching a
b u i l d i n g i n t h e c o n t e x t of y o u r r e s p o n d i n g t o a spe-
cific assignment. But a n y t i m e you enter a building,
e s p e c i a l l y a p l a c e of b u s i n e s s , t r y t o v i e w t h e i n t e -
r i o r first, p a r t i c u l a r l y t h e c a s h r e g i s t e r a r e a , t o d e t e r -
m i n e t h a t e v e r y t h i n g is n o r m a l . A n u m b e r of o f f i c e r s
g o i n g a f t e r a p a c k of c i g a r e t s o r a c u p of c o f f e e h a v e
b e e n t a k e n by surprise and shot w h e n , w i t h o u t
p a u s i n g t o b e o b s e r v a n t , t h e y w a l k e d r i g h t i n t o an
armed robbery-in-progress.)

Room Approach
A building search is something no officer should
undertake alone. T o d o s o is s y m p t o m a t i c of t h e
S u p e r m a n s y n d r o m e and invites the c o n s e q u e n c e s
suffered by a middle-aged c o n s t a b l e in W e s t Virginia
w h o w e n t t o a s u s p e c t ' s h o m e t o a r r e s t h i m for
destroying private property. Receiving no response
w h e n h e k n o c k e d at t h e d o o r , t h e c o n s t a b l e c l i m b e d
into the house through a w i n d o w . T o his surprise,
the suspect was waiting inside w i t h t w o strong,
young buddies, w h o easily overpowered the officer,
stabbed h i m once, then shot h i m four t i m e s .
W h e n y o u h a v e a p a r t n e r , t h o u g h , or, b e t t e r ,
o n e or m o r e b a c k - u p t e a m s , a n a s s i g n m e n t m a y r e -
quire t h a t you m o v e f r o m r o o m to r o o m in a h o u s e ,
a n a p a r t m e n t c o m p l e x , a s t o r e or a n o f f i c e b u i l d i n g
i n s e a r c h of a s u s p e c t w h o m a y b e a r m e d .
Y o u m a y not k n o w w h e t h e r the suspect is, in
fact, in t h e building. Y o u m a y be responding to a
p r o w l e r c a l l o r c o m p l a i n t of s i g n s of f o r c e d e n t r y or
t o s o m e o t h e r c r i m e w h e r e t h e v i c t i m or w i t n e s s e s
are n o t c e r t a i n w h e t h e r t h e o f f e n d e r h a s f l e d t h e
p r e m i s e s . If y o u . k n o w h e ' s i n t h e r e , i t ' s s a f e s t t o t r y
t o isolate and contain h i m within the building, then
force h i m to c o m e out to you. In m o s t cases, you're
at a n a d v a n t a g e t o d e a l w i t h t h e s u s p e c t o n y o u r
g r o u n d (outside) r a t h e r t h a n h i s ( i n s i d e ) . If y o u
d o n ' t k n o w , y o u ' l l h a v e t o go i n , for w h a t is a l w a y s
a treacherous, tension-chargedand sometimes
b l o o d y g a m e of c a t and m o u s e .
Y o u r d i s a d v a n t a g e s are l e g i o n i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n :
q u a r t e r s are l i k e l y t o b e c l o s e , c o v e r s p a r s e , l i g h t
poor; y o u are p r o b a b l y u n f a m i l i a r w i t h t h e l a y o u t ;
there m a y be myriad obstacles, blind corners,
b o o b y - t r a p s a n d p l a c e s of c o n c e a l m e n t a l o n g t h e
w a y y e t you m u s t take t h e initiative in m o v i n g
forward to conduct a thorough i n s p e c t i o n . T h e sus-
pect, on the other hand, can secrete h i m s e l f in a
good h i d i n g p l a c e , get h i s g u n ( s ) r e a d y t o s h o o t . . . a n d
m e r e l y wait for your arrival. T h i s m a k e s building
s e a r c h e s o n e of t h e m o s t d i f f i c u l t a n d d a n g e r o u s
of y o u r a s s i g n m e n t s .
W i t h s u r v i v a l i n m i n d , y o u r g o a l s are t o ap-
p r o a c h as q u i e t l y as p o s s i b l e a n d t o g e t a g o o d pre-
v i e w of t e r r i t o r y y o u h a v e t o c r o s s w h i l e y o u s t i l l
are in a p r o t e c t e d p o s i t i o n . T o g a i n t a c t i c a l a d v a n -
tage, t r y t o e n t e r w h e r e t h e s u s p e c t l e a s t e x p e c t s y o u
t o t h r o u g h a rear door, a s e c o n d f l o o r w i n d o w or
an o p e n i n g in t h e r o o f . S t a r t at or m o v e t o t h e u p p e r -
m o s t s e c t i o n of t h e b u i l d i n g , a n d c o n d u c t y o u r
s e a r c h f r o m t o p d o w n , if p o s s i b l e . I t ' s e a s i e r t o f i g h t
for y o u r l i f e f r o m a h i g h p o s i t i o n m o v i n g d o w n t h a n
f r o m a l o w p o s i t i o n m o v i n g up,- y o u c a n go d o w n -
s t a i r s f a s t e r t h a n y o u c a n go u p . A l s o , if y o u l e a v e
the offender a way to escapei.e., b y going d o w n
and o u t h e m a y b e c a p t u r e d w h e n h e e x i t s f r o m
t h e b u i l d i n g . If h e is t r a p p e d o n t h e t o p f l o o r , h e
m a y feel he has no choice but to stand and fight.
I d e a l l y , all o f f i c e r s s e a r c h i n g a b u i l d i n g s h o u l d
b e i n u n i f o r m . T h i s is e s p e c i a l l y i m p o r t a n t w h e n
m a n y o f f i c e r s are i n v o l v e d a n d / o r w h e n t h o s e par-
ticipating don't know each other. Even w h e n uni-
forms can help telegraph instant recognition, all
o f f i c e r s s h o u l d b e a w a r e of w h e r e e a c h w i l l b e e n t e r -
ing t h e b u i l d i n g , so t h e y c a n a n t i c i p a t e o n e a n -
o t h e r ' s l o c a t i o n a n d l e s s e n t h e r i s k of m i s t a k i n g
e a c h o t h e r for t h e s u s p e c t .
W h e r e t i m e p e r m i t s in a high-risk situation
like this, you should a t t e m p t to cover a n y shiny
i t e m s (like your nameplate) w h i c h m a y reflect light
and d r a w a s u s p e c t ' s a t t e n t i o n t o y o u r l o c a t i o n .
S o m e o f f i c e r s c a r r y a s m a l l r o l l of b l a c k e l e c t r i c i a n ' s
tape for t h i s p u r p o s e .
O n c e officers enter a building, there should be
no filing on the structure by any fellow officers w h o
r e m a i n o u t s i d e . T h e o n l y e x c e p t i o n t o t h i s order
w o u l d be in a c i r c u m s t a n c e in w h i c h the outside
o f f i c e r s c o u l d s e e all t h o s e i n s i d e a n d d e t e r m i n e t h a t
they were sufficiently isolated from the suspect that
s h o t s a i m e d at h i m w o u l d i n n o w a y j e o p a r d i z e
them.
T o a d e q u a t e l y g u a r d b u i l d i n g s , at l e a s t t w o
o f f i c e r s a r e r e q u i r e d o u t s i d e , s i t u a t e d at d i a g o n a l l y
o p p o s i t e c o r n e r s in p o s i t i o n s of c o v e r . S u c h p o s i -
tions p e r m i t e a c h officer to w a t c h t w o sides for a
fleeing suspect, yet avoid cross-fire. D o n ' t , however,
s t a y c l o s e t o t h e b u i l d i n g , for t h a t a l l o w s a s u s p e c t
w h o is i n a n u p p e r w i n d o w or o n t h e r o o f t o g e t a n
e a s y s h o t at y o u b e l o w . P o s i t i o n y o u r s e l f a d i s t a n c e
a w a y , i n y o u r p a t r o l c a r if n o b e t t e r c o v e r is a v a i l -
a b l e , s o t h a t y o u c a n w a t c h up as w e l l as a l o n g t h e
s i d e s of t h e b u i l d i n g .
Inside the building to be searched, y o u want
The proper invisible deployment tac- y o u r g u n d r a w n , r e a d y for u s e . W i t h a f i r m , t w o -
tic for almost any building approach. h a n d e d grip, y o u c a n m o v e t h e w e a p o n i n a s h o r t
This tactic avoids a cross-fire situation a r c a n d b a c k as y o u a p p r o a c h l o c a t i o n s w h e r e t h e
and allows officers in both positions subject might be. T h e gun should follow your eyes.
to maintain a visual on possible suspect
movement.

60
If t h e r e a r e o n l y t w o of y o u , just one should
move at a time. I t ' s e x t r e m e l y d i f f i c u l t t o m o v e a n d
s h o o t a c c u r a t e l y at t h e s a m e t i m e , s o w h i l e o n e
covers, the other m o v e s to a n e w position, alter-
n a t i n g r o l e s as y o u a d v a n c e . C o n c e n t r a t e o n m o v i n g
silently. Noise from your leather belt, from leather-
s o l e d a n d - h e e l e d s h o e s or b o o t s or f r o m m e t a l j a n -
gling a g a i n s t m e t a l , l i k e k e y s a n d p o c k e t c h a n g e , c a n
quickly signal your approach.
A s y o u m o v e d o w n h a l l w a y s or a c r o s s large
rooms, you m a y confront numerous doorways that
open into closets, storage spaces, b e d r o o m s , offices
and o t h e r r o o m s . T o b y p a s s any w i t h o u t c h e c k i n g
t h e area it l e a d s t o is e x t r e m e l y r i s k y . A s u s p e c t m a y
b e w a i t i n g j u s t i n s i d e f o r y o u t o m o v e o n p a s t , al-
lowing h i m the c h a n c e then to emerge and shoot
you from behind. C o m m u n i t y toilets in lower-class
a p a r t m e n t b u i l d i n g s and h o t e l s s e e m t o b e e s p e c i a l l y
p o p u l a r p l a c e s for s u s p e c t s t o h i d e , b u t don't assume
that any potential hiding place is safe to ignore. In
a survival course in N e w Y o r k C i t y , based on real-
life episodes, trainees sent d o w n a h a l l w a y in search
of an a r m e d s u s p e c t c o m e t o o n e d o o r m a r k e d :
DANGER! HIGH V O L T A G E ! KEEP D O O R C L O S E D !
T h o s e w h o o b e y t h e sign a n d go o n a r e u s u a l l y
" k i l l e d " by a " p s y c h o " w h o suddenly flings the
door o p e n a n d p o p s o u t b e h i n d t h e m . If y o u c a r r y
w i t h y o u a s m a l l r o l l of e l e c t r i c a l or m a s k i n g t a p e ,
y o u c a n press a p i e c e a c r o s s t h e c r a c k of e a c h d o o r
y o u h a v e c h e c k e d . T h e n if y o u n o t i c e t h e t a p e b r o -
k e n or p u l l e d off as y o u r e t r a c e y o u r s e a r c h r o u t e
later, y o u ' l l k n o w s o m e o n e has b a c k t r a c k e d on y o u .

As y o u p l a n y o u r a p p r o a c h t o a d o o r w a y , k e e p in
mind w h a t ' s called the "fatal f u n n e l " p h e n o m e -
n o n . B e c a u s e y o u c a n ' t k n o w for s u r e e x a c t l y w h e r e
the suspect will be, you have to be c o n c e r n e d w i t h
e v e r y part of t h e r o o m b e y o n d t h a t d o o r w a y e n t r y .
B u t f r o m t h e p o i n t of v i e w of o n e or m o r e s u s p e c t s
i n s i d e t h e r o o m , all s e n s o r y c o n c e n t r a t i o n c a n b e
f u n n e l e d d o w n t o j u s t t h a t s m a l l o p e n i n g . I t ' s your
o n l y w a y in, all they n e e d t o w a t c h . F r a m e d b y it,
y o u ' d m a k e an o b v i o u s t a r g e t .
U s i n g an a p p r o a c h t h a t m i n i m i z e s y o u r f u n n e l
f r a m i n g , t h e n , y o u a d v a n c e s i l e n t l y t o w a r d t h e door-
w a y b y m o v i n g low a l o n g a w a l l , u t i l i z i n g w h a t -
ever cover you can along the w a y r e c e s s e s , hall-
w a y t r a s h c a n s , f u r n i t u r e , e t c . I t ' s u s u a l l y b e s t if y o u
and y o u r p a r t n e r c a n a p p r o a c h t h e d o o r w a y f r o m
o p p o s i t e s i d e s . B u t if t h a t ' s n o t p o s s i b l e , o n e of y o u
s h o u l d q u i c k l y m o v e a c r o s s t h e c l o s e d d o o r w a y at a
l e v e l below t h e d o o r k n o b so y o u are o n o p p o s i t e
sides b e f o r e a t t e m p t i n g e n t r y . ( E v e n if t h e d o o r is
o p e n , a l o w , f a s t j u m p is l i k e l y t o g e t y o u a c r o s s
quickly enough that you w o n ' t be hit by s o m e o n e
shooting from inside.)
W i t h o u t e x p o s i n g a n y v i t a l p o r t i o n s of y o u r
body, r e a c h w i t h your w e a k h a n d and try t h e k n o b .
In n u m e r o u s instances, officers have forced entry
through doors that t h e y later discovered w e r e un-
l o c k e d . S o always try t h e sensible and quiet m e t h o d
of l e a s t r e s i s t a n c e f i r s t . If t h e d o o r is u n l o c k e d , o p e n
it i n o n e c o n t i n u o u s m o t i o n as y o u h o l d y o u r g u n
r e a d y t o f i r e . If t h e d o o r is a l r e a d y ajar, y o u m a y b e
a b l e t o m a n e u v e r it f u l l y o p e n b y u s i n g y o u r n i g h t -
stick, flashlight, a b r o o m h a n d l e or s o m e other
p r o b e t h a t a l l o w s y o u t o r e m a i n in p l a c e b e h i n d t h e
wall.

The fatal funnel in action. The two


black circles represent you and your
back-up standing in front of an open
door on a "shots-fired" call.

The problems start when you find


your field of vision inside the room is
restricted, even while standing in the
doorway.

O n the other hand, the suspect inside


the room has only one place to look
to discover your presence. This is why
you must always approach a doorway
outside and below the kill zone.

Here, you would be standing in the


fatal funnel: The only area the suspect
has for directing his firepower. Re-
gardless of his position, his visual
would be on you at all times.

62
T h e hinges can tell you w h e t h e r t h e door opens
o u t or i n . If t h e h i n g e p i n s a r e o n t h e o u t s i d e , t h e
door s h o u l d o p e n o u t ; t h e o f f i c e r n e a r e s t t h e d o o r -
k n o b w i l l get t h e first a n d w i d e s t v i e w of t h e r o o m .
If t h e h i n g e p i n s are i n s i d e , t h e d o o r s h o u l d o p e n i n ,
and the officer opposite the k n o b will get t h e quick-
est l o o k .
W i t h doors that open in, the officer nearest the
k n o b p u s h e s it i n . B e s u r e t o p u s h h a r d e n o u g h t h a t
t h e door b a n g s b a c k w i t h m a x i m u m f o r c e against
the wall behind it. If it f a i l s t o do s o , t h a t m a y b e a
c l u e t h a t a s u s p e c t is h i d i n g i n t h a t p o s i t i o n . O f f i -
c e r s e x p e r i e n c e d in s e a r c h i n g r o o m s k n o w t h i s i s a
f a v o r e d h i d i n g spot of a r m e d o f f e n d e r s . F r o m t h i s
vantage point, they can hear officers approaching
and n o t e t h e i r m o v e m e n t s t h r o u g h t h e c r a c k b e -
t w e e n t h e door and t h e f r a m e .

If t h e d o o r s w i n g s o u t w a r d , i n s t e a d of i n , t h e of-
f i c e r n e a r e s t t h e k n o b or h a n d l e g e t s it o p e n , t h e n
p u s h e s it t o h i s p a r t n e r , so t h a t n e i t h e r of y o u h a s
t o s t a n d or s t r e t c h f u l l y i n f r o n t of i t . G e t t h e d o o r
o p e n as fast as y o u c a n and w o r k f r o m a squatting
p o s i t i o n . T h i s w i l l p u t y o u at a l o w , u n e x p e c t e d
level should a suspect inside decide to shoot.

A proper position for two officers


responding to a call at a door which
opens in.

63
64
If t h e d o o r is l o c k e d a n d m a n p o w e r p e r m i t s ,
Tactical officers making entry to a
p o s t a s e n t r y t h e r e t o g u a r d it w h i l e y o u p r o c e e d door which opens outthe mobile home
with the search, eliminating other less resistant of a man who had opened fire on a
h i d i n g p l a c e s . W h e n m a n p o w e r ' s s h o r t or t h e r o o m parade. A rifle barrel is visible just
s e e m s a v e r y l i k e l y h i d e o u t or y o u ' v e c h e c k e d e v e r y above the police shotgun. Moments
p l a c e e l s e , try first t o g e t t h e d o o r o p e n w i t h a p a s s - before, a police officer had been killed.
key from the building m a n a g e r . . . o r t a k e t h e door
off i t s h i n g e s if t h e y are e x p o s e d . . . o r p o s s i b l y t e l e -
p h o n e t h e o f f i c e or a p a r t m e n t b e y o n d t h e d o o r and
see if a n y o n e is i n s i d e w h o ' l l a n s w e r a n d g i v e y o u
s o m e c l u e s t o w h o ' s t h e r e . If y o u m u s t f o r c e e n t r y ,
consider using a " s l a m p u l l e r " or " d e n t p u l l e r , " a
c o m m o n burglary tool available from m o s t auto
body repair shops. T h i s tool has a threaded screw on
t h e e n d t h a t f i t s i n t o t h e k e y w a y of a l o c k a n d pops
it o p e n w h e n t h e h e a v y w e i g h t o n t h e h a n d l e is
s l a m m e d b a c k h a r d . Y o u r l a s t r e s o r t is t o k i c k t h e
d o o r i n . M a n y doors w i l l defy t h e h a r d e s t k i c k s .
Y o u r b e s t c h a n c e is t o s t a n d at a n o b l i q u e a n g l e t o
t h e door, r a t h e r t h a n d i r e c t l y i n f r o n t of it, a n d k i c k
at t h e m o s t v u l n e r a b l e s p o t : a d j a c e n t t o t h e l o c k
system.

A s s u m e t h e door is o p e n e d b y o n e m e a n s or a n -
o t h e r a n d y o u a n d y o u r b a c k - u p are p o s i t i o n e d as w e
d e s c r i b e d e a r l i e r o n e i t h e r side of t h e d o o r w a y , b e -
l o w t h e l e v e l at w h i c h a s u s p e c t is m o s t l i k e l y t o
fire. N o w your c o m b i n e d vantage points should give
y o u a v i s u a l o n m o s t of t h e r o o m , p r o v i d e d t h e l i g h t
is a d e q u a t e . Y o u w o n ' t , h o w e v e r , b e a b l e t o s e e t o
t h e sides of y o u i m m e d i a t e l y o n t h e o t h e r s i d e of t h e
w a l l a m o n g t h e l i k e l i e s t s p o t s for a s u s p e c t t o b e
w a i t i n g . H e r e , o n e at a t i m e , y o u a n d y o u r p a r t n e r
c a n u s e t h e " q u i c k p e e k " t e c h n i q u e t o dart y o u r
h e a d s t h r o u g h t h e d o o r w a y a n d b a c k fast e n o u g h t o
s e e w h o or w h a t , if a n y t h i n g , is a l o n g t h e w a l l
you're each standing behind. R e m e m b e r , you can
m a k e t h i s m o v e m e n t in t h e l e a s t e x p e c t e d a n d saf-
e s t w a y b y p e e k i n g first at a l o w l e v e l , t h e n at a
h i g h l e v e l . . . a n d never looking from the same level
twice.
A n o t h e r option for c h e c k i n g around doorways
and c o r n e r s is t o u s e a s m a l l m i r r o r o n t h e e n d of a
p r o b e , w h i c h y o u c a n e a s i l y c a r r y in y o u r s h i r t or
hip p o c k e t . S o m e officers use an a u t o m e c h a n i c ' s
i n s p e c t i o n m i r r o r o n a t e l e s c o p i n g w a n d or a den-
t i s t ' s m i r r o r taped t o a n old car a e r i a l , b u t y o u ' l l get
better results with a mirror whose reflecting surface
is at l e a s t t w o i n c h e s in d i a m e t e r . A t a h a r d w a r e
or a u t o s u p p l y s t o r e y o u c a n b u y a p a r a b o l i c m i r r o r
of t h e t y p e a t t a c h e d to t h e side v i e w m i r r o r s of
t r u c k s a n d c a m p e r s . If it h a s a s e l f - a d h e s i v e b a c k ,
y o u c a n a t t a c h it d i r e c t l y t o t h e s u r f a c e of t h e s m a l -
ler d e n t a l or m e c h a n i c ' s m i r r o r . O r c o n s i d e r s i m p l y
h o l d i n g it c u p p e d i n y o u r h a n d . A n g l e d t h r o u g h a
d o o r w a y or a r o u n d a c o r n e r , t h e m i r r o r c a n r e f l e c t
a n y d a n g e r i n t h e r o o m or o n t h e o t h e r s i d e of t h e
wall, w h i l e you stay back, unexposed.
From the doorway, you m a y be able to seebut
n o t see i n t o o t h e r obvious potential hiding places,
l i k e a c l o s e t , f o r i n s t a n c e . If t h e s u s p e c t is t h e r e , y o u
m a y be able to bluff h i m out by issuing a verbal chal-
l e n g e f r o m y o u r p r o t e c t e d c o v e r p o s i t i o n . T h e i d e a is
t o a c t as if y o u k n o w h e is t h e r e s o if h e is h e ' l l f e e l
i t ' s h o p e l e s s t o do a n y t h i n g b u t s u r r e n d e r . If n o o n e
emerges from the hiding place, however, y o u ' l l still
n e e d t o c h e c k i t . A n d if t h e s u s p e c t i s , i n f a c t , w a i t -
ing t h e r e , h e ' l l n o w b e f u l l y a l e r t e d t o y o u r p r e s e n c e ,
so proceed w i t h e x t r e m e c a u t i o n .

The auto inspection minor is held


in your non-gun hand and slowly eased
around the corner with both hands
behind cover.

Your point of view in achieving a safe


visual on the suspect. If you turn the
book upside down, you will see an
armed suspect who's expecting to see
your bodynot a small mirror.
T o e n t e r t h e r o o m , move in low and fast, o n e at
a time, while the other covers. Your swiftest entry
for nanow d o o r w a y s is t h e " c r i s s - c r o s s . " T h e offi-
c e r on t h e r i g h t darts a c r o s s t h e t h r e s h o l d t o a n in-
side position on the left, and vice versa. Again, keep
low w h e n m o v i n g ; s o m e o f f i c e r s , o n c e t h e y s t a r t t o
m o v e , have a tendency to stand up, w h i c h m a k e s
t h e m easier targets. W i t h wide doorways, consider
keeping your b a c k close to the frame and ' 'wrapping
a r o u n d " swiftly to the other side, rather t h a n plung-
ing a c r o s s t h e o p e n i n g . T h i s p r e s e n t s a m i n i m u m
t a r g e t . W i t h e i t h e r m a n e u v e r , of c o u r s e , y o u w a n t t o
get o u t of t h e d o o r w a y a s q u i c k l y as p o s s i b l e .

The hallway search technique you want


to employ is one which provides con-
stant fire cover while your backup \A\
moves into position. As you [B\ ap-
proach each doorway from a kneeling
position, your back-up assumes a stand-
ing cover position. As you approach the
final doorway, your back-up now in
position A4, takes a position just short of
the doorway.

67
Inside, w i t h your b a c k against t h e wall, k n e e l in
your n e w p o s i t i o n and listen for sounds that m a y
signal t h e s u s p e c t ' s presence in t h e v i c i n i t y . U s e
y o u r o t h e r s e n s e s , t o o . O n e pair of o f f i c e r s , p a u s i n g
in a r o o m t h a t h a d j u s t b e e n e n t e r e d , " c a u g h t a
s m e l l of h u m a n f e a r t h e o d o r of f r e s h e x c r e -
m e n t " c o m i n g from beyond another door. Sure
enough, that pinpointed the suspect's location!
O n c e r o o m e n t r y is m a d e w h e r e p a r t n e r s are in-
v o l v e d , o n l y o n e o f f i c e r at a t i m e a c t i v e l y s e a r c h e s ,
w h i l e the other stays still and covers. At night or in
l o w - l i g h t s i t u a t i o n s , it m a y b e h a r d t o s e e y o u r
p a r t n e r as y o u m o v e a p a r t . S o if y o u s i m u l t a n e o u s l y
t r y t o s e a r c h d i f f e r e n t w a l l s , y o u m a y l o s e t r a c k of
o n e a n o t h e r ' s l o c a t i o n , i n c r e a s i n g t h e r i s k of s h o o t -
ing e a c h o t h e r b y m i s t a k e . Y o u ' r e safer h a v i n g o n e
r e m a i n s q u a t t e d n e a r t h e d o o r r e a d y t o p r o v i d e de-
fending fire, w h i l e t h e other m o v e s all t h e w a y down
o n e w a l l to t h e first corner.
If y o u ' r e t h e f i r s t s e a r c h i n g o f f i c e r , y o u c a n u s e
n o n - v e r b a l c o m m u n i c a t i o n l i k e o n e s n a p of y o u r
fingersto indicate you have reached the corner.
Y o u r partner can t h e n respond w i t h t w o snaps to in-
d i c a t e h e h a s h e a r d y o u a n d t h a t h e n o w is m o v i n g
along a n o t h e r w a l l w h i l e you provide cover. B y
c o n t i n u i n g to alternate in this fashion, t h e covering
o f f i c e r k e e p s a f i x o n h i s p a r t n e r ' s l o c a t i o n a n d is
free to s h o o t a n y w h e r e in the r o o m except along the
w a l l h i s p a r t n e r is s e a r c h i n g .
A s m u c h as p o s s i b l e , t r y t o s t a y b e h i n d b a r r i -
c a d e s , l i k e p i e c e s of f u r n i t u r e , a s y o u c a u t i o u s l y
m o v e a l o n g t h e w a l l s , a r o u n d t h e c i r c u m f e r e n c e of
t h e r o o m or t o w a r d t h e n e x t d o o r . Dont forget to al-
ways look up in searching the room. In s o m e places,
as i n r a f t e r s i n a h o m e garage or a l o f t i n a w a r e -
h o u s e , s u s p e c t s are a b l e t o h i d e a b o v e e y e - l e v e l ,
w h e r e officers operating in a r o u t i n e fashion often
neglect to c h e c k .
C o n t i n u e trying to keep your exact m o v e m e n t
as q u i e t as p o s s i b l e . B u t do not attempt to eliminate
noise that is already present. T h a t can give away
y o u r p o s i t i o n , t o o . In a n e a s t e r n c i t y , a n o f f i c e r
t u r n e d off a p o r t a b l e r a d i o t h a t w a s b l a r i n g a c i d r o c k
m u s i c w h e n h e entered a t e n e m e n t r o o m in search
of a " m a n w i t h a g u n . " T h e s u s p e c t , it t u r n e d o u t ,
w a s hiding in a closet, u n a b l e to see t h e officer. But
he k n e w e x a c t l y w h e r e the radio w a s . T h e m o m e n t
it c l i c k e d off, h e b u r s t o u t s h o o t i n g , w i t h deadly
accuracy.
Pay close attention to the doorway ahead. Offi-
cers in a Detroit narcotics case were completing
t h e i r s e a r c h of a l i v i n g r o o m w h i c h a p p e a r e d e m p t y ,
w h e n t h e y n o t i c e d t h e k n o b of a c l o s e d b e d r o o m
door turn slightly. S e c o n d s later, five s h o t s splin-
tered t h e door, but b e c a u s e t h e y had b e e n alert, t h e
officers had been able to take cover and escaped in-
j u r y . (In a s i t u a t i o n l i k e t h i s , it w o u l d b e r i s k y t o
fire b a c k t h r o u g h t h e c l o s e d d o o r u n l e s s y o u w e r e
certain t h e s u s p e c t w a s t h e only p e r s o n i n t h e r o o m .
If a h o s t a g e , a c h i l d or s o m e o t h e r i n n o c e n t p e r s o n
is t h e r e , t o o , y o u r firing a n d e n d a n g e r i n g t h e m c o u l d
be considered reckless conduct.)
In m o v i n g f o r w a r d , d o n ' t get s o e n g r o s s e d t h a t
y o u forget t o watch behind you. B y u s i n g o t h e r pas-
sageways and other rooms, a suspect m a y be able to
circle around behind you and a t t a c k . In s o m e cases,
y o u m a y b e a b l e t o rig up a w a r n i n g s y s t e m a g a i n s t
that threat. W h e n you c h e c k and pass by a door that
s w i n g s o u t i n t o a h a l l w a y or r o o m , c o n s i d e r w e d g -
ing it or m o v i n g s o m e s o r t of b a r r i e r i n f r o n t of i t .
If a n y o n e t r i e s t o c o m e t h r o u g h it t o g e t b e h i n d y o u ,
h e ' l l e i t h e r b e b l o c k e d e n t i r e l y or at l e a s t m a k e r a c k -
et t o a l e r t y o u .
If i t ' s n e c e s s a r y t o m o v e f r o m f l o o r t o f l o o r ,
avoid elevators. B e c a u s e they telegraph l o c a t i o n ,
c o n f i n e m o v e m e n t a n d o f f e r f e w if a n y c o v e r o p -
tions, they can be death traps. U s e the stairseven
if t h e c h a l l e n g e y o u f a c e is t h e s e a r c h of a h i g h - r i s e
building.

Field Interrogation

O n e of y o u r p a t r o l o b l i g a t i o n s , a s i d e f r o m r e -
s p o n d i n g t o s p e c i f i c a s s i g n m e n t s , is t o f i n d . . . s t o p . . .
and q u e s t i o n s u s p i c i o u s p e d e s t r i a n s y o u e n c o u n t e r
on your beat, according to procedures that legally
p e r m i t y o u t o do s o . T h e s e p e r s o n s m a y i n c l u d e
i n d i v i d u a l s w h o fit d e s c r i p t i o n s of w a n t e d p e r s o n s
or o t h e r s w h o s e a p p e a r a n c e . . . b e h a v i o r . . . a n d / o r l o -
cation strongly suggests the probability that t h e y are
involved in c r i m i n a l activities. S h o o t i n g s often oc-
c u r d u r i n g s u c h " f i e l d i n t e r r o g a t i o n s " or " p e d e s -
t r i a n s t o p s . " B e c a u s e t h e o f f i c e r is i n c l o s e p r o x -
i m i t y to the suspect and b e c a u s e the death rate from
armed c o n f r o n t a t i o n s tends to be inversely related
to d i s t a n c e , f a t a l i t i e s a r e q u i t e l i k e l y t o r e s u l t f r o m
t h e g u n f i r e u n l e s s a proper a p p r o a c h h a s b e e n
made first.
W h e n you see a person w h o bears investigation,
try first t o o b s e r v e h i m for a f e w m o m e n t s , w h e t h e r
y o u are in y o u r p a t r o l c a r or o n f o o t y o u r s e l f . T h e s e
extra m o m e n t s will allow you t i m e to c h e c k his
action...reinforce w h a t e v e r called your a t t e n t i o n to
h i m in t h e first p l a c e t o p r o v i d e p r o b a b l e c a u s e t o
detain...begin forming a plan for h o w to h a n d l e
h i m . . . c a l l for a b a c k - u p if y o u are w o r k i n g a l o n e . . .
a n d , p o s s i b l y , d e t e r m i n e w h e t h e r t h e s u s p e c t is
a r m e d . R e m e m b e r t h a t w i t h a n e s t i m a t e d 4Vi m i l -
lion people in t h e U . S . carrying c o n c e a l e d loaded
f i r e a r m s , t h i s is always & possibility.
If h e ' s w a l k i n g t o w a r d y o u w h e n y o u f i r s t s e e
h i m , l e t h i m p a s s b y y o u as if y o u are p a y i n g h i m n o
special a t t e n t i o n . Y o u w a n t to approach h i m from
b e h i n d , if p o s s i b l e , a n d f r o m a p o s i t i o n w h e r e c o v e r
is c l o s e b y if n e e d e d . If y o u s e e m t o i g n o r e h i m a s h e
p a s s e s , y o u m a y b e a b l e t o b u i l d a n e l e m e n t of sur-
prise into your challenge.
W h e n observing a suspect, scan h i m from top to
b o t t o m f o r h i n t s of a c o n c e a l e d f i r e a r m . A h a t t h a t ' s
sitting straight on his head w h e n it's styled to be
w o r n at a j a u n t y a n g l e m a y b e p o s i t i o n e d t o h e l p
b a l a n c e a revolver or s m a l l s e m i - a u t o m a t i c under-
n e a t h . A m a l e a d u l t w i t h o n e s i d e of h i s s h i r t t a i l o u t
m a y b e u s i n g it t o c o n c e a l a l o a d e d g u n . If h e ' s
w a l k i n g w i t h h i s c o a t o p e n or s l u n g o v e r h i s a r m i n
c o l d w e a t h e r o r if h e ' s w e a r i n g a j a c k e t w h e n i t ' s
hot, consider that he m a y be armed. Likewise, a
b u l g e at h i s b e l t - l i n e or a j a c k e t t h a t h a n g s h e a v y o n
o n e s i d e m a y b e s u s p i c i o u s . P e o p l e w h o are n o t a c -
c u s t o m e d t o c a r r y i n g a g u n o f t e n t o u c h t h e g u n as
t h e y w a l k , for r e a s s u r a n c e that i t ' s still there, to
p r a c t i c e r e a c h i n g for it a n d t o e n j o y t h e f e e l of i t s
presence. T h i s can be a particularly strong clue
w h e n p o t e n t i a l s u s p e c t s are a p p r o a c h i n g p e o p l e w h o
m a y b e i n t e n d e d r o b b e r y v i c t i m s . E v e n a l i m p or
s t i f f - l e g g e d w a l k m a y b e a w a r n i n g s i g n . In n e i g h b o r -
h o o d s w h e r e s t r e e t gang f i g h t s are c o m m o n , gang
m e m b e r s s o m e t i m e s carry s h o t g u n s to b a t t l e , strap-
ped t o t h e i r l e g s .

W h e n you believe y o u are dealing w i t h s o m e o n e


w h o m a y b e d a n g e r o u s , t r y t o e n g i n e e r t h e s t o p s o it
takes place away from crowded places like restau-
rants, public buildings, m o v i e theaters, bars, and in
s o m e m o r e isolated spot w h e r e i n n o c e n t civilians
are less l i k e l y t o be hit by any gunfire, to interfere
w i t h y o u r a c t i o n s or i n t e r v e n e o n b e h a l f of t h e s u s -
p e c t . If i t ' s n e c e s s a r y t o f o l l o w t h e s u s p e c t o n f o o t ,
you usually will w a n t to stay to his left rear. H e ' s
l i k e l y t o b e r i g h t - h a n d e d , ( a b o u t 9 0 p e r c e n t of t h e
p o p u l a t i o n i s ) , a n d if s o , t h i s p o s i t i o n w i l l r e q u i r e
that h e t u r n t h e farthest to shoot you, t h u s affording
y o u s l i g h t l y m o r e t i m e t o r e a c t . (An e x c e p t i o n t o
this rule m i g h t be w h e n good, q u i c k l y accessible
c o v e r s u c h as d o o r w a y s , t r e e s , p a r k e d c a r s or l i g h t
polesis to your right. T h e n your best option might
b e t o f o l l o w t o h i s r i g h t rear.) Maintain peak alert-
ness at all times. T h e s u s p e c t knows w h o h e is and
w h a t he has done, while you m a y n o t be certain. H e
m a y i n i t i a t e a d e a d l y a s s a u l t at a n y t i m e t o p r e v e n t
a r r e s t , w i t h o u t c o n c e r n for i n n o c e n t b y s t a n d e r s or
t h e c o n s e q u e n c e s of h i s a c t i o n s .
W h e n y o u k n o w or s t r o n g l y s u s p e c t a p e r s o n
you w a n t to question has a gun, you w a n t to pick a
location to stop h i m where you can be behind cover
or at l e a s t c o n c e a l e d f r o m v i e w b e f o r e y o u i s s u e a
c o m m a n d . T h i s is h i g h l y d e s i r a b l e e v e n w h e n y o u
h a v e n o e v i d e n c e h e is a r m e d . ( C o v e r p e r t a i n s t o
o b s t a c l e s t h a t a r e d i f f i c u l t or i m p o s s i b l e f o r b u l l e t s
t o p e n e t r a t e , s u c h as u t i l i t y p o l e s , m a i l b o x e s or f i r e
plugs. C o n c e a l m e n t m e a n s t h a t y o u a r e h i d d e n f r o m
view, though not necessarily shielded by a resistant
b a r r i e r . Y o u m a y b e c o n c e a l e d at n i g h t , for e x a m p l e ,
b e h i n d y o u r p a t r o l c a r ' s h e a d l i g h t s , if t h e s u s p e c t is
f a c i n g t o w a r d t h e m . ) I n s t o p p i n g a p o t e n t i a l l y dan-
gerous suspect, you want to have your gun drawn
and p o i n t e d at h i m b e f o r e y o u a d d r e s s h i m . A n d y o u
w a n t to be in a position w h e r e you can respond to
and b e p r o t e c t e d f r o m a n y s u d d e n t h r e a t . C o n s e -
quently, you avoid an approach like that m a d e by
t w o p a t r o l m e n in a southern city w h o responded to a
shooting in a residential area and spotted t h e sus-
pect walking along the street. W i t h their revolvers
still holstered and w i t h o u t taking cover outside
their patrol car, they called for h i m to stop. I n s t a n t -
ly, h e p u l l e d a . 3 8 f r o m h i s w a i s t b a n d a n d b e g a n
shooting into their patrol car. O n e officer w a s
w o u n d e d in t h e h e a d a n d t h i g h , t h e o t h e r f a t a l l y
s h o t in t h e f a c e . In n u m e r o u s o t h e r o f f i c e r f a t a l i t i e s ,
the v i c t i m s have approached suspects directly and
f r o n t a l l y l i k e t h e o f f - d u t y M a r y l a n d p o l i c e ser-
g e a n t w h o w a l k e d up a n d a n n o u n c e d h i m s e l f t o a
b a n k r o b b e r y s u s p e c t s i t t i n g at a b u s s t o p , w h o t h e n
drew a g u n and s h o t h i m i n t h e c h e s t . . .or t h e A r k a n -
sas p a t r o l m a n w h o s p o t t e d a s u b j e c t w a n t e d o n
w a r r a n t s at a s e r v i c e s t a t i o n a n d s t r o d e t o w a r d h i m
a s k i n g for i d e n t i f i c a t i o n ; t h e s u s p e c t p u l l e d o u t a
h a n d g u n i n s t e a d and s h o t t h e u n p r o t e c t e d o f f i c e r
t w i c e in the chest.

Ideally, you w a n t to be close enough w h e n you


initiate the stop that y o u d o n ' t have to run and get
o u t of b r e a t h t o r e a c h t h e s u s p e c t , b u t n o t s o c l o s e
t h a t h e c a n l u n g e for y o u a n d s t a r t f i g h t i n g . A l s o , y o u
want a spot that l i m i t s his possible a v e n u e s for
escape.

Y o u r order t o s t o p , g i v e n f r o m a p o s i t i o n of
c o v e r , s h o u l d b e explicit...direct...forceful: "Police!
D o n ' t m o v e ! I w a n t t o t a l k t o y o u . " If h i s b a c k is n o t
already t o y o u , order h i m t o t u r n a r o u n d i m m e -
d i a t e l y so h e c a n ' t w a t c h w h a t y o u ' r e d o i n g . If h i s
h a n d s are in h i s p o c k e t s or a n y w h e r e w h e r e y o u
c a n ' t see t h e m , you w a n t h i m to keep t h e m there
u n t i l a f t e r h e is f a c i n g a w a y f r o m y o u . If h e ' s g o i n g
to c o m e out w i t h a firearm, it'll be harder for h i m
t o s h o o t y o u if h e h a s t o t u r n a r o u n d f i r s t t o f i n d
you.
72
If you had responded to this call in
which a knife-wielding man is re-
ported to be acting in a bizarre fashion,
how would you have approached him!
Keep in m i n d that your suspect m a y n o t be
cooperative in the least. Even your pointing a gun
at h i m m a y n o t s c a r e h i m . T h e n y o u s h o u l d c a l l
for b a c k - u p a n d , from a position of cover, continue
to repeat your voice c o m m a n d s u n t i l help arrives.
O n c e h e ' s i n a p o s i t i o n of r e l a t i v e w e a k n e s s
and y o u ' r e i n p o s i t i o n t o r e s p o n d t o s u d d e n t h r e a t ,
c o n c e n t r a t e o n g e t t i n g h i s hands in view. T h e y are
the m o s t dangerous thing about any suspect from
y o u r p o i n t of v i e w . If t h e y ' r e in h i s p o c k e t s , t e l l h i m
t o r e m o v e t h e m " v e r y , v e r y s l o w l y , " w i t h h i s el-
b o w s e x t e n d e d a w a y f r o m h i s b o d y . E v e n if h e h a s
n o g u n in h i s h a n d , order h i m t o r a i s e h i s h a n d s as
h i g h as p o s s i b l e o v e r h i s h e a d a n d s l o w l y t u r n com-
pletely a r o u n d , w h i l e y o u c h e c k for g u n s i n h i s
w a i s t b a n d . If y o u see a n y w e a p o n s , i m m e d i a t e l y
order h i m o n t o t h e g r o u n d , f a c e - d o w n , h e a d a w a y
f r o m y o u , a r m s o u t , p a l m s u p . W i t h y o u r p a r t n e r or
b a c k - u p p r o v i d i n g c o v e r , t h e n a p p r o a c h h i m as y o u
would an incapacitated suspect.
W h e r e n o w e a p o n s are v i s i b l e , h a v e h i m s t a n d
w i t h h i s b a c k t o y o u and t e l l h i m t o i n t e r l a c e h i s
f i n g e r s b e h i n d h i s h e a d , p u s h i n g t h e m t o g e t h e r as
hard as h e c a n . Y o u c a n t a l k t o h i m f r o m a d i s t a n c e
i n t h i s p o s i t i o n , and if y o u d e c i d e t o a p p r o a c h for
c l o s e r i n s p e c t i o n a n d i n t e r r o g a t i o n , y o u c a n grasp
t h e t o p t h r e e f i n g e r s of o n e of h i s h a n d s w i t h y o u r
n o n - g u n h a n d a n d s q u e e z e t h e m t o g e t h e r as a m e a n s
of c o n t r o l l i n g h i m w h i l e y o u h a n d c u f f a n d f r i s k h i m .
B e c a u s e of t h e i n t e r l a c i n g , e v e n s l i g h t p r e s s u r e o n
his fingers will inflict considerable pain and keep
h i m at a d i s a d v a n t a g e . Y o u m a y a l s o w a n t h i m o n
h i s k n e e s w i t h h i s legs c r o s s e d at t h e a n k l e s t o fur-
ther incapacitate h i m .
If y o u a r e m a k i n g a n a r r e s t , t h e s u s p e c t ( s )
s h o u l d b e h a n d c u f f e d at first o p p o r t u n i t y a n d t h e n
thoroughly searched. W h e n searching an offender,
a l w a y s h u n t in t h e l i k e l i e s t p l a c e for a g u n f i r s t . A
The suspect's hands may be in his
pockets to conceal a loaded gun, or
maybe his hands are just cold. Initially,
you have no way of knowing.
Your first step involves a verbal com-
mand to extend his elbows outward,
then slowly to withdraw his hands.
Next he places the gun on the ground
with the muzzle pointed away from
both of you.

74
highway p a t r o l m a n w h o stopped to investigate a
h i t c h h i k e r on a turnpike in Kansas ignored this rule
and s t a r t e d h i s s e a r c h b y g o i n g t h r o u g h t h e s u b j e c t ' s
gear. T h e h i t c h h i k e r w a s a l l o w e d t o s t a n d b y u n -
h a n d c u f f e d and w i t h o u t h a v i n g b e e n p a t t e d d o w n .
A s it t u r n e d o u t , h e w a s w a n t e d for m u r d e r in N e w
Y o r k S t a t e . W h i l e t h e t r o o p e r w a s p r o b i n g h i s lug-
gage, t h e s u s p e c t d r e w a . 3 2 c a l . r e v o l v e r f r o m h i s
waistband and fatally shot t h e officer in t h e head.
In s o m e c a s e s , f i e l d i n t e r r o g a t i o n w i l l r e q u i r e
less d r a s t i c m e a s u r e s t h a n w e ' v e o u t l i n e d h e r e , at
l e a s t i n i t i a l l y . Y o u m a y , for e x a m p l e , n e e d t o ap-
p r o a c h a w i t n e s s or c o m p l a i n a n t f o r q u e s t i o n i n g .
W i t h a n y o n - f o o t a p p r o a c h , a l w a y s s t a n d at a n o b -
lique angle to t h e subject; that is, w i t h your n o n - g u n
side t u r n e d t o w a r d h i m s o t h a t y o u r f a c e , e y e s ,
groin and k n e e c a p s t h e m o s t easily damaged areas
of y o u r b o d y a r e p r o t e c t e d . Never stand with your
gun side exposed to anyone for conversation or ques-
tioning. Even with a seemingly " h a r m l e s s " subject,
try t o p o s i t i o n y o u r s e l f s o s o m e c o v e r is b e t w e e n t h e
t w o of y o u or n e a r b y , a n d c l o s e r t o y o u t h a n t o h i m .
If h e s u d d e n l y p r e s e n t s a g u n , y o u d o n ' t w a n t h i m t o
get t o t h e n e a r e s t c o v e r f i r s t .
Y o u s h o u l d c o n s i d e r a d i s t a n c e a r o u n d y o u of
at least three feet as y o u r " s a f e t y z o n e . " C l o s e r
t h a n t h a t , t h e d a n g e r t h a t y o u w i l l b e s t r u c k or t h a t
a n a t t e m p t w i l l b e m a d e t o g r a b y o u r g u n is v a s t l y
m u l t i p l i e d . Street-wise suspects m a y try to p e n e t r a t e
t h i s z o n e b y : f e i g n i n g d e a f n e s s i n order t o d r a w
closer...acting " c o o l , " polite and c o u r t e o u s to
blunt your alertness...trying diversionary tactics
s u c h as s p l i t t i n g apart w h e n t h e r e a r e t w o o r m o r e
s u s p e c t s . . . o r by holding i d e n t i f i c a t i o n papers close
t o t h e b o d y in h o p e s y o u ' l l r e a c h o u t or s t e p n e a r e r
t o get t h e m . Don't permit anyone to move in closer
than 36 inches or try to touch you.
H a v i n g b e g u n a n i n t e r r o g a t i o n of a s u s p e c t or
w i t n e s s , keep h i m in sight, in your i m m e d i a t e pres-
e n c e . Never turn your back on a suspect or p e r m i t
h i m to m o v e where you c a n ' t see. H e m a y be head-
ing t o get a g u n f r o m a n o t h e r l o c a t i o n . A s h e r i f f i n
W y o m i n g encountered a m a n on a ranch road w h o
had been drinking and reportedly threatening sui-
cide. T h e sheriff talked w i t h h i m a bit, t h e n w a l k e d
w i t h h i m t o w a r d t h e m a n ' s n e a r b y c a b i n . H e al-
l o w e d t h e s u s p e c t t o go i n s i d e , o u t of s i g h t , w h i l e
i e w a i t e d i n t h e yard t o r e s u m e t h e c o n v e r s a t i o n ,
n s t e a d of c o m i n g b a c k o u t , t h o u g h , t h e s u s p e c t
:
ired a . 3 0 - . 3 0 cal. rifle through t h e cabin w i n d o w ,
l i t t i n g t h e s h e r i f f i n t h e c h e s t a n d k i l l i n g h i m in-
stantly. T h e assailant t h e n turned the gun on h i m - Any suspect can be armed, especially a
self and c o m m i t t e d s u i c i d e . T h e k e e p - i n - s i g h t p r i n - man wearing a suit. Here you can see 13
:iple a p p l i e s , of c o u r s e , w h e n y o u are q u e s t i o n i n g of the 17 firearms which are secreted on
this person's body.
o m e o n e i n d o o r s as w e l l as o u t d o o r s . M o r e t h a n o n e

75
officer has b e e n slain w h e n t h e suspect in a d o m e s t i c
d i s t u r b a n c e , for e x a m p l e , m o m e n t a r i l y d u c k e d i n t o
a b e d r o o m during interrogationand emerged w i t h
his t r u s t y deer rifle, ready for a c t i o n .
S o m e t i m e s , i t ' s n e c e s s a r y for y o u t o q u e s t i o n
s u s p e c t s i n a p a r k e d c a r . H e r e y o u c a n order t h e m
o u t of t h e v e h i c l e if y o u a r e b e h i n d c o v e r . O r , if y o u
c a n a p p r o a c h w i t h o u t b e i n g s e e n , a n o t h e r o p t i o n is
t o c o m e up l o w b e h i n d t h e r i g h t r e a r f e n d e r of t h e i r
car, w h e r e y o u ' l l be able to see inside, and use that
as y o u r p r o t e c t e d p o s i t i o n . If y o u are w a l k i n g t o w a r d
t h e s u s p e c t s w h e n y o u first s p o t t h e m , y o u p a s s b y ,
faking disinterest, and then quickly whirl and take
p o s i t i o n b e h i n d t h e b a c k f e n d e r . Y o u r p a r t n e r or
back-up should assume another protected position
t h a t p u t s h i m at a d i f f e r e n t a n g l e f r o m t h e c a r , w h e r e
he can cover y o u w i t h o u t exposing y o u to cross-fire.
(You should not attempt to question more than two
suspects in a car by yourself.) As y o u r e a c h t h e fend-
er, slap it s h a r p l y w i t h y o u r n o n - g u n h a n d t o a t t r a c t
t h e s u s p e c t s ' a t t e n t i o n a n d at t h e s a m e t i m e f i r m l y
In conducting a field interview, posi- direct t h e m to face forward and not m o v e . G e t their
tion yourself at an angle to the subject, h a n d s i n s i g h t o n t h e s t e e r i n g w h e e l , o n t o p of t h e
and keep your gun side away from his d a s h b o a r d or b e h i n d t h e i r h e a d s , or order t h e m t o
immediate reach. h a n g t h e i r h a n d s o u t of t h e w i n d o w s , b e f o r e b e g i n -
ning any field interrogation.
T h e r e ' s a l w a y s t h e p o s s i b i l i t y , of c o u r s e , t h a t
t h e person y o u ' v e singled out for field interrogation
is n o t g u i l t y of w r o n g d o i n g . In t h a t c a s e , a p o l o g i z e
and explain w h a t prompted y o u to detain h i m :
" Y o u r vehicle resembled one w a n t e d on a bur-
g l a r y , " or " Y o u ' r e d r e s s e d l i k e (or h a v e t h e s a m e
p h y s i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s as) s o m e o n e w a n t e d for
h o m i c i d e , " or " W e w e r e t o l d y o u b e a t u p y o u r
w i f e , " e t c . M o s t people will accept an e x p l a n a t i o n
a n d a n a p o l o g y for t h e i r i n c o n v e n i e n c e if y o u e m -
ploy an understanding m a n n e r , w i t h o u t arrogance.
Don't fail to quiz people who arouse your
suspicions merely because you fear embarrassing
them. M o s t civilians on legitimate business can
e a s i l y p r o v e i t . A n d e v e n if t h e y a r e n ' t g r a c i o u s
e n o u g h t o a c c e p t y o u r e x p l a n a t i o n f o r a c t i n g as y o u
did, i t ' s b e t t e r t o h a v e t a k e n s t e p s t h a t a l l o w y o u t o
be around to answer their complaint tomorrow than
for t h e r e t o b e n o t o m o r r o w .

Traffic Stops
Few patrol events s e e m m o r e " r o u t i n e " than
v e h i c l e pullovers, yet in an average year 12 per c e n t
of o f f i c e r s k i l l e d a r e s h o t w h i l e d e t a i n i n g m o t o r i s t s .

76
Y o u m a y be a t t a c k e d e v e n b e f o r e y o u a r e o u t of
your patrol car. A young city p a t r o l m a n in M i s s o u r i
was killed still behind his steering wheel, w h e n a
s t o p p e d driver l e a p e d o u t a n d fired t h r e e s h o t s f r o m
a . 1 2 ga. s h o t g u n i n t o t h e p a t r o l c a r ' s w i n d s h i e l d .
O r v i o l e n c e m a y o c c u r a f t e r y o u think e v e r y t h i n g is
under c o n t r o l a s in t h e Florida case w h e r e a high-
way patrolman was calmly checking a cooperative
driver's identification w h e n a passenger, w h o had
appeared t o b e a s l e e p , s u d d e n l y p o p p e d u p a n d
o p e n e d fire w i t h a . 2 2 p i s t o l .
Dangerous m o t o r i s t s and passengers c a n n o t
a l w a y s b e i d e n t i f i e d i n a d v a n c e . T h i s is w h y it is s o
c r i t i c a l t o control y o u r s t o p . P e o p l e y o u s t o p m a y
have b e e n involved in a c r i m e you k n o w n o t h i n g
a b o u t a n d fear y o u w i l l m a k e t h e c o n n e c t i o n . O r t h e
traffic v i o l a t i o n alone m a y k i n d l e an angry, violent
r e a c t i o n . T h e c o n s t r u c t i o n of m o s t v e h i c l e s w o r k s
against you, allowing m u c h to be hidden from your
view during your approach, including w e a p o n s and
s o m e o c c u p a n t s . C o n s e q u e n t l y , in order to have t h e
advantage should shooting start, your best m e n t a l
a t t i t u d e is o n e t h a t a c k n o w l e d g e s , " T h i s t i m e I
r e a l l y c o u l d go d o w n " e v e n if y o u r " s u s p e c t " is
a n 8 5 - y e a r - o l d w o m a n w i t h b l u e h a i r , s t o p p e d for
having no tail light. Vehicle approaches should be
Eight bullet holes in this windshield
v i e w e d as t a c t i c a l e x e r c i s e s regardless of t h e m o -
capture the eeriness of a non-felony
t o r i s t i n v o l v e d . R e p e t i t i o n of g o o d t a c t i c s f o r m s stop which became a fatal stop. Two
good t a c t i c a l h a b i t s . undercover officers died inside this car.

77
W h i l e y o u are s t i l l f o l l o w i n g t h e c a r y o u i n t e n d
to stop, relay the license n u m b e r and description to
c o m m u n i c a t i o n s to run a N a t i o n a l C r i m e Informa-
tion C e n t e r (NCIC) c o m p u t e r c h e c k . T h i s m a y give
y o u s o m e w a r n i n g of t r o u b l e . If t h e v e h i c l e h a s b e e n
r e p o r t e d s t o l e n o r i n v o l v e d i n a c r i m e or t h e r e are
w a n t s or w a r r a n t s o n t h e o w n e r , y o u w a n t t o k n o w
it before y o u i n i t i a t e t h e s t o p . T h e s a m e is t r u e ,
of c o u r s e , if y o u r e c o g n i z e t h e v e h i c l e or i t s o c c u -
pants from a " w a n t e d " description.

N O N - F E L O N Y S T O P : E v e n if y o u r p r e l i m i n a r y
l i c e n s e c h e c k c o m e s b a c k " c l e a r " a n d it a p p e a r s at
the outset that you will be m a k i n g only a misde-
m e a n o r or s u s p i c i o u s v e h i c l e s t o p r a t h e r t h a n a
full-fledged felony pullover, t h e r e ' s n o assurance,
of c o u r s e , t h a t t h e v e h i c l e y o u ' r e h a l t i n g d o e s n o t
c o n t a i n guns and people ready to use t h e m . A
m o t o r i s t m a y g i v e e v e r y a p p e a r a n c e of b e i n g a n o r -
m a l c i v i l i a n up t o t h e l a s t m o m e n t . In O k l a h o m a , a
young t r u c k driver w h o had done n o m o r e than
c o m m i t a m i n o r traffic infraction ignited a police
killing spree w h e n a city m a r s h a l stopped h i m to
issue a t i c k e t . Enraged, the driver murdered the
m a r s h a l w i t h a . 1 2 ga. s h o t g u n , t h e n l a t e r k i l l e d a n
a u x i l i a r y o f f i c e r a n d a s h e r i f f ' s d e p u t y and c r i t i c a l l y
w o u n d e d a police chief w h o tried to arrest h i m .
Keep in m i n d that m o r e officers are killed during
n o n - f e l o n y p u l l o v e r s , b e c a u s e t h e i r g u a r d is d o w n
and t h e y are n o t anticipating t r o u b l e .
W h e n y o u ' r e pulling over w h a t s e e m s to be an
" o r d i n a r y d r i v e r " for a m i s d e m e a n o r , g i v e c o m -
m u n i c a t i o n s your exact location and the car license
n u m b e r a n d d e s c r i p t i o n . // you're alone, the dis-
patcher will be your only partner. Y o u want to keep
The outcome of a non-felony stop.
c o m m u n i c a t i o n s as i n f o r m e d as p o s s i b l e . B e s u r e
The blood in the roadway is from an
officer who was shot in the face, then h e r e s p o n d s t o all y o u r i n q u i r i e s a n d m e s s a g e s
returned fire to the driver who lies before y o u l e a v e y o u r p a t r o l c a r .
dead in front of the patrol car door. Don't rush. If t h e w e a t h e r is i n c l e m e n t , y o u
m a y h a v e t h e t e n d e n c y t o g e t o u t of y o u r p a t r o l car
a n d get b a c k as f a s t as p o s s i b l e . B u t r e m e m b e r , t h e
t i m e w h e n both vehicles have c o m e to a stop with
e n g i n e s s t i l l r u n n i n g is c r u c i a l . E r r o r s y o u m a k e
then m a y backfire a few m o m e n t s later. Alertness
and c a u t i o n are m a n d a t o r y . D o n ' t let your c o n c e r n
for y o u r o w n c r e a t u r e c o m f o r t s d i v e r t y o u f r o m a
good survival attitude.
As y o u radio in i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t t h e stop,
v i s u a l l y e x a m i n e t h e v e h i c l e . M a k e a h a b i t of l o o k -
ing f o r c l u e s w h i c h m a y i n d i c a t e s o m e t h i n g is
a m i s s . Is t h e l i c e n s e p l a t e p r o p e r l y s e c u r e d , o r is it
a f f i x e d in a m a n n e r or i n a c o n d i t i o n t h a t m a y i n d i -
c a t e it is s t o l e n ? A r e p a s s e n g e r s r e v e a l i n g u n d u e
concern about your presence? T h i s m a y be indicated
by facial expressions, excited conversations, e t c .

78
Y o u w a n t t o be sure all doors are closed completely,
t o l e s s e n t h e c h a n c e of t h e d r i v e r or a p a s s e n g e r
s u d d e n l y l e a n i n g o u t a n d s h o o t i n g , or s e t t i n g off a
f i r e a r m b u i l t i n t o t h e door. T h e t r u n k lid, t o o ,
should be closed tight, w i t h its l o c k in place. In
s o m e cases, armed suspects have hidden in t r u n k s
and t h e n h a v e s u d d e n l y t h r o w n t h e lid u p t o c o n -
f r o n t u n s u s p e c t i n g o f f i c e r s , o r t h e y ' v e s h o t at offi-
cers through the hole left by a pulled l o c k . W h e n
y o u ' r e d e a l i n g w i t h a v a n or r e c r e a t i o n a l v e h i c l e ,
y o u m a y w a n t t o order t h e d r i v e r o u t a n d h a v e h i m
o p e n t h e rear d o o r s for y o u so y o u c a n s e e i n s i d e ,
on the c h a n c e a r m e d passengers are hiding there,
ready t o s h o o t . H e r e y o u h a v e y o u r s i d e a r m o u t , b u t
not in plain v i e w . Y o u open your door slightly and
position yourself b e h i n d your w i n d s h i e l d post so
t h a t y o u r h e a d and c h e s t a r e g i v e n s o m e c o v e r p r o -
t e c t i o n . W i t h you staying in this s o m e w h a t pro-
tected position, the driver's body, n o t yours, is
l i k e l y t o b e i n t h e l i n e of a n y g u n f i r e .
W i t h ordinary vehicles w h e r e the driver re-
m a i n s i n s i d e , w a t c h h i s s h o u l d e r s a n d t h o s e of a n y
p a s s e n g e r s for m o v e m e n t s t h a t m a y s u g g e s t t h e y a r e
d r a w i n g or a i m i n g a f i r e a r m . If t h e y r e a c h i n t o t h e
g l o v e b o x , u n d e r a s e a t or a b o v e a s u n v i s o r , t h e y
m a y b e g o i n g for a g u n . If y o u s e e a n y f u r t i v e or
u n u s u a l m o v e m e n t , order t h e d r i v e r a n d o t h e r s t o
r e m a i n in t h e v e h i c l e w i t h t h e i r h a n d s i n p l a i n v i e w .
I m m e d i a t e l y c a l l for b a c k - u p a n d g e t t o c o v e r . It
m a y be n e c e s s a r y f r o m t h a t p o i n t f o r w a r d t o t r e a t
t h e i n c i d e n t as a felony traffic stop.
D o n o t , as s o m e o f f i c e r s s e e m p r o n e t o d o ,
a l l o w a driver t o a p p r o a c h y o u r p a t r o l c a r t o d i s p l a y
h i s l i c e n s e or r e g i s t r a t i o n . If h e s t a r t s t o w a r d y o u ,
order h i m t o s t o p and b e s u r e y o u c a n s e e h i s h a n d s .
A driver in I n d i a n a a p p r o a c h e d a l i e u t e n a n t d u r i n g a
traffic s t o p w i t h h i s h a n d s b e h i n d h i s b a c k t h e n ,
it close range, suddenly produced a .45 semi-
a u t o m a t i c and fatally shot t h e l i e u t e n a n t in t h e
;hest.
W h e n you are ready to approach t h e stopped
v e h i c l e , y o u w a n t h i s m o t o r t u r n e d off b e f o r e y o u
; x i t , a l t h o u g h y o u l e a v e yours on. C o n s i d e r h a v i n g
:he o f f e n d e r t u r n h i s w h e e l s t o t h e r i g h t , t o i n h i b i t
l i s driving off. U s e y o u r e x t e r i o r s p e a k e r t o t e l l
l i m , if y o u h a v e t o . If h i s m o t o r ' s r u n n i n g as y o u
ipproach, h e m a y try t o g u n t h e c a r b a c k w a r d s a n d
:rush y o u b e t w e e n t h e v e h i c l e s or d i s a b l e y o u r
>atrol c a r a n d t h e n drive off. O n s o m e v e h i c l e s ,
vhen the m o t o r ' s on, a closed trunk can be opened
lutomatically from the inside.
As you prepare to exit your patrol car, crank
'our steering wheel to the left. It s o m e o n e t r i e s t o
h o o t y o u as y o u s t e p o u t , y o u m a y b e a b l e t o drop
iehind t h e w h e e l f o r l i m i t e d c o v e r . A l s o , it w i l l
offer s o m e p r o t e c t i o n t o y o u r l e g s f r o m l o w i n c o m -
ing b u l l e t s r i c o c h e t i n g off t h e p a v e m e n t . A s y o u
exit yo u r car, consider placing your radio m i c r o -
p h o n e outside t h e w i n d o w b e h i n d your side mirror
for f a s t a c c e s s i b i l i t y .
If y o u a r e w o r k i n g w i t h a p a r t n e r , h e s h o u l d
f l a n k o u t o n t h e p a s s e n g e r s i d e o p p o s i t e y o u r ap-
proach to a protected position w h e r e h e can l o o k
d i r e c t l y i n t o t h e s i d e a n d r e a r w i n d o w s of t h e
s t o p p e d v e h i c l e , p e r h a p s c o n c e a l e d b e h i n d a t r e e or
utility pole. H e will t h e n be able to see into the
v e h i c l e f r o m a d i f f e r e n t a n g l e t h a n y o u c a n . If h e ' s
hidden from the occupants, he can unobtrusively
d r a w h i s s i d e a r m or a i m h i s s h o t g u n a n d h a v e it
r e a d y t o d e f e n d y o u at a n y h i n t of t r o u b l e . E v e n if
t h e y see h i m , his presence in s u c h an u n e x p e c t e d
position can be psychologically unnerving to an
a r m e d s u s p e c t a n d m a y c o n v i n c e h i m t h a t t h e odds
a g a i n s t h i m are o v e r w h e l m i n g . Y o u r p a r t n e r s h o u l d
b e c a r e f u l , of c o u r s e , n o t t o t a k e a p o s i t i o n w h e r e
he would be jeopardized by cross-fire from your
sidearm in t h e event you have to shoot, or v i c e
versa.

As you walk toward the vehicle, consider un-


snapping t h e security strap on your h o l s t e r and
resting your strong hand o n your gun b u t t , in
p o s i t i o n t o d r a w y o u r w e a p o n w i t h o u t d e l a y if
necessary. Y o u can give this hand position a non-
threatening appearance by also resting your w e a k
hand on your other hip. Y o u will then seem merely
to be approaching in a s o m e w h a t sauntering pos-
t u r e , a l t h o u g h i n f a c t y o u are r e a d y f o r t r o u b l e .
A n a l t e r n a t i v e is t o c a r r y a d o u b l e c i t a t i o n b o o k
or m e t a l c l i p b o a r d w i t h a t h i c k s h e a f of p a p e r s i n
your n o n - g u n hand. Should an a r m e d offender start
shooting w h i l e still sitting in his car, these i t e m s
m a y s t o p or d e f l e c t s o m e b u l l e t s w h i l e l e a v i n g y o u r
g u n h a n d f r e e . B u l l e t - r e s i s t a n t c l i p b o a r d s are a v a i l -
a b l e , w h i c h a r e l i g h t a n d u n o b t r u s i v e , y e t offer
protection against m a n y handgun rounds.
D u r i n g your approach to the driver, w a t c h the
interior through the rear w i n d o w . W i t h your eyes
on the v e h i c l e ' s o c c u p a n t s , t o u c h the t r u n k c r a c k to
b e s u r e t h e lid is s t i l l s h u t , t h e n g l a n c e i n t o t h e b a c k
s e a t f o r f i r e a r m s o r h i d d e n p a s s e n g e r s . S t a y close t o
t h e v e h i c l e as y o u m o v e f o r w a r d . T h i s m a y m a k e it
harder for t h e driver to see y o u and c e r t a i n l y m o r e
d i f f i c u l t for h i m t o t u r n a n d f i r e at y o u t h r o u g h h i s
side w i n d o w .
S t a t i s t i c a l l y , y o u ' v e e n t e r e d t h e z o n e of g r e a t e s t
danger o n c e y o u ' v e reached the v e h i c l e . The
c h a n c e s of y o u r s i d e a r m b e i n g g r a b b e d or y o u r b e i n g
c o n f r o n t e d by a w e a p o n f r o m inside are greatest
f r o m h e r e o n . S o y o u w a n t t o do w h a t y o u c a n to
k e e p t h e o t h e r g u y off b a l a n c e .
81
Don't stop directly opposite the driver's win-
dow. B y s t a n d i n g s l i g h t l y behind his door, you have
a v i s u a l i n s i d e b u t y o u m a k e it a w k w a r d for h i m t o
s e e or r e a c h y o u . If h e t r i e s t o f l i n g h i s d o o r o p e n ,
y o u w i l l n o t b e s t r u c k or k n o c k e d off b a l a n c e a n d
y o u m a y b e a b l e t o s l a m it s h u t w i t h a h a r d t h r u s t of
y o u r n o n - g u n h a n d or l e f t k n e e . D o n ' t b e c o n c e r n e d
that h e has to twist to hand you his driver's li-
cense; he'll have to twist to shoot you, too. And in
the extra split-second that takes h i m , you can be
r e a c t i n g t o r e g a i n c o n t r o l . Remain watchful. Hold
t h e l i c e n s e and c i t a t i o n b o o k up in your non-gun
hand so that the driver and any other o c c u p a n t s
r e m a i n w i t h i n your peripheral vision, and your
s i d e a r m h a n d is f r e e . T o h e l p y o u k e e p t r a c k of t h e
d r i v e r ' s h a n d s , e s p e c i a l l y if h e a p p e a r s n e r v o u s , y o u
m a y want to instruct h i m to keep t h e m on the
s t e e r i n g w h e e l . If y o u w a n t h i m t o s t e p f r o m t h e
v e h i c l e , o p e n t h e d o o r for h i m s o h e k e e p s h i s h a n d s
i n s i g h t . M o v e b a c k w a r d w i t h t h e s w i n g of t h e d o o r
so y o u c a n m a i n t a i n a v i s u a l o n t h e d r i v e r a n d pas-
sengers. Generally, however, you'll have better
c o n t r o l if e v e r y o n e s t a y s i n s i d e .

Still another approach option on a As you approach, touch the trunk


suspicious pullover is to unholster your crack while maintaining a visual on
sidearm and keep it in this position as the interior.
you advance toward the driver. From
the driver's point of view, your sidearm
is invisible.

82
n yourself close to the driver's
it back far enough so he can't
u with his door.
What do you observe on this non-
felony stop! If you did not immediate
notice the semi-automatic in front of
the gear selector, you need to re-evah
your ability to perceive danger.
Stay alert against distractions. Passengers m u s t
b e w a t c h e d , as w e l l as t h e d r i v e r . T h e y a r e o f t e n t h e
g u n m e n (or w o m e n ) i n t r a f f i c s t o p s h o o t i n g s . F e -
m a l e d r i v e r s or p a s s e n g e r s c a n p o s e a p a r t i c u l a r
t h r e a t i n t h i s regard, b e c a u s e t h e y m a y t r y t o d i v e r t
y o u r a t t e n t i o n w i t h s e x u a l m a n e u v e r s . M a n y offi-
cers s u c c u m b a l m o s t i n s t i n c t i v e l y n o t so m u c h to
s e x y talk, w h i c h m a y c o m e a c r o s s as a n o b v i o u s
p l o y , b u t a show of s e x , w h i c h is h a r d e r t o i g n o r e .
D u r i n g a survival exercise in California, a f e m a l e
v o l u n t e e r in s i m u l a t e d traffic stops was told to turn
i n h e r s e a t w h e n o f f i c e r s a p p r o a c h e d h e r c a r , so t h a t
her skirt hiked up to expose her bikini panties.
O f f i c e r s i n v o l v e d w e r e w a r n e d a h e a d of t i m e t h a t
the w o m a n w a s " a r m e d " and would try to " k i l l "
t h e m . Y e t every m a n f l a s h e d h i s e y e s f r o m h e r h a n d s
to her thighs the m o m e n t her skirt w e n t up. All
w e r e " s h o t " o n t h e s p o t . H u m a n n a t u r e is v e r y
predictable.

Whatever the driver is doing, your


best visual is with his hands in the
steering wheel area.
After completing your contact with
the driver, walk back to your patrol
car while maintaining a visual on the
driver. Then wait until the vehicle has
re-entered traffic before you assume
the traffic stop is concluded.

You want to return to your patrol car to write


any citation. It y o u r e m a i n at t h e d r i v e r ' s d o o r , y o u
i n v i t e a v e r b a l c o n f r o n t a t i o n , y o u are m o r e e a s i l y
d i s t r a c t e d and y o u a r e d a n g e r o u s l y c l o s e s h o u l d
s o m e o n e in t h e suspect v e h i c l e decide to take y o u
o n . W r i t e t h e c i t a t i o n i n a p o s i t i o n t h a t ' s t o your
a d v a n t a g e a n d never while standing directly be-
hind the suspect vehicle.
W h e n for t h i s or a n y o t h e r r e a s o n y o u n e e d t o
r e t u r n t o y o u r p a t r o l car, w a l k w i t h y o u r h e a d c o n -
t i n u a l l y t u r n e d b a c k or walk backwards, keeping a
visual on the occupants. T h i s m a y s e e m embarrass-
ing or o v e r r e a c t i v e t o y o u , b u t e m b a r r a s s m e n t i s a
big k i l l e r of o f f i c e r s . O f f i c e r s l a y i n g s d u r i n g t r a f f i c
s t o p s o f t e n o c c u r as t h e y did t o a p a t r o l m a n i n
T e x a s , w h o m a d e a pullover and talked to the f e m a l e
driver w i t h o u t i n c i d e n t . W h e n h e s t a r t e d b a c k t o h i s
patrol car to run a radio c h e c k on a m a l e passenger,
however, he turned his b a c k on the stopped car to
walk " n o r m a l l y . " U n b e k n o w n to the officer, the
passenger was wanted on fraudulent c h e c k charges.
W i t h the officer unable to see h i m , the suspect
brought a R u s s i a n - m a d e a u t o m a t i c rifle up f r o m
u n d e r t h e s e a t , fired t h r o u g h t h e r e a r w i n d o w a n d
dropped h i s v i c t i m w i t h f o u r b u l l e t s , l e a v i n g h i m t o
die as t h e c a r sped a w a y .

87
E v e n inside your patrol car, d o n ' t b e c o m e so
absorbed in w h a t y o u ' r e doing t h a t you fail to keep
an eye on t h e v e h i c l e ahead. A M i n n e s o t a h i g h w a y
trooper w h o ' d brought a tipsy w o m a n ' s license back
t o h i s p a t r o l c a r , f o r e x a m p l e , c o n c e n t r a t e d o n it s o
exclusively that he didn't notice her husband
emerge from the stopped careven though the m a n
carried a rifle. H e s h o t through the windshield and
penetrated the trooper's head.
After you've delivered the citation, again w a l k
b a c k w a r d s or l o o k b a c k c o n t i n u a l l y as y o u r e t u r n
to your patrol car. M a i n t a i n a visual on the viola-
t o r ' s v e h i c l e u n t i l it h a s s a f e l y m e r g e d b a c k i n t o
traffic.
T h r o u g h o u t y o u r a p p r o a c h , y o u s h o u l d have in
mind what you would do at a n y i n s t a n t s h o u l d y o u
confront a threatening m o v e . Y o u r plan should
allow y o u to capitalize on m o v e m e n t and surprise
t o b u y t i m e for y o u r s e l f a n d s t e a l t i m e f r o m y o u r
a s s a i l a n t . A n d y o u m u s t b e r e a d y t o e x e c u t e it
without hesitation.

F E L O N Y S T O P : W h e n y o u k n o w or s u s p e c t
you are dealing w i t h individuals w h o m a y be c r i m i -
nals, you have a highly dangerous situation on your
h a n d s . F o r y o u r o w n s a f e t y , y o u s h o u l d assume they
are armed felons, w h o m a y s h o o t at a n y opportuni-
t y . C o n s e q u e n t l y , y o u r t a c t i c s w i l l differ i n i m p o r -
t a n t w a y s f r o m t h o s e for m i s d e m e a n o r p u l l o v e r s .
To stop a vehicle occupied by known or suspected
felons by yourself is extremely risky. In c i r c u m -
s t a n c e s that are all too c o m m o n , a p a t r o l m a n in
Arkansas stopped a pickup truck fitting the descrip-
t i o n of a v e h i c l e u s e d i n a g r o c e r y s t o r e r o b b e r y .
Although he was alone and there were three w o m e n
in t h e t r u c k , suspected escapees f r o m a reformatory,
he w a l k e d up t o t h e v e h i c l e t o a s k for i d e n t i f i c a t i o n .
He was shot in the chest w i t h a .32 cal. revolver,
t h e n s h o t a g a i n a f t e r h e f e l l , w h e n o n e of t h e s u s -
pects yanked out the officer's own service revolver
a n d u s e d it a g a i n s t h i m . S i m i l a r l y , a h i g h w a y p a t r o l -
m a n in N o r t h C a r o l i n a , t w e n t y - e i g h t y e a r s o n t h e
job, tried singlehandedly to apprehend three bank
robbery suspects he had stopped in a semi-rural area.
As h e approached their car, o n e suspect shot h i m in
the n e c k and c h e s t w i t h a sawed-off . 1 2 ga. shotgun.

A s a f e r a p p r o a c h is t o r a d i o for b a c k - u p a s s i s t -
a n c e , e v e n if y o u h a v e a p a r t n e r . T h i s is n o t a sign
of c o w a r d i c e , b u t o n l y good s u r v i v a l s e n s e . S p e c i f y
y o u r e x a c t l o c a t i o n a n d d i r e c t i o n of t r a v e l . . . w h y y o u
need the assistance...where you want it...and how
m a n y patrol cars you feel are required to safely con-
t r o l t h e s i t u a t i o n . If p o s s i b l e , t r a i l t h e s u s p e c t
v e h i c l e at a d i s t a n c e of a b o u t 5 0 f e e t u n t i l y o u r
b a c k - u p is i n v i e w .
P u l l t h e v e h i c l e o v e r at a p l a c e of your c h o o s i n g ,
where the visibility...nearby cover...and minimal
a m o u n t of v e h i c u l a r a n d p e d e s t r i a n t r a f f i c w o r k i n
your favor. ( T h e m o r e people there are around, t h e
m o r e t h e y m a y try t o interfere, be injured or b e
t a k e n h o s t a g e i n t h e e v e n t of t r o u b l e . T o o m u c h
vehicular and/or pedestrian traffic m a y inhibit use
of y o u r f i r e a r m s h o u l d y o u r l i f e b e c o m e i n d a n g e r . )
If t h e s u s p e c t t r i e s t o s t o p w h e r e y o u d o n ' t w a n t
h i m to, use your outside speaker s y s t e m to direct
h i m o n t o y o u r c h o i c e of s t o p . Do not pull abreast of
h i m t o g e t h i s a t t e n t i o n . T h i s g i v e s h i m or h i s
p a s s e n g e r s a n e a s y t a r g e t . If h e h i t s h i s b r a k e s , y o u
w i l l s u d d e n l y b e i n f r o n t of h i m , a v e r y p o o r t a c t i c a l
p o s i t i o n . A s y o u are m a k i n g t h e s t o p , n o t i f y c o m -
m u n i c a t i o n s of y o u r e x a c t l o c a t i o n . Proper position for primary unit [Car 21]
and back-up unit [Car 9) during a
felony stop.

89
The back-up unit [Car 9] during the
At night, the primary unit [Car 21} uses night felony pullover, also uses his
his high beams for general illumination high beams for general blinding illumi-
of the suspect vehicle. Car 21 's left spot- nation. Car 9's left spotlight will blind
light is aimed at the driver's side mirror. the driver as he exits. The right spot-
The right spotlight is aimed at the right light will blind other occupants as they
front passenger's side mirror. are removed.
O n a f e l o n y s t o p w h e r e a b a c k - u p u n i t is a s s i s t -
ing, c o n s i d e r p o s i t i o n i n g y o u r p a t r o l c a r d i f f e r e n t l y
t h a n y o u w o u l d for m o s t v e h i c l e p u l l o v e r s . D e p e n d -
ing o n t h e l o c a t i o n i n v o l v e d , o n e a l t e r n a t i v e m i g h t
be t h i s : I n s t e a d of s t o p p i n g s o y o u r p a t r o l c a r j u t s
o u t 3 f e e t as y o u o r d i n a r i l y w o u l d t o p r o t e c t y o u r -
self f r o m t r a f f i c as y o u w a l k t o t h e d r i v e r ' s w i n d o w ,
park in line with t h e suspect v e h i c l e and about 3 0
feet back. At night, this will allow y o u to use your
lights to i l l u m i n a t e the car ahead. Y o u r back-up
u n i t c a n t h e n p u l l u p d i r e c t l y a l o n g t h e d r i v e r ' s side
of y o u r c a r , b l o c k i n g t r a f f i c i n t h a t l a n e . T h e r e
should be just enough r o o m b e t w e e n so that you
c a n o p e n y o u r d r i v e r ' s d o o r a n d t h e p a s s e n g e r offi-
c e r in t h e b a c k - u p car c a n o p e n h i s d o o r , w i t h s p a c e
for t h e o f f e n d e r t o w a l k b e t w e e n t h e m .
You do not want to approach the suspect ve-
hicle on foot. W h e r e t h e r e is k n o w n d a n g e r , a l l
o f f i c e r s o p e n t h e i r d o o r s , b u t remain inside their
patrol cars. E a c h p o s i t i o n s h i m s e l f i n h i s s e a t s o h i s
b a c k r e s t s a g a i n s t a d o o r p o s t for s u p p o r t a n d h e is
p r o t e c t e d at l e a s t s o m e w h a t b e h i n d a w i n d s h i e l d
post. O n e foot rests on the floorboard while the
o t h e r is b r a c e d a g a i n s t t h e d o o r j a m b or t h e o p e n
door, not r e s t i n g o n t h e g r o u n d w h e r e y o u r l e g s a r e
e x p o s e d t o l o w or r i c o c h e t i n g r o u n d s . A s s u m i n g
y o u a r e t h e driver of t h e first p a t r o l c a r , y o u h a v e
y o u r s e r v i c e h a n d g u n t r a i n e d o n t h e d r i v e r ' s s i d e of
t h e s u s p e c t v e h i c l e . T h e p a s s e n g e r o f f i c e r of t h e
back-up car also aims at that side with his h a n d g u n .
Y o u r partner covers t h e passenger side of t h e suspect
v e h i c l e with his s h o t g u n ; t h e driver of the back-up
u n i t covers the suspects inside their v e h i c l e w i t h a
shotgun, if one is available.
A s t h e driver of t h e first r e s p o n d i n g p a t r o l c a r ,
y o u a l o n e give orders, y e l l i n g or u s i n g y o u r o u t s i d e
s p e a k e r t o address s u s p e c t s a n d a l s o t o order p e d e s -
trians to leave t h e area. Y o u r f e l l o w officers say
n o t h i n g u n l e s s t h e y s e e a s u s p e c t g o i n g for a f i r e a r m .
Y e l l (or b r o a d c a s t o v e r y o u r o u t s i d e s p e a k e r ) :
" E v e r y o n e ! Put your hands u p . . . i n t e r l a c e y o u r fin-
gers... put your hands behind your heads...look
s t r a i g h t a h e a d . D r i v e r ! S h u t y o u r m o t o r off a n d t a k e
t h e k e y s in y o u r h a n d . " (If y o u h a v e t o m a k e t h e
s t o p b e f o r e h e l p a r r i v e s , y o u c a n i s s u e t h e s e orders
and keep t h e suspects in this position u n t i l y o u have
back-up. Any m o v e you want any occupant to m a k e ,
i n c i d e n t a l l y , t e l l h i m t o m a k e w i t h h i s left h a n d . )
N o w y o u w a n t t o g e t t h e m o u t of t h e i r v e h i c l e ,
o n e at a t i m e , o n t h e driver's s i d e . ( O n e of t h e l e s s
d e s i r a b l e m e t h o d s of m a n e u v e r i n g f e l o n y t r a f f i c
s t o p s i n v o l v e s e x i t s f r o m t h e p a s s e n g e r s i d e of t h e
suspect vehicle, w i t h the o c c u p a n t s put up against
a w a l l f o r c o n t r o l , if o n e is a v a i l a b l e . E x p e r i e n c e h a s
s h o w n t h a t a p a s s e n g e r - s i d e e x i t is u s u a l l y l e s s
desirable because good coverlike parked cars,
trees, utility poles, doorwaysis likelier to be on
that side and t h u s readily available to s u s p e c t s as
t h e y e m e r g e . O n the driver's side, t h e y ' l l ordinarily
h a v e f e w e r b a r r i c a d e s b e h i n d w h i c h t o e s c a p e or
s h o o t . In a d d i t i o n , e x i t i n g i n t o t h e s t r e e t adds t o
t h e i r d i s o r i e n t a t i o n , w h i c h w i l l w o r k t o y o u r ad-
v a n t a g e . A l s o , y o u c a n n o t b e c e r t a i n at t h i s p o i n t
j u s t w h o all t h e o c c u p a n t s a r e . O n e or m o r e m a y b e
a h o s t a g e . If a l l a r e l i n e d u p i n t r a d i t i o n a l f a s h i o n
against a wall and shooting starts, i n n o c e n t people
i n t h e l i n e - u p m a y u n k n o w i n g l y b e s h o t b y a n offi-
c e r ' s b u l l e t s . E v e n w h e r e t h i s is n o t a p r o b l e m , per-
m i t t i n g m o r e t h a n o n e s u s p e c t at a t i m e o u t of t h e
stopped v e h i c l e and not under physical restraint
lessens your ability to control the situation.) Start
w i t h getting t h e driver out. W h e r e several suspects
are p r e s e n t , t h e d r i v e r is u s u a l l y t h e l e a d e r , s o y o u
w a n t t o i s o l a t e h i m as p r o m p t l y a s p o s s i b l e . Y o u
w a n t h i m t o b r i n g t h e c a r k e y s with him, s o t h e y a r e
n o t l e f t b e h i n d f o r t h e o t h e r s u s p e c t s or dropped o n
t h e p a v e m e n t w h e r e t h e y ' r e i n a c c e s s i b l e t o y o u . If
h i s w i n d o w is r o l l e d d o w n , o r d e r h i m t o r e a c h o u t
w i t h his left hand s l o w l y and open his door from the
o u t s i d e , k e e p i n g h i s o t h e r h a n d b e h i n d h i s h e a d . If
t h e w i n d o w is u p , y o u ' l l h a v e t o a l l o w h i m t o l o w e r
h i s l e f t (and h o p e f u l l y w e a k ) h a n d o u t of s i g h t l o n g
enough to open t h e door. T h e spotlight on t h e first
r e s p o n d i n g p a t r o l c a r or t h e b a c k - u p u n i t s h o u l d b e
t r a i n e d o n t h e d r i v e r ' s s i d e at a b o u t f i v e f e e t off t h e
g r o u n d s o t h a t t h e d r i v e r w i l l f a c e t h e g l a r e of t h e
l i g h t as h e s t e p s o u t a n d l o o k s t o w a r d t h e p a t r o l
cars. As he steps out, have h i m roll down his win-
d o w (if it i s n ' t a l r e a d y ) . . . k i c k t h e d o o r s h u t . . . a n d
get b o t h h a n d s u p o v e r h i s h e a d as h i g h as h e c a n
reach, w i t h h i s fingers spread apart. R e m e m b e r , the
k e y i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n is contwl.

A s t h e d r i v e r of t h e f i r s t p a t r o l c a r , y o u a n d t h e
passenger officer from the back-up unit concentrate
on handling the suspect who has exited. Y o u want
h i m t o turn s l o w l y in a full circle w h i l e you l o o k
for a n y v i s i b l e w e a p o n s . If y o u s e e a n y , order h i m
to keep his hands interlaced on his head and to w a l k
backwards t o w a r d y o u . A d v i s e h i m t h a t if h e m o v e s
h i s h a n d s at a n y t i m e , y o u w i l l p r e s u m e h e is g o i n g
for his w e a p o n and y o u w i l l t a k e t h e appropriate
a c t i o n . If h e a p p e a r s w e a p o n l e s s , s t i l l a s s u m e h e is
a r m e d . C o m m a n d h i m to place h i s h a n d s b e h i n d
h i s h e a d a n d w a l k b a c k w a r d s t o w a r d y o u , j u s t as
you w o u l d an a r m e d suspect.

T o his fellow suspects w h o m a y be watching


f r o m t h e s t o p p e d v e h i c l e , it w i l l a p p e a r t h a t h e is
d i s a p p e a r i n g i n t o a w h i t e v o i d of l i g h t as h e m o v e s
toward you. Suspects w h o have experienced this
i l l u s i o n c o n c e d e t h a t it h a s a s t r o n g , i n h i b i t i n g
psychological i m p a c t . As the driver b a c k s b e t w e e n
the open patrol car doors, the passenger officer from
t h e b a c k - u p car w i l l s t a n d b e h i n d h i m a n d grasp t h e
top t h r e e f i n g e r s of o n e of t h e s u s p e c t ' s h a n d s , as
d e s c r i b e d for f i e l d i n t e r r o g a t i o n s . T h i s o f f i c e r t a k e s
c o n t r o l of t h e s u s p e c t ' s c a r k e y s . T h e s u s p e c t s h o u l d
be i m m e d i a t e l y h a n d c u f f e d . . . t h o r o u g h l y s e a r c h e d . . .
q u e s t i o n e d a b o u t w e a p o n s o n a n y of t h e p a s s e n g e r s
or i n t h e c a r and a b o u t o t h e r p a s s e n g e r s w h o m a y
n o t b e v i s i b l e . . . t h e n l o c k e d i n t h e b a c k s e a t of
o n e of t h e p a t r o l c a r s .

The key to the felony pullover is con- Command the driver to place his hands
trol. Here you have the driver exit by over his head. Then you can see any gun
opening his door from the outside. in his waistband.

Now order the driver to interlace his Then command him to walk backward
fingers behind his head and kick his with his hands still interlaced behind
door shut. the head
Following the s a m e procedures, all visible
p a s s e n g e r s a r e r e m o v e d o n e at a t i m e f r o m t h e
s u s p e c t c a r , all f r o m t h e d r i v e r ' s s i d e . C l e a r t h e
f r o n t s e a t f i r s t (after t h e d r i v e r , t h e m o s t l i k e l y
l e a d e r of a gang is t h e r i g h t f r o n t p a s s e n g e r ) , t h e n
c o n c e r n y o u r s e l f w i t h g e t t i n g t h e s u s p e c t s o u t of
t h e b a c k . If t h e c a r is a t w o - d o o r , b a c k s e a t p a s s e n -
gers c a n p u s h t h e d r i v e r ' s s e a t b y t r i p p i n g t h e
locking latch w i t h a foot so they can exit without
lowering their hands.
T h e s e procedures in e m p t y i n g a suspect v e h i c l e
w i l l w o r k t o y o u r a d v a n t a g e at m o s t l o c a t i o n s . H o w -
e v e r , w h e n t h e s t o p is b e i n g m a d e o n a b u s y f r e e w a y
or w h e n t h e r e a r e o t h e r o v e r w h e l m i n g h a z a r d s t o
the left, a d j u s t m e n t in the tactics m u s t be m a d e .
It m a y t h e n b e n e c e s s a r y t o e x i t t h e s u s p e c t s f r o m
t h e p a s s e n g e r s i d e . If s o , t h e b a c k - u p u n i t s h o u l d
p u l l u p o n t h e r i g h t of t h e f i r s t r e s p o n d i n g p a t r o l c a r ,
e v e n if it m e a n s j u m p i n g a c u r b t o do s o . T h e r o l e s
of t h e o f f i c e r s a r e r e v e r s e d , a n d t h e e x i t b e g i n s w i t h
the right front passenger, w h o brings the keys. Still,
t h e s u s p e c t s a r e b r o u g h t b a c k o n e at a t i m e b e t w e e n
the two patrol cars.
As the driver reaches the space just in
front of the two patrol car doors, place
him in the kneeling position.

W h e n the suspect v e h i c l e appears e m p t y , you


w a n t t o a d v a n c e and i n s p e c t t h e i n t e r i o r a n d t h e n
the trunk, where additional armed passengers have
b e e n k n o w n t o s e c r e t e t h e m s e l v e s . T h e r e are s e v e r a l
t a c t i c s for c o n d u c t i n g t h e t r u n k s e a r c h . O n e ap-
p r o a c h is t o t a k e o n e of t h e h a n d c u f f e d p r i s o n e r s
with you to witness your search. Before advancing,
m a k e sure you have secured the prisoner's coopera-
t i o n in bringing h i m t o t h e t r u n k , else y o u are
i n f r i n g i n g o n h i s r i g h t s as a p r i s o n e r . W h e n i t ' s t i m e
t o o p e n t h e c a r d o o r s or t r u n k lid, do s o b y h o l d i n g
h i m securely w i t h your non-gun h a n d and reaching
a r o u n d f r o m b e h i n d h i m . ( D o n ' t grip j u s t h i s h a n d -
cuffs alone. Experienced felons can twist the cuffs
a n d t a k e off o n e of y o u r f i n g e r s ) . Y o u r f e l l o w offi-
c e r s , of c o u r s e , c o v e r y o u as y o u m a k e y o u r ap-
proach, taking care to avoid cross-fire positions.

94
After all occupants of the suspect ve-
hicle have been secured, the driver aids
in the search of the trunk. As one
officer provides cover, you reach around
and open the trunk. Notice the officer
has hold of both handcuffs and the
offender's waistband to maintain con-
trol.

Another tactic for the trunk search.


As you insert the key from a location
low and to the side, your back-up main-
tains fire cover, while resting the non-
gun hand on the trunk lid.

Now you assume a position at an angle


to your back-up, who slowly lets the
trunk rise to its open position. A visual
on the trunk is now possible by both of
you.

95
Firearms Readiness
Obviously, you cannot have your sidearm out
and ready to use e v e r y t i m e y o u a n s w e r a radio call,
c o n d u c t a f i e l d i n t e r v i e w or m a k e a t r a f f i c s t o p .
E v e n if d e p a r t m e n t p o l i c y a n d c o m m o n s e n s e per-
m i t t e d , it w o u l d n o t b e w i s e . S i d e a r m s a n d s h o t g u n s
i n d i s c r i m i n a t e l y drawn and displayed will frighten
and offend civilians and m a y , in fact, p r o v o k e
v i o l e n c e in s o m e s i t u a t i o n s that could o t h e r w i s e be
peacefully resolved.
M a n y o f f i c e r s , h o w e v e r , do n o t d r a w t h e i r side-
a r m s w h e n t h e y should. B a c k - u p officers arriving
at t h e s c e n e w h e r e a n o f f i c e r h a s b e e n k i l l e d o f t e n
d i s c o v e r t o t h e i r a m a z e m e n t t h a t t h e v i c t i m ' s side-
a r m is s t i l l h o l s t e r e d , w i t h n o e v i d e n c e h e a t t e m p t e d
t o d r a w , s h o o t or o t h e r w i s e d e f e n d h i m s e l f . Y e t i n
m a n y of t h e s e i n s t a n c e s , t h e r e w a s p r i o r w a r n i n g
of d a n g e r .
T h e rule has been: don't draw unless you intend
to shoot. T h a t suggests you wait until the last
i n s t a n t t o g e t y o u r s i d e a r m i n y o u r h a n d . T h e sur-
v i v a l a p p r o a c h i s : d o n ' t d r a w u n l e s s y o u are pre-
pared t o s h o o t , m e n t a l l y a n d t a c t i c a l l y , if y o u h a v e
to. T h i s a l l o w s for t h e fastest possible " d r a w " :
h a v i n g y o u r s i d e a r m i n y o u r h a n d before t h e fight
starts. Y o u should have your firearm ready w h e n -
ever:
1. y o u a r e a p p r o a c h i n g a s i t u a t i o n w h e r e y o u
k n o w or r e a s o n a b l y b e l i e v e s o m e o n e h a s p h y s i c a l
p o s s e s s i o n of a d e a d l y w e a p o n ;
2. y o u are involved in a high-risk a c t i v i t y ,
such as a building search or have responded to a
v i o l e n t c r i m e - i n - p r o g r e s s , or
3. y o u h a v e any reason to fear for y o u r safety
or t h e s a f e t y of o t h e r s .
W h e n i n d o u b t , y o u m a y w a n t t o go w i t h y o u r
gun and risk ruffling a few c o m m u n i t y relations
f e a t h e r s r a t h e r t h a n r i s k b e c o m i n g t h e v i c t i m at
your own funeral.
A n o t h e r a s p e c t of f i r e a r m s r e a d i n e s s is h a v i n g
t h e m o s t e f f e c t i v e g u n i n h a n d for a c o n f r o n t a t i o n .
T h e m o s t p o w e r f u l a n d i n t i m i d a t i n g w e a p o n , if
m a d e a v a i l a b l e o n p a t r o l b y y o u r d e p a r t m e n t , is a
. 1 2 ga. s h o t g u n w i t h a n 1 8 - o r 2 0 - i n c h b a r r e l ; y e t
i t s i m p r e s s i v e v e r s a t i l i t y for u s e i n m a k i n g a n
a p p r o a c h is o f t e n o v e r l o o k e d a n d m i s u n d e r s t o o d .
W h e n y o u t a k e it f r o m y o u r p a t r o l c a r , a s h o t -
gun m a y m a k e a strong psychological impact. Its
appearance and reputation m a y be enough in t h e m -
selves to sober a suspect w h o ' s considering shooting
you. Y o u can induce an additional " p u c k e r f a c t o r "
w i t h t h e o m i n o u s n o i s e of " r a c k i n g " t h e a c t i o n .
O n c e h e a r d , i n t h e s t i l l of t h e n i g h t , i t ' s a s o u n d
n e v e r f o r g o t t e n . If y o u are j u s t i f i e d i n u s i n g deadly
f o r c e a n d do h a v e t o u s e it, t h e s h o t g u n c a n b e e v e n
m o r e d e s t r u c t i v e t h a n a s u b m a c h i n e g u n , y e t , if
y o u are s h o o t i n g at r e l a t i v e l y c l o s e r a n g e , t h e p e l l e t s
are n o t l i k e l y t o spread o u t w i d e e n o u g h t o e n d a n g e r
people other than your assailant. For long-distance
s h o o t i n g , rifled s l u g s c a n b e f i r e d t o a n e f f e c t i v e
r a n g e of a b o u t 1 0 0 y a r d s . I n a d d i t i o n , t h e s h o t g u n
can be used to fire c h e m i c a l agents.
T h e s h o t g u n does h a v e i t s d r a w b a c k s . If y o u
h a v e t o r u n or y o u get i n t o a p h y s i c a l f i g h t , it m a y
p r o v e c u m b e r s o m e . . . i f y o u n e e d t o p u t it a s i d e , it
h a s n o h o l s t e r . . . i f y o u a r e u s i n g y o u r f l a s h l i g h t it
m a y b e a w k w a r d t o c a r r y . B u t w h e n y o u know you
are f a c i n g a p o s s i b l e a r m e d c o n f r o n t a t i o n , t h e s e a r e
d e f i n i t e l y of s e c o n d a r y i m p o r t a n c e .
Don't walk into a known dangerous situation
with just your handgun. Y o u w a n t superior fire
p o w e r , if p o s s i b l e . S o c o n s i d e r e m p l o y i n g y o u r
s h o t g u n any time y o u a r e a p p r o a c h i n g :
1. t h e s c e n e of a f e l o n y - i n - p r o g r e s s ;
2. a hazardous vehicle stop;
3. a w a n t e d f e l o n , or
4. o t h e r s i t u a t i o n s w h e r e t h e r i s k of g e t t i n g
s h o t or k i l l e d is h i g h .
Like m a n y officers, you m a y try to avoid t h e
shotgun in your patrol car b e c a u s e y o u ' r e u n f a m i l i a r
w i t h i t . C h a n c e s are t h e t r a i n i n g y o u h a v e r e c e i v e d
w i t h t h i s w e a p o n is m i n i m a l . T h e s c o p e a n d d i r e c -
tion m a y have been so l i m i t e d that y o u feel y o u
h a v e f a i l e d t o m a s t e r t h i s w e a p o n . T h a t is i r o n i c
b e c a u s e w h e n y o u n e e d a s h o t g u n t h e m o s t is w h e n
you're on a particularly dangerous assignment,
where y o u m a y need to draw on m a x i m u m training
resources to emerge alive. S o m e range instructors
s e e m to feel that even w i t h o u t sufficient practical
e x p e r i e n c e y o u c a n p r o t e c t y o u r l i f e or o t h e r i n n o -
cent lives with a shotgun simply by virtue of its
capability to expel powerful m u l t i p l e projectiles.
W h e r e lives are on t h e line, t h a t ' s a poor a s s u m p t i o n
t o m a k e . Part of s u r v i v a l i n v o l v e s b e c o m i n g f a m i l i a r
and p r o f i c i e n t w i t h all f i r e a r m s at y o u r c o m m a n d .
Later, we'll e x a m i n e particularly the procedures
for s a f e l y t r a n s p o r t i n g a n d h a n d l i n g t h e s h o t g u n
during your approach t o a s c e n e and your subse-
q u e n t i n t e r r o g a t i o n of i n d i v i d u a l s y o u e n c o u n t e r
there.
A f t e r c o m p l e t i n g a n y a p p r o a c h a n d a r r e s t i n g or
releasing the suspect(s) involved, take a few m o -
m e n t s t o h o n e s t l y c r i t i q u e w h a t y o u did. If y o u
have a partner, discuss the actions you both took.
Q u i c k l y r e v i e w i n g y o u r j o b p e r f o r m a n c e a n d dis-
covering weaknesses that could have worked to a
suspect's advantage will help you sharpen your
procedures and tactical m a n e u v e r s in t h e future.
LIGHT CONTROL

W h e n t h e l i g h t s go d o w n , y o u r r i s k g o e s u p , as a
rule. L i k e a camera, your eye needs light to record
i m a g e s , a n d o n n i g h t p a t r o l , i n d a r k n e s s or t h e d e e p
s h a d o w s of s t r e e t s , a l l e y s , y a r d s , r o o f t o p s , h a l l w a y s
a n d r o o m s , t h e r e m a y b e t o o l i t t l e i l l u m i n a t i o n for
y o u t o q u i c k l y p e r c e i v e i m a g e s t h a t w a r n of d a n g e r .
Even in d a y t i m e , w h e n an a s s i g n m e n t sends y o u
i n t o l o w l i g h t l e v e l l o c a t i o n s l i k e b a r s or b a s e m e n t s ,
you m a y be temporarily blinded while your eyes
adjust to the s c e n e . A suspect already there, cloaked
in and adapted to the dark, can present a m e n a c e
you w o n ' t even see.
M o r e than half the t i m e s armed suspects take
o n t h e p o l i c e , t h e y do s o at d u s k . . . a f t e r d a r k . . . o r
w h e r e a r t i f i c i a l l i g h t is l i m i t e d . M o r e t h a n t w o -
t h i r d s of t h e s h o o t i n g s i n w h i c h o f f i c e r s d i e o c c u r
b e t w e e n 6 o ' c l o c k at n i g h t a n d 6 i n t h e m o r n i n g ,
w i t h the deadliest hours the darkest ones, b e t w e e n
10 P M a n d 2 A M .
Y e t d a r k n e s s is n o t a l w a y s y o u r e n e m y . S o m e -
t i m e s it c a n a l l o w y o u t o c o n c e a l y o u r m o v e m e n t s
i n r e s p o n d i n g t o c r i m e s . It m a y p r o v i d e y o u w i t h a
hiding place. And during p o t e n t i a l l y dangerous
n i g h t t i m e t r a f f i c s t o p s , f o r e x a m p l e , it m a y p e r m i t
y o u a n i m p o r t a n t t a c t i c a l e d g e : t a k i n g a d v a n t a g e of
t h e d a r k , y o u m a y be a b l e t o d r a w y o u r g u n and
h o l d it u n o b t r u s i v e l y a b o v e t h e d o o r f r a m e of a
v e h i c l e w h i l e q u e s t i o n i n g t h e d r i v e r . O r a n d t h i s is
faster b e c a u s e y o u c a n raise a gun up faster than
y o u c a n l o w e r it f r o m a n e l e v a t e d p o s i t i o n y o u
m a y b e a b l e t o s t a n d at t h e v e h i c l e w i t h y o u r g u n
a l o n g s i d e y o u r leg. In e i t h e r c a s e , t h e d r i v e r w i l l
likely never be aware that you have a firearm in
hand.
W h a t ' s r e q u i r e d is t h a t y o u control t h e d o u b l e -
edged s w o r d of d a r k n e s s . Y o u w a n t t o b e c o n s t a n t l y
a w a r e of t h e s o u r c e s of l i g h t a v a i l a b l e t o y o u and
the ways you can m a n i p u l a t e light and dark to your
advantage and a suspect's disadvantage. Like a
proper a p p r o a c h , t h i s c o n t r o l m a y h e l p y o u a b o r t a
p l a n n e d s h o o t i n g or at l e a s t p u t y o u i n t h e b e s t
position should bullets fly.
T h e lights inside buildings, your flashlight and
lights on your patrol car are a m o n g t h o s e y o u can
c o n t r o l i n a n u m b e r of i m p o r t a n t w a y s . In w e i g h i n g
y o u r o p t i o n s w i t h t h e m , y o u w a n t t o p l a n a h e a d and
to anticipate just h o w your control will affect your
vulnerability to an assailant's shots and your o w n
c a p a b i l i t y in s h o o t i n g b a c k .

Try to avoid positioning yourself against


any outside background which forces
you to become silhouetted.

Building Lights

W h e r e y o u n e e d t o e n t e r a d a r k e n e d b u i l d i n g or
a s u i t e of d a r k o f f i c e s , t h e r e ' s a l w a y s t h e d a n g e r t h a t
t h e s u s p e c t y o u ' r e l o o k i n g for is s e c r e t e d i n s i d e ,
j u s t w a i t i n g for a bad a p p r o a c h b y a n o f f i c e r . T h a t
p r o v e d t o be t h e c a s e in A l a s k a w h e n a p a t r o l m a n
r e s p o n d e d t o a b u r g l a r y - i n - p r o g r e s s c a l l at a drug
treatment center. T o launch a room-by-room search
w i t h fellow officers, he crawled into a darkened
r o o m t h r o u g h an o p e n w i n d o w . T h e s u s p e c t w a s
h i d i n g i n s i d e t h a t v e r y r o o m a n d s h o t h i m in t h e
head w i t h a 9 m m s e m i - a u t o m a t i c .

99
As an alternative to moving blindly into an
a r e a y o u c a n ' t s e e , it m a y b e p o s s i b l e t o g e t s o m e
or all of t h e l i g h t s t u r n e d o n a h e a d of t i m e b y m a s t e r
s w i t c h e s . T h e b u i l d i n g j a n i t o r , m a n a g e r or o w n e r
will probably k n o w the switches' location and the
exact lighting they control. Obviously, having the
lights on automatically eliminates m a n y suspect
h i d i n g p l a c e s a n d i m p r o v e s y o u r v i e w of a r e a s t o
b e c r o s s e d a n d s e a r c h e d . B u t t h e l i g h t s s h o u l d not b e
a c t i v a t e d u n t i l all officers involved in t h e search
are i n protected p o s i t i o n s , s i n c e a s u s p e c t ' s f i e l d of
vision m a y also be enhanced.

W h e r e general lighting is n o t possible, it's


usually s a f e r t o t u r n o n l i g h t s a r e a b y area as y o u
p r o g r e s s , as o p p o s e d t o m o v i n g i n t h e d a r k a n d n o t
k n o w i n g w h a t is o u t f r o n t . A g a i n , y o u w a n t t o b e
behind coverand with your sidearm drawn
b e f o r e a n y l i g h t i n g is t u r n e d o n . R e a c h for s w i t c h e s
from a low position rather than standing beside
t h e m at y o u r n o r m a l h e i g h t , as a w a i t i n g s u s p e c t
m a y b e e x p e c t i n g . N o t e : If y o u s m e l l g a s , do n o t
This photo was taken from the gen-
eral location of an armed hostage- turn on any lights. An electrical arc from the switch
taker. The officer inside this apartment c a n e a s i l y t o u c h off a n e x p l o s i o n .
was unaware that lights were setting
him up as a target.

Control of light inside should be achiev-


ed by taking a position below the kill
zone. In this incident, an armed offender
was standing 6 feet away on the other
side of the wall with his gun aimed at
normal shoulder height.

100
If c o v e r is n o t r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e , y o u m a y d e c i d e
y o u are b e t t e r off i n t h e d a r k , p o s s i b l y r e l y i n g o n
s p o r a d i c b u r s t s of l i g h t s f r o m y o u r f l a s h l i g h t . Y o u
m a y e v e n w a n t t o t u r n r o o m l i g h t s off if t h e y are
a l r e a d y o n , g i v i n g y o u r s e l f at l e a s t t h e c o n c e a l m e n t
b e n e f i t s of d a r k n e s s as y o u m o v e t o a safe a r e a . If
y o u h a v e p r a c t i c e d at a r a n g e u n d e r n i g h t t i m e
conditions, you k n o w it's harder to shoot and hit a
target i:i t h e d a r k . A s u s p e c t w i l l h a v e t h e s a m e
d i f f i c u l t y . If y o u are s e a r c h i n g a n o p e n a r e a l i k e a
warehouse and the suspect happens to be hiding in
t h e r a f t e r s , h a v i n g l i g h t s o n w i l l aid h i m a n d j e o p a r -
dize y o u . E v a l u a t e t h e t y p e of b u i l d i n g y o u are i n
and p l a y off y o u r e n v i r o n m e n t in m a k i n g d e c i s i o n s .
Remain conscious always of where any light
source is in relation to your body. Light c o m i n g
f r o m b e h i n d y o u , s u c h as s t r e e t l i g h t t h r o u g h a
w i n d o w or l i g h t s l e f t o n i n a r o o m y o u h a v e j u s t
s e a r c h e d , c a n s i l h o u e t t e y o u as a p e r f e c t t a r g e t . S o
c a n l i g h t s o v e r d o o r w a y s y o u i n t e n d t o e n t e r . If, as
part of y o u r a p p r o a c h , y o u c a n ' t w o r k a s w i t c h t o
t u r n off l i g h t s a b o v e d o o r s or r e a c h u p a n d u n s c r e w
t h e b u l b s w i t h o u t o u t l i n i n g y o u r s e l f in t h e d o o r w a y ,
consider smashing the bulbs w i t h your n i g h t s t i c k
or f l a s h l i g h t . R e m e m b e r a l s o t h a t l i g h t h i t t i n g y o u r
b o d y f r o m c e r t a i n a n g l e s w i l l c a s t s h a d o w s . If, for
example, your shadow extended out beyond a cor-
n e r , a s u s p e c t w a i t i n g o n t h e o t h e r s i d e c o u l d s e e it
and be alerted to your approach.

Flashlight
An important point to r e m e m b e r about this
v e r s a t i l e t o o l is t h a t it d o e s n o t a l w a y s h a v e t o r e -
m a i n c o n n e c t e d to your hand in order to help y o u
detect and defend yourself against potential danger.
W i t h t h e " f l a s h l i g h t r o l l " t e c h n i q u e , for e x a m -
p l e , y o u .md y o u r p a r t n e r or b a c k - u p c a n i l l u m i n a t e a
d a r k e n e d r o o m i n s e a r c h of a s u s p e c t w i t h o u t h a v i n g
t o l e a v e p r o t e c t e d p o s i t i o n s o n e a c h s i d e of t h e
d o o r w a y . W i t h t h e door o p e n all t h e w a y b a c k a n d
the flashlight in your w e a k hand, squat beside t h e
d o o r w a y a n d h o l d t h e f l a s h l i g h t s o i t s l e n s e n d is
sticking through the entry. P u s h t h e slide b u t t o n
" o n " a n d r e l e a s e t h e f l a s h l i g h t s o it r o l l s off y o u r
c u p p e d f i n g e r s t o w a r d t h e o p p o s i t e side of t h e door-
way. T h e flashlight should roll across the opening
a l m o s t s t r a i g h t or i n a s l i g h t a r c . Y o u r p a r t n e r c a n
p i c k it t.p w i t h o u t s i g n i f i c a n t e x p o s u r e a n d t h e n
roll it b a c k f r o m h i s p o s i t i o n of c o v e r .
A s t h e f l a s h l i g h t is r o l l i n g , y o u b o t h s h o u l d b e
l o o k i n g :.nto t h e r o o m as far as t h e r o l l i n g b e a m
penetrates, w i t h your firearms ready. B e t w e e n both
y o u r v a n t a g e p o i n t s y o u ' l l b e a b l e t o s e e m u c h of
the area and m a y discover a suspect w h o o t h e r w i s e
w o u l d r e m a i n h i d d e n . Caution: do not enter the
doorway while the light is on-, c o n f r o n t e d w i t h a n
u n e x p e c t e d l i g h t , a s u s p e c t m a y i n s t i n c t i v e l y fire
d i r e c t l y at t h e s o u r c e , figuring a n o f f i c e r is b e h i n d i t .
Also, understand that flashlights with certain
s h a p e s n o t a b l y , large o n - o f f s w i t c h e s m a y n o t
w o r k w e l l for this t a c t i c , b e c a u s e t h e y preclude t h e
p o s s i b i l i t y of a s m o o t h r o l l . S o know your equip-
ment a n d m a k e s u r e it w o r k s p r o p e r l y b e f o r e y o u
use it.

High angle view of two officers prop-


erly positioned behind cover and using
the flashlight to avoid becoming a ^
victim of the fatal funnel. u^Y

A n o t h e r r o o m search tactic involves the flash-


l i g h t s of b o t h o f f i c e r s . F i r s t , y o u h o l d y o u r l i g h t
a r o u n d t h e d o o r f r a m e , w h i l e k e e p i n g t h e v i t a l por-
t i o n s of y o u r b o d y b e h i n d t h e w a l l . F r o m a l o w or
prone position on his side, your partner c h e c k s the
p o r t i o n of t h e r o o m i l l u m i n a t e d b y y o u r l i g h t . T h e n
y o u r e v e r s e r o l e s : h e p u t s h i s l i g h t a r o u n d h i s side of
the frame, w h i l e you c h e c k . In b o t h cases, t h e
o f f i c e r w i t h t h e l i g h t w a n t s t o h o l d it a b o v e t h e l e v e l
of h i s h e a d w h i l e i n a s q u a t t i n g p o s i t i o n , t o b e as
d e c e p t i v e as p o s s i b l e a b o u t h i s t r u e p o s i t i o n .
A w a y from doorways, you still should be behind
s o m e k i n d of c o v e r a c h i m n e y , a g a r b a g e c a n , a
store c o u n t e r , e t c . w h e n trying to search an area
w i t h y o u r f l a s h l i g h t . Y o u w a n t t o h o l d t h e l i g h t as
far f r o m y o u r b o d y as p o s s i b l e , w i t h as l i t t l e of
y o u r s e l f e x p o s e d as y o u c a n m a n a g e . . . u s e t h e l i g h t
as s p a r i n g l y as p o s s i b l e . . . a n d m o v e t o a n e w p o s i t i o n
i m m e d i a t e l y after you shine it.
W h e r e c o v e r is n o t a v a i l a b l e , p r o b a b l y y o u r
b e s t o p t i o n is t h e " f l a s h - a n d - m o v e " t e c h n i q u e .
W i t h y o u r s i d e a r m d r a w n a n d y o u r l e g s a p a r t and
b e n t , y o u h o l d y o u r f l a s h l i g h t at a r m ' s l e n g t h i n

102
y o u r w e a k h a n d . . . h i g h e r t h a n t h e l e v e l of y o u r
h e a d . . . a n d o u t f r o m y o u r s h o u l d e r at a b o u t a 4 5 -
degree a n g l e . T h i s p l a c e s t h e l e n s t o t h e s i d e , a b o v e
and s o m e w h a t a h e a d of y o u r b o d y a n d k e e p s y o u r
vital areas from being brightly illuminated by the
a u r a of l i g h t t h r o w n off a r o u n d t h e f l a s h l i g h t h e a d .
B e s u r e y o u s t a y behind t h e b e a m of l i g h t , n o t i n
i t s p e r i p h e r y , t o m i n i m i z e t h e r i s k of b e i n g v i s i b l e
in t h e flashlight's " b a c k - s p l a s h . " Y o u r flashlight
s h o u l d h a v e a d a r k a n d n o n - r e f l e c t i n g s u r f a c e of
fairly h e a v y - g a u g e m e t a l a n d s h o u l d b e e q u i p p e d
w i t h b o t h slide a n d b u t t o n c o n t r o l s . P r e s s t h e
button just e n o u g h to b l i n k the light on for an
i n s t a n t , a l l o w i n g y o u a q u i c k fix o n t h e a r e a , t h e n
m o v e i m m e d i a t e l y to a n e w location, preferably
t o w a r d c o v e r . If y o u l e a v e t h e l i g h t o n c o n s t a n t l y ,
t h e n y o u m a k e y o u r s e l f a c o n s t a n t t a r g e t . If y o u
h a v e to s h o o t , s h o o t a n d m o v e w i t h t h e l i g h t off.
T h e n u m b e r one consideration in such a situation,
of c o u r s e , w i l l be p o s i t i v e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of y o u r
intended target. Y o u don't w a n t to shoot a fellow
officer, a private security officer or an i n n o c e n t
h o m e o w n e r m o v i n g in the dark.

If t h e s u s p e c t s h o o t s , h e ' l l p r o b a b l y fire d i r e c t l y
at t h e p J a c e h e l a s t s a w t h e b e a m or j u s t t o h i s r i g h t
of i t . If y o u ' r e h o l d i n g y o u r l i g h t as w e ' v e d e s c r i b e d ,
y o u s h o u l d be c l e a r of t h e s h o t . In o n e c a s e , i n w h i c h
officers entered a darkened house to apprehend a
m a n w h o had gone berserk and murdered his land-
lady, t h e s u s p e c t s h o t s o a c c u r a t e l y w i t h a r i f l e
t h a t h e s h a t t e r e d t h e f l a s h l i g h t h e l d in o n e o f f i c e r ' s
hand. T h e bullet kept going, but because the officer
had extended the light to his side, his body w a s
c l e a r of i:he s h o t e n t i r e l y a n d h e w a s a b l e t o k i l l t h e
s u s p e c t w i t h r e t u r n f i r e . Do not try to control your
flashlight with its slide switch. T h e b u t t o n is f a s t e r
and t h e r e is n o t t h e d a n g e r , if y o u drop it, of t h e
l i g h t r e m a i n i n g o n a n d h i g h l i g h t i n g y o u for a n
adversary.
If y o u ' r e m o v i n g f r o m o n e a r e a t o a n o t h e r , t r y
t o avoid u s i n g y o u r f l a s h l i g h t . O f t e n t h e r e is e n o u g h
a m b i e n t l i g h t f r o m n a t u r a l ( m o o n , s t a r s ) or a r t i f i c i a l
(street l i g h t s , signs) s o u r c e s t o a l l o w y o u t o m a k e
y o u r w a y . U s e of t h e f l a s h l i g h t w i l l d e s t r o y y o u r
n i g h t v i s i o n , at l e a s t m o m e n t a r i l y , a n d m a y p i n p o i n t
y o u r p o s i t i o n for a w a t c h i n g s u s p e c t . If y o u f e e l y o u
m u s t u s e y o u r f l a s h l i g h t , a n g l e it t o w a r d t h e g r o u n d
and p a r t i a l l y c o v e r t h e b e a m w i t h y o u r h a n d so t h e
light is j u s t large e n o u g h t o i n s u r e safe f o o t i n g . K e e p
t h e l i g h t l o w . . . a h e a d of y o u r b o d y . . . a s far t o o n e
s i d e . . . a n d t u r n e d o n as b r i e f l y as p o s s i b l e , n e v e r for
long p e r i s d s of t i m e . Y o u d o n ' t w a n t t o s i l h o u e t t e
yourself.
During traffic stops, your flashlight and patrol
car s p o t l i g h t c a n be t r a i n e d o n t h e d r i v e r ' s side v i e w
m i r r o r as y o u a p p r o a c h . If h e ' s t r y i n g t o w a t c h y o u ,
the b e a m will blind h i m temporarily, and he'll
l i k e l y turn a w a y . O n c e you r e a c h h i s door, s h i n e t h e
light directly i n t o his eyes, destroying his night
v i s i o n . If h e t u r n s o u t t o b e o k a y , y o u c a n a l w a y s
a p o l o g i z e a n d m a k e it s e e m a c c i d e n t a l . If n o t , y o u
m a y h a v e d e l a y e d h i s g e t t i n g o n t a r g e t if h e h a s
a gun.
Under no circumstances should you use your
flashlight i n t h e s e or o t h e r m a n e u v e r s by holding
it in the center of your body mass or near your face.
T h e h a z a r d of d o i n g s o w a s b i z a r r e l y i l l u s t r a t e d b y
t h e f a t e of a b u r g l a r w h o c r a w l e d t h r o u g h t h e w a s h -
r o o m w i n d o w of a b a n k o n e n i g h t , a c r o w b a r u n d e r
one arm, a .45 cal. T h o m p s o n s u b m a c h i n e gun
u n d e r t h e o t h e r a n d a s m a l l f l a s h l i g h t in h i s m o u t h .
A security officer waiting in the darkness inside
s a w t h e l i g h t b o b i n t o t h e l o b b y . H e did w h a t m o s t
o f f i c e r s o r s u s p e c t s w o u l d do; f i r e d at t h e o n l y
v i s i b l e p o r t i o n of h i s o p p o n e n t , t h e f l a s h l i g h t . It
was still in the burglar's m o u t h . T h e bullet hit the
f l a s h l i g h t , d r o v e t h e b a t t e r y spring d e e p i n t o t h e
m a n ' s t o n g u e a n d a n g l e d t h r o u g h h i s m o u t h and
out his n e c k w i t h fatal results.

You can avoid the backsplash effect


by placing your flashlight on the ground,
When you hold your flashlight extended as you take two steps to your left. Your
with your non-gun hand, make sure you goal is to remain invisible to the suspect.
stay behind the beam of light, or this You are also now free to use your two-
is what the suspect will see. hand instinct shooting position.

104
Vehicle Lights

R e c e n t tests c o n d u c t e d by B r i t i s h a u t h o r i t i e s 1

s h o w t h a t if y o u s i m u l t a n e o u s l y b l i n d a n d d i s t r a c t
an armed suspect you can often delay his shooting
b y a n a p p r e c i a b l e s p a n of t i m e . Y o u m a y b e a b l e t o
d i s t r a c t h i m w i t h a l o u d n o i s e or b y t h r o w i n g s o m e -
t h i n g at h i m . B u t e v e n w i t h o u t d i s t r a c t i o n , b l i n d -
ness alone will cause serious disorientation in s o m e
s u s p e c t s , e s p e c i a l l y if t h e y a r e t r y i n g t o e n g a g e
m o r e t h a n o n e o f f i c e r i n a g u n f i g h t or if t h e y h a v e
t o s h o o t m o r e t h a n o n c e at t h e s a m e o f f i c e r .
A m o n g y o u r b e s t t o o l s are t h e h i g h - b e a m f l a s h -
lights and spotlight(s) on your patrol car, particu-
larly during n i g h t t i m e traffic stops and field interro-
g a t i o n s . U s i n g t h e l i g h t s of y o u r c a r a n d a b a c k - u p
car, y o u r e a b l e t o c o n t r o l a p p r o x i m a t e l y 1 m i l l i o n
candlepower to your advantage.

" S o m e C o m m e n t s on the Hostage S i t u a t i o n , " by J.C. Muirhead, The


Police Ch.ef, February, 1 9 7 8 .

Field interrogations at night can be


conducted from behind a curtain of
Ugh t. You and your partner quietly
flank out to positions away from your
patrol car. From the suspects' viewpoint
you are invisible.

105
If, f o r e x a m p l e , y o u w a n t t o q u e s t i o n a s u s p e c t
in a darkened alley, y o u can approach w i t h your
p a t r o l c a r p o i n t e d d i r e c t l y at h i m , h i g h - b e a m s a n d
s p o t l i g h t o n . S t o p a b o u t 15 t o 2 0 f e e t f r o m h i m .
N o w h e a n d t h e area a r o u n d h i m a r e c l e a r l y l i g h t e d ,
f r o m y o u r p e r s p e c t i v e . B u t w h e n he l o o k s i n y o u r
d i r e c t i o n , h e ' l l s e e a c u r t a i n of b r i g h t , w h i t e l i g h t ,
a n d v e r y l i t t l e if a n y t h i n g b e y o n d i t . If h e d o e s de-
c i d e t o s h o o t , h e ' l l p r o b a b l y fire i n t o t h e l i g h t s o n
the driver's side, where h e figures you're m o s t likely
to b e . T o defeat that possibility, y o u w a n t to m o v e
a r o u n d l o w t o t h e r e a r of t h e c a r as s o o n as y o u s t o p ,
or f l a n k o u t t o a p o s i t i o n of c o v e r n e a r b y , b e i n g
c a r e f u l t o s t a y behind t h e c u r t a i n of l i g h t c r e a t e d
by your headlights.
T h e t a c t i c is t o put some distance between
yourself and your light source and yet t a k e advan-
t a g e of t h e b l i n d i n g e f f e c t it a f f o r d s . F r o m a p r o t e c t e d
position behind the lights, you can keep your gun
on the suspect w h i l e you issue h i m verbal c o m -
m a n d s . He w o n ' t be able to see your e x a c t location,
a n d if y o u m o v e o c c a s i o n a l l y , h e ' l l h a v e a h a r d
t i m e p i n p o i n t i n g j u s t w h e r e y o u r v o i c e is c o m i n g
from. As you m o v e away, you can m a i n t a i n the
impression you're still stationary by speaking
slightly louder.

While you keep a suspect distracted with com-


m a n d s , y o u r p a r t n e r or b a c k - u p m a y b e a b l e t o k e e p
h i m s e l f c o n c e a l e d in shadows and m o v e around the
p e r i m e t e r of t h e l i g h t s s o t h a t h e c o m e s u p b e h i n d
t h e s u s p e c t , a s s u m i n g t h e s u s p e c t is f a c i n g t o w a r d
your lights. Provided you protect your partner
and yourself from cross-fire, your partner t h e n will
b e i n a g o o d p o s i t i o n t o s u r p r i s e y o u r s u s p e c t if h e
appears threatening.
T w o survival-savvy patrolmen in California
showed a police instructor just h o w effective this
t e c h n i q u e can be w h e n they were being tested on
routine field interrogation tactics. T h e y turned
their lights directly on the instructor, w h o was
p l a y i n g t h e r o l e of a s u s p e c t , a n d t h e d r i v e r - o f f i c e r
began interrogating h i m from behind the light cur-
t a i n . A f t e r a f e w m o m e n t s of c o n v e r s a t i o n , t h e
i n s t r u c t o r called a halt to t h e e x e r c i s e and said he
w a s f l u n k i n g b o t h of t h e m . W h y ? a s k e d t h e driver-
officer. "Because," the instructor announced,
" y o u r p a r t n e r is s o l a z y h e n e v e r e v e n g o t o u t of
the patrol c a r ! " At that instant, directly behind his
h e a d , t h e i n s t r u c t o r h e a r d t h e c l i c k of a s e m i -
a u t o m a t i c being cocked. T h e second officer was
standing inches behind h i m . W h i l e the instructor
w a s b l i n d e d b y t h e l i g h t s a n d assuming the second
officer had r e m a i n e d in the car, h e a c t u a l l y had
f l a n k e d o u t i n d a r k n e s s a r o u n d t h e edge of t h e
h e a d l i g h t s a n d s i l e n t l y c r e p t up b e h i n d t h e " s u s -
p e c t " t o a p o s i t i o n of s t r o n g a d v a n t a g e .
O n n i g h t t i m e traffic stops, you m a y w a n t to
u s e y o u r e x t e r n a l s p e a k e r t o order t h e s t o p p e d
driver t o t u r n o n h i s i n s i d e d o m e l i g h t . T h i s p l o y
t e n d s to u n n e r v e s u s p e c t s a n d a l l o w s y o u t o g e t a
b e t t e r v i s u a l of t h e i n t e r i o r b e f o r e y o u l e a v e y o u r
p a t r o l c a r . Y o u c a n t h e n get a n e v e n b e t t e r v i e w
and d i s o r i e n t t h e driver a b i t m o r e b y f l o o d i n g t h e
i n t e r i o r t h r o u g h t h e rear w i n d o w w i t h y o u r h i g h
b e a m s a n d s p o t l i g h t ( s ) . If y o u a r e a l o n e a n d h a v e
t w o s p o t l i g h t s o n y o u r p a t r o l car, b e s u r e t o t u r n
o n b o t h and o p e n y o u r p a s s e n g e r d o o r . T h i s m a y
fool a suspect into believing you have a partner
whose whereabouts c a n ' t be seen from the suspect
vehicle.
Be careful during traffic stops n o t to w a l k b a c k
toward your patrol car and stand directly in front
of t h e h e a d l i g h t s t o w r i t e a t i c k e t , as s o m e o f f i c e r s
do. T h e b r i g h t l i g h t s w i l l l i k e l y d e s t r o y y o u r n i g h t
vision while they clearly silhouette you from the
p e r s p e c t i v e of t h e s t o p p e d d r i v e r , t h e r e b y t u r n i n g
your headlights to the s u s p e c t ' s advantage.
Similarly, back-up cars responding to a night-
t i m e c a l l m u s t t a k e c a r e t h a t t h e i r h e a d l i g h t s do
n o t b l i n d or m a k e s i l h o u e t t e t a r g e t s of o f f i c e r s
a l r e a d y o n t h e s c e n e . If p o s s i b l e , b a c k - u p s s h o u l d
t u r n off all t h e i r l i g h t s as t h e y n e a r t h e s c e n e , e x -
cept their parking lights. T h e cars' rooftop emer-
g e n c y l i g h t s s h o u l d be i n c l u d e d i n t h i s b l a c k o u t .
T h e y c a n b e d i s t r a c t i n g , as w e l l as d a n g e r o u s l y il-
luminating. Parking lights will keep the back-up
c a r s m i n i m a l l y v i s i b l e , b u t n o t m a k e t h e m de-
structive to their own forces.

Improving Night Vision


It u s u a l l y t a k e s a b o u t t h i r t y m i n u t e s for y o u r
" n i g h t v . s i o n " to develop to the point that your
eyes can distinguish objects in dim light w i t h full
a c u i t y . B u t t h e r e are w a y s y o u c a n h a s t e n t h e p r o c -
ess a bit when your a s s i g n m e n t demands that you
m o v e q u i c k l y from light t o u a r k areas.
S a y , for e x a m p l e , y o u are c a l l e d t o a d i m l y lit
b a r or r e s t a u r a n t t o s t o p a f i g h t a s i t u a t i o n i n
w h i c h a n u m b e r of o f f i c e r s h a v e l o s t t h e i r l i v e s .
W h i l e y o u are s t i l l i n t h e w e l l - l i g h t e d o u t d o o r s
s t a r t i n g y o u r a p p r o a c h to t h e s c e n e , c l o s e o n e e y e ,
preferably y o u r s t r o n g e y e . T h e n , as y o u s t e p i n s i d e ,
open that eye. Y o u r visual a d j u s t m e n t will already
be a s t e p a h e a d .
I n a d a r k e n e d area, try t o u t i l i z e o f f - c e n t e r
v i s i o n . In o t h e r w o r d s , w h e n y o u f o c u s y o u r a t t e n -
t i o n o n a n o b j e c t , d o n ' t l o o k d i r e c t l y at i t . D i r e c t
v i s i o n r e q u i r e s t h e u s e of e y e c e l l s t h a t a r e l e a s t
s e n s i t i v e at n i g h t . W h e n y o u l o o k s l i g h t l y t o t h e
s i d e , a b o v e or b e l o w a n o b j e c t , t h e i m a g e is f o r m e d
o n t h e a r e a of t h e e y e w i t h c e l l s m o s t s e n s i t i v e i n
darkness. T h e m o s t sensitive eye area varies w i t h
i n d i v i d u a l s , b u t u s u a l l y y o u c a n h i t it b y l o o k i n g
6 t o 10 d e g r e e s a w a y f r o m a n o b j e c t , s o y o u s e e i t ,
i n e f f e c t , o u t of t h e c o r n e r of y o u r e y e .
S c a n n i n g s t r e n g t h e n s y o u r o f f - c e n t e r v i s i o n . If
y o u t r y t o h o l d a n i m a g e i n t h e c o r n e r of y o u r e y e
l o n g e r t h a n a b o u t 4 t o 1 0 s e c o n d s , it g r a d u a l l y
" b l e a c h e s " o u t . B u t if y o u s h i f t y o u r e y e s e v e r y
f e w s e c o n d s in abrupt, irregular m o v e m e n t s over
a n d a r o u n d t h e o b j e c t or p e r s o n y o u ' r e w a t c h i n g ,
you can m o v e the image to fresh cells. Colds,
headaches, fatigue, narcotics use, heavy smoking
a n d e x c e s s i v e u s e of a l c o h o l r e d u c e y o u r a b i l i t y t o
s e e at n i g h t . In a d d i t i o n , of c o u r s e , t h e y a d v e r s e l y
a f f e c t y o u r s k i l l s at a n t i c i p a t i n g a n d r e s p o n d i n g t o
d a n g e r , w h e t h e r t h e l i g h t is g o o d or b a d . In s h o r t ,
t h e y w o r k for t h e s u s p e c t . . . a n d against y o u r sur-
vival.
VERBAL CHALLENGE

"Police! Don't move!"


I t ' s hard t o p r e d i c t w h a t w i l l h a p p e n w h e n y o u
voice this c o m m a n d to an a r m e d suspect. H e m a y
s t o p dead i n h i s t r a c k s , t h r o w d o w n h i s g u n a n d
plead w . t h y o u n o t t o s h o o t h i m . . . h e m a y i g n o r e
y o u or p r e t e n d h e d i d n ' t h e a r and w a l k a w a y . . . h e
m a y c l a i m h e is a p l a i n c l o t h e s o f f i c e r a n d order
you t o p u t a w a y your g u n . . . h e m a y c o n s i d e r y o u r
words an invitation to a g u n f i g h t a n d start shoot-
ing....
A n y w a y y o u s l i c e it, t h e m o m e n t of c o n -
f r o n t a t i o n is a t e n s e o n e , and t h o s e t h r e e w o r d s
"Police! D o n ' t m o v e ! " o f t e n mark the turning
p o i n t of a n a r m e d e n c o u n t e r . Y o u m a y b e a c c u s -
t o m e d to individuals doing w h a t you say, but w h e n
you issue a c o m m a n d to a person w h o has a loaded
g u n , y o u h a v e t o b e prepared for anything.
T h i s m u c h is c e r t a i n . . . W h e n t h e r i s k s a n d
p o t e n t i a l b e n e f i t s are w e i g h e d , t h e r e is a l w a y s o n e
p e r s u a s i v e a r g u m e n t for a t t e m p t i n g a v e r b a l c h a l -
l e n g e before s h o t s are fired: situations where you
confront armed individuals are not always what
they seem. By clearly a n n o u n c i n g your office and
g i v i n g an order t o s t o p t h e a c t i o n , y o u m a y be a b l e
to buy t i m e in w h i c h to better establish the sus-
pect's identity and intentions. T h e last thing you
w a n t is t o u s e d e a d l y f o r c e a g a i n s t s o m e o n e w h o
did n o t c o m m i t a c r i m e .
T w o contrasting episodes illustrate the point.
O n e n i g h : in C h i c a g o a n o f f i c e r w a s c a l l e d t o a
tavern to put down a fight a m o n g t h e patrons. H e
got everybody c a l m e d down and was preparing to
l e a v e w h e n s o m e o n e s h o u t e d : " T h e y ' r e at it a g a i n ! "
T h e o f f i c e r r a n t h e l e n g t h of t h e b a r , a n d as h e
r o u n d e d t h e e n d , h e s a w o n e of t h e b a r t e n d e r s f l a t
on his b a c k on the floor, a young Latino sitting on
h i s c h e s t . A f l a s h of m e t a l f r o m t h e y o u n g m a n ' s
h a n d l o o k e d l i k e h e h a d a g u n o r a k n i f e at t h e
bartender's throat. T h e officer's revolver was out,
r e a d y t o s h o o t . . . t h e n e e d for a c t i o n s e e m e d u r g e n t .
B u t he paused long enough to issue a verbal chal-
l e n g e . It w a s a d e c i s i o n h e h a s a l w a y s b e e n g r a t e f u l
for. T h e b a r t e n d e r t u r n e d o u t t o b e e x p e r i e n c i n g a n
epileptic seizure. T h e L a t i n o was t h e c o o k in t h e
p l a c e w h o w a s t r y i n g t o h o l d t h e m a n ' s t o n g u e in
place w i t h a fork to keep h i m from swallowing it.

Foi maximum protection, issue verbal


commands from behind cover. If this
suspect spins around and shoots, the
officer [right] is shielded by the wall.
A n o t h e r night, in M i c h i g a n , an off-duty officer
h e a r d t h r e e s h o t s fired i n rapid s u c c e s s i o n i n a h a l l -
w a y o u t s i d e h i s b e d r o o m . It s o u n d e d as if h e w e r e
under a t t a c k . W i t h o u t saying a word, h e picked up
h i s r e v o l v e r a n d s h o t b a c k i n t h e d i r e c t i o n of t h e
noise. His bullet s t r u c k t h e " o f f e n d e r " in t h e
c h e s t h i s six-year-old daughter, w h o was playing
w i t h her brother's cap pistol.
A consistent c o m m a n d like " P o l i c e ! D o n ' t
m o v e ! " c a n p r e v e n t s u c h t r a g e d i e s . C o m m i t it t o
m e m o r y r i g h t n o w if y o u r d e p a r t m e n t d o e s n ' t
specify a different c o m m a n d . Even w h e n used
against a genuine suspect, this s t a t e m e n t , force-
f u l l y d e l i v e r e d f r o m a p o s i t i o n of c o v e r e i t h e r b y
y o u r d i r e c t v o i c e or o v e r y o u r e x t e r i o r s p e a k e r , m a y
be sufficiently intimidating to keep the situation
f r o m e s c a l a t i n g i n t o v i o l e n c e . It i n s t a n t l y e s t a b -
l i s h e s w h o y o u are a n d t e l l s t h e p e r s o n c h a l l e n g e d
e x a c t l y w h a t y o u w a n t h i m t o d o . If h e f o l l o w s y o u r
order, his s a f e t y is p r o t e c t e d a n d y o u c a n g a i n c o n -
t r o l of the a c t i o n w i t h o u t g u n f i r e .
B e c a u s e of t h e s t r e s s a n d h e i g h t e n e d e m o t i o n
involved :n m o s t confrontations, a verbal challenge
is r a r e l y a s i m p l e , c u t - a n d - d r i e d m a t t e r . Your
c h a l l e n g i n g a s u s p e c t s u c c e s s f u l l y a n d m a k i n g it
s t i c k in m a n y cases will heavily depend on your
ability to understand and use applied p s y c h o l o g y .
And like other survival procedures, your tactics
c a n b a c k l i r e if n o t p r o p e r l y and c o n f i d e n t l y e m -
ployed.
Practice and experience will sharpen your
s k i l l s . M e a n w h i l e , h e r e are s o m e of t h e n u a n c e s
y o u ' l l w a n t to keep in m i n d in using verbal lan-
guage, d e p e n d i n g o n w h e t h e r y o u ' r e f a c i n g a c r i m i -
n a l . . . a f e l l o w o f f i c e r w h o s e i d e n t i t y is h i d d e n . . . o r
an i n n o c e n t c i v i l i a n .

Suspect Control

Y o u ' r e s a f e s t if y o u a l w a y s a s s u m e at t h e o u t s e t
t h a t t h e p e r s o n y o u ' r e c h a l l e n g i n g is a n o f f e n d e r
and w i l l r e s p o n d v i o l e n t l y . W h e r e t h a t p r o v e s n o t
to b e t h e c a s e , y o u ' v e l o s t n o t h i n g w i t h a c o n s e r v -
ative a p p r o a c h , a n d w h e r e it is s o , y o u m a y g a i n
everything. T h e r e f o r e , w h e r e possible:
1. issue your command from behind cover.
This t a c t i c c o u l d h a v e s a v e d a s t a t e t r o o p e r i n u p -
date N e w Y o r k w h o tried to arrest a young m a n w h o
vas s t a n d i n g i n a s t r e e t w i t h a . 2 2 c a l . r i f l e a f t e r
laving murdered his girlfriend. W h e n the trooper
;ot o u t of h i s c a r a n d o r d e r e d t h e s u s p e c t t o drop
lis r i f l e , t h e m a n i n s t e a d a b r u p t l y r a i s e d it. H e s h o t
the u n p r o t e c t e d officer in the thigh, then, as he fell
to the ground, rushed up and killed h i m w i t h a shot
in t h e head.

2. have your gun in hand or have your holster


unsnapped and your hand properly positioned,
ready to draw. T h e s u s p e c t m a y m o v e f a s t , as i n t h e
c a s e a b o v e , or, if h i s b a c k is t o y o u w h e n y o u i s s u e
y o u r c o m m a n d , h e m a y h a v e a g u n i n his h a n d t h a t
y o u c a n n o t s e e . If y o u know h e ' s armed, have your
f i r e a r m o n t a r g e t before y o u o p e n y o u r m o u t h .
3. voice your verbal challenge before the sus-
pect makes one of his own. Sometimes, whoever
m a n a g e s to speak first gains an i m p o r t a n t p s y c h o -
l o g i c a l , a n d o f t e n p h y s i c a l , edge t h a t m a y t h e n
prevail throughout the incident. W h e r e a challenge
has anticipated trouble and was planned ahead,
i s s u i n g t h e c h a l l e n g e is l i k e l y t o c o i n c i d e w i t h a
s t a t e of r e a d i n e s s , w h i l e t h e r e c i p i e n t of it m a y n o t
y e t h a v e r e a c h e d t h a t l e v e l of p r e p a r e d n e s s . I n o n e
m i d w e s t e r n case, a m a n w h o had b e e n reportec
a c t i n g " s u s p i c i o u s " i n a n a l l e y w a t c h e d t w o offi-
c e r s d r i v e t h e i r p a t r o l c a r u p t o h i m a n d get o u t t o
i n v e s t i g a t e . H e l o o k e d i n n o c u o u s e n o u g h , b u t as
s o o n as t h e y s t e p p e d a w a y f r o m t h e c a r , h e w h i p p e d
a sawed-off shotgun from under his coat and then
i s s u e d a v e r b a l c h a l l e n g e : " D r o p y o u r g u n s , or I'l
b l o w you a w a y . " One-upped, t h e officers w e r e in no
position t h e n to issue h i m any orders. O n e was kid-
n a p p e d a n d h e l d h o s t a g e for s e v e r a l h o u r s w i t h a
g u n t o h i s h e a d b e f o r e o t h e r o f f i c e r s n e g o t i a t e d an
end to the episode. F r o m the outset, y o u w a n t to
m a i n t a i n a n offensive position, not a defensive one.

If y o u f o l l o w t h e s e p r o c e d u r e s a n d t h e s u s p e c t
still ignores w h a t you tell h i m and keeps moving,
you can pursue h i m . . . c o n t i n u e issuing the chal-
l e n g e . . . a n d , i d e a l l y , w i t h t h e h e l p of b a c k - u p
o f f i c e r s , t r y t o t a k e p h y s i c a l c o n t r o l of h i m . T h e r e ' s
a l w a y s t h e c h a n c e t h a t h e d i d n ' t h e a r y o u r order
(he m a y h a v e a r a d i o t o h i s e a r o r t u r n e d u p louc
if h e ' s i n a v e h i c l e ) , d i d n ' t u n d e r s t a n d it (he m a y
s p e a k a f o r e i g n l a n g u a g e ) or d i d n ' t t h i n k y o u m e a n t
it. I n o n e C a l i f o r n i a c a s e , o f f i c e r s s p o t t e d a y o u n g
m a n o n t h e s t r e e t w h o a n s w e r e d t h e d e s c r i p t i o n o:
a sniper suspect. As h e w a l k e d toward t h e m they
ordered h i m to s t o p b u t h e kept c o m i n g . . . a n c
r e a c h e d t o w a r d h i s b a c k . T h i n k i n g h e w a s going
for a gun, t h e y s h o t and killed h i m t o discovei
t h a t h e r e a l l y w a s r e a c h i n g f o r h i s w a l l e t t o show
t h e m a c a r d t h a t i d e n t i f i e d h i m as a d e a f - m u t e .
R e m e m b e r , y o u ' r e justified in shooting a sus
p e c t u n d e r m o s t s t a t e l a w s only if h e h o l d s youi
l i f e or o t h e r s i n m o r t a l d a n g e r , or w h e n y o u know
h e is f l e e i n g f r o m a v i o l e n t f e l o n y . ( O b v i o u s l y , pan
of y o u r f i r e a r m s p r e p a r e d n e s s i n v o l v e s u n d e r s t a n d

112
ing precisely w h a t t h e law states in your jurisdic-
t i o n . ) T h e f o r m e r j u s t i f i c a t i o n for s h o o t i n g r e a s o n -
a b l y a p p l i e s if a s u s p e c t c o n t i n u e s t o p o i n t h i s g u n
at y o u (or s h o o t s ) w h e n y o u t e l l h i m t o p u t it d o w n .
As to t h e latter, you need to be very certain in s o m e
j u r i s d i c t i o n s of w h a t y o u " k n o w . " O n e o f f i c e r
spotted two suspects standing inside a damaged
s c r e e n d o o r at a c l o s e d g r o c e r y s t o r e o n e n i g h t .
W h e n t h e y ignored his verbal challenge and fled,
h e s h o t at t h e m . A n o t h e r o f f i c e r did t h e s a m e w h e n
his words were ineffective in halting a m a n h e saw
running through an alley carrying a television set
and a tape player. Although n e i t h e r officer hit his
target, b o t h w e r e officially r e p r i m a n d e d t h e first
because subsequent investigation s h o w e d no bur-
glary h a d a c t u a l l y o c c u r r e d a n d t h e o t h e r b e c a u s e
h e c o u l d n ' t b e sure a f e l o n y h a d b e e n c o m m i t t e d .
In o t h e r w o r d s , j u s t b e c a u s e y o u ' r e f r u s t r a t e d . . .
can't run any farther...or c a n ' t t h i n k of another
w a y t o s t o p a s u s p e c t is n o j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r u s i n g
deadly f o r c e if y o u r v e r b a l c h a l l e n g e f a i l s t o w o r k
initially. Indeed, even in jurisdictions that p e r m i t
t h e s h o o t i n g of f l e e i n g f e l o n s , m a n y d e p a r t m e n t s ,
t o l e s s e n t h e c h a n c e of a t r a g e d y , l i m i t t h e i r offi-
c e r s t o f i r i n g only w h e n n e c e s s a r y t o d e f e n d a l i f e .
Legally, t h a t ' s the safest position.
In s o m e s t a t e s , o f f i c e r s h a v e t h e o p t i o n of t e l l -
ing a s u s p e c t , " Y o u ' r e u n d e r a r r e s t , " i m m e d i a t e l y
after issuing their initial c h a l l e n g e . A n y disobe-
d i e n c e or a g g r e s s i v e b e h a v i o r o n h i s p a r t a f t e r t h a t
is r e s i s t i n g a r r e s t , w h i c h is a f e l o n y i n t h o s e j u r i s -
d i c t i o n s . W h e t h e r t h i s w i l l w o r k f o r y o u , of c o u r s e ,
depends o n your state laws.

The officer here points his revolver at


the driver of a bulldozer [being stopped
pending court approval to demolish a
hotel]. The officer is reported to have
told the driver ' 'move that thing and I'll
blow your head off. "

113
S o m e officers believe they can persuade reluc-
t a n t suspects to cooperate by underscoring their
c h a l l e n g e s w i t h verbal threats. T h e y argue that
strong talk, a la " D i r t y H a r r y , " can overpower an
adversary m e n t a l l y and c o n v i n c e h i m he has no
c h a n c e of s u r v i v i n g a c o n f r o n t a t i o n . T h e i d e a is t o
appear u t t e r l y m e n a c i n g , e v e n e a g e r f o r a n e x c u s e
to s h o o t . At the very least, facing a suspect on the
s t r e e t , a n o f f i c e r of t h i s p e r s u a s i o n m i g h t y e l l :
" G e t u p a g a i n s t t h e f u c k i n g c a r or I ' l l b l o w y o u r
h e a d o f f ! " O r : ' ' Y o u f e e l l u c k y today? Y o u w a n t t o
die t o d a y ? " O r , i n a t o n e of l e t h a l s i n c e r i t y :
' ' T h i n k y o u c a n get to that gun? I hope y o u ' r e stupid
e n o u g h t o t r y ! " " M a k e h i m t h i n k , if h e d o e s , y o u ' r e
gonna put six in t h e big ten r i n g , ' ' explains a devotee
of t h i s a p p r o a c h . " I f y o u ' r e c l o s e e n o u g h , m a y b e
you s t i c k your gun up against h i s head and let h i m
h e a r y o u c o c k i t . S a y , ' M a n , if y o u e v e n fart y o u r
h e a d ' s g o n n a b e all o v e r t h a t w a l l ! ' Y o u w a n t t h e
crook to t h i n k Attila the H u n was a pussy com-
pared to y o u . "

M o s t d e p a r t m e n t s ' b r a s s get a p o p l e x y t h i n k i n g
about such dialog. T h e y point out, quite properly,
that its use constitutes unprofessional conduct.
A n d t h e y r a i s e t h e v a l i d q u e s t i o n , W h a t do y o u do
if f e a r f a i l s t o w o r k a n d t h e s u s p e c t c a l l s y o u r
bluff? W e k n o w , of c o u r s e , t h a t v e r b a l t h r e a t s are
u s e d o n t h e s t r e e t a n d t h a t t h e y do w o r k for some
suspects. B u t there are real hazards you should
r e c o g n i z e . T h e c h a n c e s are o v e r w h e l m i n g t h a t
y o u ' l l b e b e s t off t o l e a v e t h i s a p p r o a c h t o t h e t e l e -
vision cops.
F o r o n e t h i n g , i t ' s d i f f i c u l t t o shoot at t h e s a m e
t i m e y o u ' r e talking: usually your m o u t h h a s to
s t o p b e f o r e y o u r trigger f i n g e r c a n s t a r t . T h e r e f o r e ,
if y o u g e t i n v o l v e d i n a n e x t e n d e d v e r b a l c h a l l e n g e ,
you're actually slowing down your own reaction
time.
In a d d i t i o n , t h r e a t e n i n g l a n g u a g e c a n f u e l a n
already volatile situation. Ideally, w i t h a verbal
c h a l l e n g e you want to effect a de-escalation of
force. Y o u r s u c c e s s is c o n f i r m e d , r e a l l y , b y n o o n e
firing a s h o t . By using aggressive t h r e a t s , you m a y
provoke v i o l e n c e in a suspect w h o w o u l d other-
w i s e s u b m i t . H e m a y get t h e m e s s a g e t h a t y o u ' r e
taking h i m o n and feel, in desperation, that his
o n l y h o p e is t o t r y t o s h o o t h i s w a y o u t . O r h e m a y
i n t e r p r e t y o u r e x a g g e r a t e d l a n g u a g e as e v i d e n c e
that y o u are really terrifiedand v u l n e r a b l e .
T h e n , t o o , if y o u are f o r c e d t o s h o o t h i m and a
c o m p l a i n t is f i l e d a s a r e s u l t , y o u r d e f e n s e w i l l
u n d o u b t e d l y b e w e a k e n e d if y o u r v e r b a l c h a l l e n g e
h a s m a d e it a p p e a r y o u w e r e u n s c r u p u l o u s l y ag-
g r e s s i v e in t h e u s e of f i r e a r m s .
U n l e s s y o u ' r e an outstanding a c t o r and an ex-
c e p t i o n a l judge of h u m a n r e s p o n s e , y o u ' r e p r o b a b l y
b e t t e r off t o d r a w o n s o m e of t h e b a s i c p r i n c i p l e s
behind threatening challenges and o m i t the abusive
l a n g u a g e . T h a t i s , in d e l i v e r i n g a c h a l l e n g e , y o u
w a n t to sound a u t h o r i t a t i v e . . . f o r c e f u l . . . s i n c e r e , so
you control and d o m i n a t e the s c e n e . B a r k out your
c o m m a n d s , f a s t . . i o u d Y o u r t o n e of v o i c e is v e r y
i m p o r t a n t . You mean business. It's not: " D o n ' t
move," it's D O N ' T M O V E ! " w i t h your voice
c o n v e y i n g t h a t y o u ' r e o n t h e v e r y b r i n k of a c t i o n .
If y o u f e e l y o u n e e d t o u n d e r s c o r e y o u r c o m m a n d ,
keep your words short, plain, uncluttered: " D r o p
t h e g u n or y o u ' r e d e a d . . . N o w ! " I n all c a s e s , y o u
avoid telling a suspect, " I d o n ' t w a n t to shoot y o u , "
or p l e a d i n g , " D o n ' t m a k e m e s h o o t y o u . " T h i s
c o n v e y s a l a c k of c o m m i t m e n t o n y o u r p a r t t h a t
he m a y try to exploit. I t ' s best also to avoid stating
questions, even rhetorical ones; you're telling,
not asking.
If y o u f e e l y o u must t r y t o r e a s o n w i t h a s u s -
p e c t , b e t t e r t h a n t h e m a c h o a p p r o a c h m i g h t be t o
tell h i m : " P u t down the gun. Y o u h a v e n ' t killed
a n y o n e y e t . If y o u t r y t o s h o o t m e , I ' l l s t i l l g e t a
s h o t o f f . " M a k e it c l e a r t h a t n o o n e is g o i n g t o
escalate violence unless he doesand that he has a
vested interest in n o t doing so.
W h a t e v e r you tell h i m , be sure it's nothing
m o r e t h a n y o u ' r e prepared t o b a c k u p . U n l e s s i t ' s
true, y o u d o n ' t s a y t h i n g s l i k e , " I ' m t e l l i n g y o u
o n e l a s t t i m e , " e t c . If h e c a l l s y o u r b l u f f a n d y o u do
n o t h i n g , y o u ' v e l o s t y o u r c r e d i b i l i t y as w e l l as y o u r
o f f e n s i v e p o s i t i o n . B y t h e s a m e t o k e n , if h e d o e s
o b e y y o u , b e c a r e f u l . T h e t e n d e n c y t h e n is t o r e l a x ,
l e t y o u r guard d o w n . T h i s c a n b e t h e m o s t dan-
g e r o u s m o m e n t for y o u of t h e c h a l l e n g e .
Throughout your challenge, w a t c h his hands.
Hands kill. If h e h a s o n e i n h i s p o c k e t , order h i m
t o t u r n h i s b a c k t o y o u if i t ' s d a y l i g h t or f a c e y o u r
s p o t l i g h t at n i g h t . T h e n h a v e h i m w i t h d r a w h i s
l a n d . . . s l o w l y . O r , if y o u are c l o s e , p u l l it o u t y o u r -
self, slowly from behind h i m . Y o u don't w a n t h i m
to b r i n g h i s h a n d o u t u n r e s t r i c t e d or u n c o n t r o l l e d ,
f h e h a s a g u n i n h i s h a n d , order h i m t o drop it or,
even safer, t o l a y it d o w n s l o w l y .
E x c e p t for c a r r y i n g o u t y o u r o r d e r s , y o u w a n t t o
l o l d f i r m w i t h y o u r c o m m a n d of " D o n ' t m o v e . "
Tell h i m if h e m o v e s in a n y w a y c o n t r a r y t o y o u r
irders, you'll be " f o r c e d to t a k e appropriate ac-
i o n . " T h a t ' s technically vague, but h e ' l l draw
h e r i g h t c o n c l u s i o n . If y o u a l l o w a s u s p e c t t o
n o v e of h i s o w n v o l i t i o n , y o u b e c o m e a c c u s t o m e d
o seeing h i m m o v e . Y o u tend to relax...and t h e n
le m a y m a k e h i s big m o v e , u n e x p e c t e d l y .
Ordinarily, when you issue a verbal challenge,
o u h a v e t h e s u s p e c t in s i g h t or k n o w w h e r e h e is
B u t s o m e t i m e s y o u c a n u s e it s u c c e s s f u l l y t o de-
t e r m i n e w h e r e h e i s . Y o u do t h i s h y a n n o u n c i n g
y o u r o f f i c e a n d s h o u t i n g c o m m a n d s at l i k e l y h i d i n g
p l a c e s . D u r i n g a r o o m s e a r c h , for e x a m p l e , y o u
m i g h t address a c l o s e t : " P o l i c e ! D o n ' t m o v e ! Y o u
in t h e c l o s e t s l o w l y c o m e o u t w i t h y o u r h a n d s
u p ! " A suspect inside might be bluffed into thinking
you really k n o w h e ' s there. But again, issue your
c h a l l e n g e f r o m b e h i n d c o v e r a n d b e p r e p a r e d for
anything. He m i g h t c o m e out m e e k l y and surren-
der... or h e m i g h t suddenly burst o u t . . . o r shoot
t h r o u g h t h e d o o r . A n d if t h e r e ' s n o r e s p o n s e f r o m
the possible hiding place, you'll still have to c h e c k
it o u t b e f o r e p a s s i n g o n .
B e t t e r t o t r y a b l u f f e d c h a l l e n g e t h a n t o b e left
w o n d e r i n g if it w o u l d h a v e w o r k e d , a f t e r i t ' s t o o
late. L i k e t h e officers in L o u i s i a n a w h o were
s e a r c h i n g a l o n g a n a p a r t m e n t h o u s e b a l c o n y for a
burglar w h o had killed a civilian and wounded a
policeman. As they looked ahead, they spotted a
w o o d e n s h u t t e r ajar f r o m t h e w a l l , n o t a n i m p r o b -
a b l e p l a c e t o h i d e . B u t i n s t e a d of first s h o u t i n g a
challenge, they walked up on the shutter, cold.
T h e suspect was standing behind it. As the officers
g o t c l o s e , h e fired o n t h e m w i t h a . 3 5 7 c a l . r e v o l v e r ,
s t r i k i n g a d e t e c t i v e f a t a l l y in t h e c h e s t .

Officer Identification
W h i l e y o u s h o u l d a s s u m e i n i t i a l l y t h a t an>
s u s p e c t y o u ' r e c h a l l e n g i n g is a c r i m i n a l , b e a r ir
m i n d if y o u s e e t h a t h e ' s a r m e d t h a t h e m a y b e
l a w e n f o r c e m e n t o f f i c e r , o u t of u n i f o r m b e c a u s e
h e ' s off d u t y o r a s s i g n e d t o a p l a i n c l o t h e s d e t a i l .
T h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s m a y m a k e it h a r d for y o u t o tel!
i m m e d i a t e l y . S a y , f o r e x a m p l e , y o u ' r e o n patrol
when s o m e o n e claims he has just been robbed. Y o i
r u n d o w n a n a l l e y in t h e d i r e c t i o n h e ' s p o i n t i n g anc
b e h i n d a trash d u m p s t e r y o u spot one m a n face
down on the ground, another bending over hir
p o i n t i n g a g u n at h i s h e a d . B o t h are c a s u a l l y d r e s s e d
w i t h n o d i s t i n g u i s h i n g i n s i g n i a . Is t h e m a n w i t l
t h e g u n a r o b b e r , f l e e c i n g a n o t h e r v i c t i m , or ar
undercover detective making a pinch?
A c a s e n o t u n l i k e t h i s o c c u r r e d o n L o n g Island
N e w Y o r k . A n o f f i c e r w o r k i n g a t r a f f i c d e t a i l hearc
a s h o t n e a r h i s i n t e r s e c t i o n a n d w h e n h e r a n t(
investigate, he found a m a n w i t h a gun standin;
o v e r a n o t h e r m a n , w i t h b l o o d o n t h e g r o u n d aroun(
t h e m . W h e n t h e p a t r o l m a n y e l l e d , " D r o p i t ! " thj
a r m e d s u s p e c t t u r n e d t o w a r d t h e o f f i c e r . " I sav
t h e b a r r e l of t h e g u n d i r e c t l y at m e , a n d I c o u l d se<
the loaded c h a m b e r s on both s i d e s , " the p a t r o l m a n
s a i d . H e fired a s i n g l e s h o t . T h e " s u s p e c t " h e h i t
w a s l a t e r i d e n t i f i e d as a d e t e c t i v e b u t b y t h e n t h e
bullet had ricocheted f r o m a bone in t h e plain-
c l o t h e s m a n ' s shoulder and penetrated several vital
organs, causing his death. In another N e w Y o r k
case, an officer was told by an excited civilian that
t w o b l a c k m e n w e r e f i g h t i n g o v e r a g u n in f r o n t
of a s t o r e . H e c a u t i o u s l y a p p r o a c h e d a n d i d e n t i f i e d
h i m s e l f f r o m b e h i n d t h e m . O n e of t h e " s u s p e c t s "
in fact, a p l a i n c l o t h e s m a n trying to subdue a
robberturned toward the challenging officer w i t h
a non-regulation revolver in his hand. T h e officer
shot and killed h i m .

Off-duty officer lies wounded in the


abdomen after being shot by another
off-duty officer while reaching for iden-
tification. The other officer thought
he was reaching for a firearm.

A s t h e n u m b e r of o f f i c e r s h a s p r o l i f e r a t e d i n
r e c e n t y e a r s and m o r e h a v e b e e n a s s i g n e d t o
civilian dress, such risks have m u s h r o o m e d . Even
if y o u ' r e i n a s m a l l t o w n w h e r e y o u k n o w all y o u r
fellow officers, your not recognizing a suspect w i t h
a g u n as a l a w m a n m a y n o t b e c o n c l u s i v e . S u p p o s e
he's on assignment from an outside agency...or
j u s t an o u t - o f - t o w n o f f i c e r o n v a c a t i o n w h o h a p -
pened to w i t n e s s the crime-in-progress and re-
sponded w h i l e passing through. O r suppose i t ' s just
t o o d a r k for y o u to s e e p l a i n l y . I n large c i t i e s , of
c o u r s e , t h e r e c o g n i t i o n p r o b l e m is i m p o s s i b l y
m a g n i f i e d . In N e w Y o r k C i t y , b e s i d e s t h e p o l i c e
d e p a r t m e n t , there are the FBI, the Secret Service,
the Treasury Department, the State's Attorney's
Office, the Transit Authority, the Housing Author-
ity, the C o r r e c t i o n s D e p a r t m e n t , A m t r a k , the
P o r t A u t h o r i t y . . . a l a u n d r y l i s t of i n d e p e n d e n t
a g e n c i e s w i t h a t o t a l of s o m e 4 1 , 0 0 0 a r m e d o f f i c e r s ,
in u n i f o r m a n d p l a i n c l o t h e s , at w o r k or o f f - d u t y
in t h e m e t r o p o l i t a n area o n a n y g i v e n day. S c a l e d
down appropriately, the s a m e situation exists in
other cities coast to coast.

117
Officers in p l a i n c l o t h e s are exceptionally
v u l n e r a b l e . C o m p a r e d t o t h e p e r c e n t a g e of p o l i c e
a c t i o n s t h e y a r e i n v o l v e d in, t h e r a t i o at w h i c h t h e y
are k i l l e d b y g u n s h o t s is d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y h i g h .
A n d i n i n c i d e n t s t h a t are e s p e c i a l l y t r a g i c , a dis-
t u r b i n g n u m b e r of t h e m are s h o t b y f e l l o w o f f i c e r s
w h o m i s t a k e t h e m for a r m e d a s s a i l a n t s . S u c h a
case occurred in L o u i s i a n a w h e n police responded
to a store robbery. T h e v i c t i m reported that a w h i t e
car sped past his b u s i n e s s just after t h e bandit ran
out. Police spotted the car and gave chase. Soon,
t h e v e h i c l e stopped, and the driver e m e r g e d w i t h
a g u n i n h i s h a n d . H e w a s s h o t i m m e d i a t e l y in
t h e c h e s t by approaching officers and died. U n -
fortunately, he turned out to be a police tow truck
operator w h o had been chasing t h e real robber in
his private automobile.
T h i s risk can be m i n i m i z e d w i t h an appropriate
" c h a l l e n g e and r e p l y " procedure and an i m m e d i a t e
c o n c e r n for b e i n g u n d e r s t o o d . In t h i s c a s e , t h e c h a l -
lenge b e c o m e s a two-way street, involving respon-
sible words and a c t i o n s by b o t h the challenging
officer and the challenged " s u s p e c t . " Realistically

You 're a uniformed officer just ar-


riving at this scene. How would you
react to the man with the gun!

118
speaking, the officer being challenged has the
primary responsibility to give proper responses,
but the challenging officer has the obligation to
use sound judgment and t a c t i c s in h i s approach.

If y o u are t h e c h a l l e n g i n g officer:

T r y t o t a k e c o v e r , as a l w a y s , b e f o r e v o i c i n g
your challenge. Positioning yourself behind a
" s u s p e c t " allows y o u m o r e t i m e to judge his
reactions and gives you a certain tactical advantage
over b e i n g t o h i s s i d e . B u t r e m e m b e r , a p l a i n c l o t h e s
officer surprised by a challenge from behind w h i l e
h e ' s m a k i n g a n a r r e s t or e n g a g e d i n o t h e r p o l i c e
a c t i v i t y m a y i m p u l s i v e l y w h i r l a n d s h o o t , or at
least start to turn in your direction. T h i s possibility
is p a r t i c u l a r l y k e e n s h o u l d y o u n e g l e c t t o a n n o u n c e
t h a t y o u are a p o l i c e o f f i c e r at t h e o u t s e t of y o u r
c o m m a n d . If y o u a r e b e h i n d c o v e r , y o u m a y n o t
h a v e t o s h o o t at h i m i m m e d i a t e l y .

Actually, he's a detective. Here he has


taken time to protect himself by exiting
the doorway with the badge visible.

119
Don't b e c o m e a v i c t i m of t h e "symbolic
opponent s y n d r o m e , " that is, m a k i n g assumptions
b e c a u s e of a p r e c o n c e i v e d n o t i o n t h a t p l a c e s a per-
s o n i n t o a " b a d g u y " c a t e g o r y b e c a u s e of h i s r a c e ,
n a t i o n a l i t y , age, g r o o m i n g or m o d e of d r e s s . Looks
can be deceiving a n d s h o u l d n o t b e u s e d as t h e b a s i s
for i r r e v e r s i b l e p o l i c e a c t i o n . O f f i c e r s i n t a c t i c a l
u n i t s or o n u n d e r c o v e r a s s i g n m e n t s m a y b e d e l i b -
erately dressed to l o o k like " s u s p e c t t y p e s " in
order t o b l e n d i n w i t h t h e i r w o r k e n v i r o n m e n t .
T h e i r h a n d g u n s , t o o , m a y b e s m a l l , c h e a p or o t h e r -
w i s e u n c o n v e n t i o n a l . At one t i m e , an officer's gun
w a s l i k e l y t o b e " f a c t o r y b l u e d , " w i t h a 2- or 4 - i n c h
b a r r e l a n d m a n u f a c t u r e d b y S m i t h & W e s s o n or C o l t .
In recent years, however, there has been a trend
t o w a r d t h e s t a i n l e s s s t e e l or n i c k e l / c h r o m e p l a t e d
r e v o l v e r , o n c e s t e r e o t y p e d as c a r r i e d b y c r i m i n a l s .
U n d e r c o v e r personnel, especially, m a y carry derrin-
gers or s m a l l s e m i - a u t o m a t i c s , s o a v a r i e t y of g u n s
are " p o l i c e g u n s " n o w a d a y s .
If, i n r e s p o n s e t o y o u r c h a l l e n g e , t h e " s u s p e c t "
c l a i m s h e is a p o l i c e o f f i c e r , f i r s t order h i m t o s l o w l y
holster his gun. T h e n in a firm but courteous m a n -
ner, tell h i m to slowly produce his identification
c a r d , b a d g e or a n y o t h e r c r e d e n t i a l s t h a t w i l l iden-
tify h i m . E x a m i n e t h e m carefully to d e t e r m i n e
their validity and, w h e r e possible, c h e c k to see
t h a t a n y description in t h e credentials fits t h e
s u s p e c t . Y o u m i g h t w a n t to pursue h i s identity by
asking h i m something police officers, but not m o s t
civilians, might reasonably k n o w l i k e the num-
bered designation for h o m i c i d e in your s t a t e ' s
penal code.
Do not take your gun off the "suspect" until
you are 100 per cent certain h i s s t o r y is l e g i t . E v e n
t h e n , r e m a i n on guard and a t t e n t i v e . C r e d e n t i a l s
c a n b e f o r g e d . . . p o l i c e b a d g e s c a n b e l o s t , s t o l e n or
counterfeited.

If y o u are t h e c h a l l e n g e d officer:

K e e p f i r m l y i n m i n d t h a t y o u are at a s t r o n g
tactical disadvantage. R e m e m b e r : to the challenging
o f f i c e r , y o u are a s u s p e c t . Act as you would have a
suspect act if y o u w e r e c h a l l e n g i n g h i m . A l s o ,
r e m e m b e r t h a t t h e o f f i c e r m a y or m a y n o t b e i n
u n i f o r m and m a y or m a y n o t c o n f o r m to your
s t e r e o t y p e of a l a w e n f o r c e m e n t o f f i c e r .
A s s o o n as y o u a r e c h a l l e n g e d v e r b a l l y , i d e n t i f y
y o u r s e l f as a l a w e n f o r c e m e n t o f f i c e r i n a l o u d ,
clear voice, then state your rank...name...and
a s s i g n m e n t . . . a n d t h e n a t u r e of y o u r a c t i o n s ( m a k i n g

120
arrest, e t c . ) . If y o u r s i d e a r m or s h o t g u n is n o t d r a w n
or is w h e r e h e c a n ' t s e e it, i n f o r m h i m y o u a r e
a r m e d . If y o u a r e c o v e r i n g a s u s p e c t , a s k y o u r c h a l -
l e n g e r ' s p e r m i s s i o n t o k e e p y o u r g u n o n h i m . If h e
i n s i s t s y o u drop it, p l a c e t h e f i r e a r m o u t of t h e
suspect's reach and try to m a i n t a i n c o n t r o l over
h i m as b e s t y o u c a n .
F o l l o w all y o u r c h a l l e n g e r ' s i n s t r u c t i o n s , w i t h -
out " t a k i n g an a t t i t u d e " about being challenged.
Remain motionless, e v e n if it m e a n s s t o p p i n g y o u r
p u r s u i t of a f l e e i n g s u s p e c t . If i n d o u b t a b o u t y o u r
c h a l l e n g e r ' s d i r e c t i o n s or q u e s t i o n s , a s k h i m t o
repeat. D o n ' t argue; h e ' s in c o m m a n d .
A s s o o n as p o s s i b l e , t r y t o d e v e l o p d i a l o g w i t h
your challenger, using words and phrases c o m m o n l y
familiar only to police personnel. N e w Y o r k C i t y ,
for e x a m p l e , a d v i s e s c h a l l e n g e d o f f i c e r s t o p e r h a p s
begin a response with " I ' m on the j o b ! " w h i c h
c o n s t i t u t e s s o m e t h i n g of a c o d e p h r a s e .
It m a y b e n e c e s s a r y for y o u t o a s k y o u r c h a l -
l e n g e r w h a t h e w a n t s y o u t o d o , i n t e r m s of m o v e -
m e n t s . If h e d o e s n o t d e m a n d y o u r I D , a s k p e r m i s -
sion to s h o w it. Before reaching for it, i n f o r m h i m
of i t s e x a c t l o c a t i o n a n d get h i s p e r m i s s i o n b e f o r e
m o v i n g . In a n t i c i p a t i o n of b e i n g c h a l l e n g e d , o n e
o p t i o n is t o c a r r y y o u r b a d g e or o t h e r c r e d e n t i a l s
in a n o n - s h o o t i n g h a n d p o c k e t w h e n y o u ' r e i n
p l a i n c l o t h e s . T h e n y o u c a n r e a c h for i d e n t i f i c a t i o n
w i t h o u t m o v i n g y o u r s i d e a r m , if y o u r c h a l l e n g e r
has allowed you to retain it. R e a c h in and w i t h d r a w
your hand slowly...in a controlled m a n n e r . . . a n d
without unnecessary m o v e m e n t . Another possibil-
i t y is t o h o l d y o u r badge or c r e d e n t i a l s i n y o u r w e a k
hand w i t h your arm raised w h e n m a k i n g a plain-
c l o t h e s p o l i c e i n t e r v e n t i o n . T h e n if y o u a r e c h a l -
l e n g e d , t h e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n c a n r e a d i l y be s h o w n
t o t h e c h a l l e n g e r . A v a r i a t i o n is t o h o l d y o u r b a d g e
and f i r e a r m t o g e t h e r i n a t w o - h a n d e d grip, s o a n y o n e
s e e i n g y o u r g u n w o u l d have to see your badge,
too. R e m e m b e r that in any sustained police action,
your shield should be fastened to your o u t e r m o s t
garment.
As w i t h other survival t a c t i c s , there are few
absolutes. Y o u will need to m a i n t a i n flexibility.
H o w e v e r , t h e r e are c e r t a i n g u i d e l i n e s t h a t a r e
always i m p o r t a n t to keep in m i n d .

No matter what the circumstances:


DO NOT S i m u l t a n e o u s l y r e a c h for your
identification and tell the chal-
l e n g i n g o f f i c e r w h o y o u a r e . If
y o u d o n ' t h a v e y o u r g u n in h a n d ,
r e a c h i n g for y o u r I D m a y r e v e a l
it a n d c a u s e t h e o f f i c e r t o t h i n k
y o u are t r y i n g t o d r a w .
DO NOT T u r n and face your challenger un-
t i l h e t e l l s y o u t o do s o , e s p e c i a l l y
if y o u h a v e a f i r e a r m i n h a n d . T h e
s i g h t of a f i r e a r m is m o s t l i k e l y
to m a k e h i m react in a m a n n e r
dangerous to you.

DO NOT Move your hands in any m a n n e r


that could be interpreted under
the stress of t h e m o m e n t as a
h o s t i l e or menacing movement.

S o m e d e p a r t m e n t s try to r e d u c e t h e l i k e l i h o o d
of u n w i t t i n g e n c o u n t e r s b e t w e e n o f f i c e r s b y i s s u i n g
color-coded identification i t e m s to plainclothes
a n d u n d e r c o v e r u n i t s . T h e y a r e d i s t r i b u t e d o n l y at
roll call and are c h a n g e d daily.
If s u c h i t e m s are n o t a v a i l a b l e t o y o u a n d y o u
are i n p l a i n c l o t h e s , y o u m a y b e a b l e t o u s e y o u r
radio to gain s o m e protection. W h e n responding
to a c r i m e s c e n e w h e r e u n i f o r m e d officers are likely
to be present, notify c o m m u n i c a t i o n s that you
are g o i n g i n a n d g i v e a d e s c r i p t i o n of y o u r v e h i c l e
and c l o t h i n g . T h i s i n f o r m a t i o n c a n t h e n be broad-
cast to alert u n i f o r m e d officers approaching the
s c e n e . If y o u a r e n o t o r d e r e d t o t h e s c e n e , y o u ' r e
s a f e s t t o s t a y a w a y u n t i l t h i n g s c o o l off, if p o s s i b l e .
N o t e : E v e n if y o u are i n u n i f o r m y o u m a y b e
m i s t a k e n as a s u s p e c t b y a n o t h e r o f f i c e r . T h i s is
m o s t likely to happen in d i m light w h e n the chal-
l e n g e r is b e h i n d y o u a n d y o u are w e a r i n g a b l a c k
l e a t h e r j a c k e t . . . a r e i n n e e d of a h a i r c u t . . . a r e n o t
wearing your uniform hat. O n e way to lessen this
r i s k is t o w e a r y o u r h a t w h e n e v e r y o u l e a v e y o u r
v e h i c l e for a n y r e a s o n , if y o u r d e p a r t m e n t i s s u e s
hats.

Apologies

Occasionally, you will issue a verbal challenge


to a person w h o turns out to be n e i t h e r a c r i m i n a l
nor a fellow officer, but an i n n o c e n t civilian who
j u s t h a p p e n e d t o b e i n t h e w r o n g p l a c e at t h e w r o n g
t i m e or w h o s e a c t i o n s y o u r e a s o n a b l y i n t e r p r e t e d as
s u s p i c i o u s . H e m a y , for e x a m p l e , b e t h e v i c t i m of
a c r i m e w h o has armed h i m s e l f to pursue his
a s s a i l a n t , or h e m a y b e c a r r y i n g a g u n f o r s o m e o t h e r
good reason. B y the t i m e you get t h e facts straight-
ened out, this person m a y be confused and resentful
a b o u t y o u r " u n n e c e s s a r y " d i s p l a y of f o r c e .
W h e n y o u r e a l i z e f u r t h e r a c t i o n is u n w a r r a n t e d ,
apologize and give t h e civilian an explanation.

122
S o m e t i m e s , h e m a y v e r b a l l y a b u s e y o u or e v e n
file a f o r m a l c o m p l a i n t . B u t in n o case should
worry about the c o n s e q u e n c e s cause you to be
ridiculously cautious w h e n you feel a verbal chal-
l e n g e a n d q u i c k f o l l o w - u p a c t i o n are n e e d e d .

123
Two officers, surprised by a shotgun
USE OF SURPRISE
O n e night in California, t w o officers on stake-
o u t w e r e s i t t i n g i n t h e i r p a t r o l car, c h a t t i n g q u i e t l y
t o w h i l e a w a y t h e dragging h o u r s . In t h e d a r k n e s s ,
a m a n s i l e n t l y c r e p t up f r o m b e h i n d , l e v e l e d a
. 3 0 c a l . c a r b i n e at t h e i r b a c k w i n d o w a n d c a r e f u l l y
drew a bead on one officer's head. W i t h o u t a word,
he racked a round into the c h a m b e r and pulled the
trigger. B u l l e t s s h a t t e r e d t h r o u g h t h e b a c k g l a s s .
T o the offender's a s t o n i s h m e n t , neither officer
was hitbecause neither was any longer there
w h e n the bullets whizzed over the front seat and
smashed into the dashboard and windshield.
At t h e s p l i t - s e c o n d s o u n d of t h e r i f l e b e i n g
r a c k e d , w i t h o u t e x c h a n g i n g a w o r d or a g l a n c e ,
e a c h h a d i n s t a n t l y dived b e l o w t h e l i n e of f i r e ,
f l u n g o p e n h i s d o o r a n d r o l l e d o u t of t h e p a t r o l c a r
t o a p o s i t i o n of c o v e r a l l i n o n e f l u i d m o t i o n . B y
the t i m e their would-be killer absorbed what had
h a p p e n e d , he w a s o n t h e r e c e i v i n g e n d of then
fire.
S o m e c o n f r o n t a t i o n s are s o h e a v i l y w e i g h t e d
i n t h e s u s p e c t ' s favor t h e y s e e m i m p o s s i b l e t o
s u r v i v e . A n y a t t e m p t t o s h o o t y o u r w a y o u t as a
first r e a c t i o n m a y b e u n r e a l i s t i c or o u t of t h e
q u e s t i o n . Y o u r o f f e n d e r m a y h a v e t h e drop o n y o u
c o l d . . . o r , as i n t h e c a s e of t h e C a l i f o r n i a o f f i c e r s ,
h e ' s i n t h e p r o c e s s of s h o o t i n g b e f o r e y o u are e v e n
a w a r e of h i s p r e s e n c e . . . o r , o n e of t h e w o r s t p r e d i c a -
m e n t s , he has snatched away your gun to use against
you.
Whether you emerge alive from such a " n o
w i n " s i t u a t i o n w i l l p r o b a b l y h i n g e , as it did w i t h

125
t h e s e o f f i c e r s , o n y o u r a b i l i t y t o c o n t r o l lag t i m e
and c o n f o u n d a s u s p e c t ' s assault through the use
of p l a n n i n g a n d s u r p r i s e .
Lag t i m e r e l a t e s t o h e s i t a n t r e a c t i o n . S p e c i f i -
cally, i t ' s t h e delay t h a t ' s involved w h i l e : your
senses perceive danger...transmit the alarm to your
brain...your brain decides w h a t you should do...
r e l a y s t h e m e s s a g e t o t h e p a r t of y o u r b o d y it w a n t s
to react.. .and you t h e n actually respond.
T h i s t a k e s longest w h e n you are distracted,
u n p r e p a r e d or i n a t t e n t i v e at t h e m o m e n t of t h r e a t
and your brain m u s t first b e called b a c k f r o m
w h e r e v e r it h a s w a n d e r e d a n d c h a n g e g e a r s b e f o r e
it c a n e v a l u a t e t h e a l a r m a n d d i s p a t c h a r e a c t i v e
m e s s a g e . Lag t i m e i s s h o r t e s t a n d c a n a l m o s t b e
e l i m i n a t e d , w i t h p r a c t i c e w h e n y o u r b r a i n is
primed to send a " g o " signal b e c a u s e you have
anticipated possible danger and have potential
r e a c t i o n s i n m i n d . It d o e s n ' t h a v e t o t h i n k w h a t
it w i l l h a v e y o u d o it a l r e a d y knows
; a n d is j u s t
w a i t i n g for y o u r s e n s e s t o p e r c e i v e t h e n e e d .
W h e n you are able to s h o r t - c i r c u i t your o w n
lag t i m e , y o u o f t e n c a n t u r n t h e t a b l e s b y i n d u c i n g
it i n y o u r a d v e r s a r y . B y u s i n g s u d d e n , d e c i s i v e
action that h e ' s not expectingin other words,
s u r p r i s e y o u m a y t h r o w h i m off b a l a n c e s o h e ' s
f o r c e d t o s h i f t g e a r s m e n t a l l y i n o r d e r t o grasp a n d
react to what has happened. While h e ' s hesitating,
you gain precious seconds in w h i c h to re-establish
c o n t r o l of t h e s i t u a t i o n .
In s o m e c i r c u m s t a n c e s , y o u m a y b e a b l e t o
use noise to create surprise. S o m e t i m e s blinding
l i g h t w i l l w o r k . S o m e s u s p e c t s m a y f a l l for a r e a l i s -
t i c b l u f f . In T u l s a , a n i n t e n d e d s h o o t i n g v i c t i m
s t a r e d w i d e - e y e d at h i s a s s a i l a n t ' s g u n , g a s p e d for
b r e a t h , g r a b b e d h i s c h e s t , w e n t rigid a n d c r u m p l e d
o v e r i n a fake heart a t t a c k . T h e suspect w a s so
d i s c o n c e r t e d h e fled w i t h o u t s h o o t i n g .
But m o r e times than notand especially when
y o u a r e i n d e s p e r a t e s t r a i t s a l l y o u ' l l h a v e t o sur-
prise an offender w i t h will be your ability to m o v e .
E x e c u t e d p r o p e r l y , t h a t m a y b e e n o u g h . If y o u ' r e a
hunter, you k n o w that any m o t i o n by the a n i m a l
y o u h o p e t o bag m a k e s it h a r d e r t o h i t . If t h e m o t i o n
is u n e x p e c t e d a n d t h e n e r r a t i c , it c o m p o u n d s t h e
d i f f i c u l t y of g e t t i n g o n t a r g e t . T h e s a m e p r i n c i p l e s
apply w h e n you axe t h e p r e y .
T h e b e s t m o v e m e n t s are t h o s e t h a t :
1. b e f u d d l e or i m m o b i l i z e t h e s u s p e c t ;
2. g e t y o u o u t of t h e l i n e of f i r e q u i c k l y , a n d
3. c a r r y y o u t o a l o c a t i o n or i n t o a p o s t u r e
f r o m w h i c h y o u c a n s h o o t or o t h e r w i s e
incapacitate your assailant.

126
T h o s e d i s c u s s e d h e r e are t h e l i k e l i e s t t o w o r k
in c o m m o n c o n f r o n t a t i o n s i t u a t i o n s . B u t k e e p i n
m i n d t h a t t h e r i g h t m o v e at t h e r i g h t t i m e is h a r d
t o p u l l off. C e r t a i n of t h e s e t e c h n i q u e s r e q u i r e
a c t i o n o n y o u r part t h a t is o p p o s i t e o n e ' s n o r m a l
impulse. T h a t m a k e s t h e m tough to m a s t e r b u t
adds i m m e a s u r a b l y t o t h e i r e l e m e n t of s u r p r i s e .

Exiting the Kill Zone

An important truth to r e m e m b e r w h e r e a r m e d
c o n f r o n t a t i o n s are c o n c e r n e d is t h a t d e s p i t e c e r t a i n
superficial resemblances, a law enforcement agency
is not a n a r m y . C o n s e q u e n t l y , p o l i c e a c t i o n at a
s h o o t i n g s c e n e s h o u l d n o t b e regarded t h e s a m e as a
m i l i t a r y m a n e u v e r . It i s n ' t P o r k C h o p H i l l , w h e r e
y o u h a v e t o h o l d t h e g r o u n d at all c o s t s . I n f a c t ,
your b e s t a n d m o s t surprisingresponse in s o m e
s h o o t i n g s i t u a t i o n s is t o pull back a n d t e m p o r a r i l y
y i e l d t e r r i t o r y t o t h e s u s p e c t . In o t h e r w o r d s , get
o u t of t h e k i l l z o n e , t h a t area t h e s u s p e c t c a n e f f e c -
tively control w i t h hostile weapons fire. T h i s can
w o r k b o t h w h e n y o u first s p o t a n a r m e d s u s p e c t
w h o has not yet started to shoot...and w h e n you
are a l r e a d y u n d e r f i r e .
E x i t i n g t h e k i l l z o n e is m o s t p r a c t i c a l w h e n
there's s o m e distance b e t w e e n y o u and your
a s s a i l a n t a n d w h e n y o u are s t i l l i n y o u r p a t r o l c a r .
It's especially advisable w h e n :
your adversary has hostages...
fires o n y o u f r o m a s n i p e r p o s i t i o n y o u can't
see...
h a s s u p e r i o r fire p o w e r , s u c h as a r i f l e or s h o t -
gun...
is p o s i t i o n e d at a h i g h e r l e v e l , s o y o u ' d have
t o s h o o t u p t o r e a c h h i m , or
w h e n h i s s h o t s or y o u r r e t u r n f i r e w o u l d en-
danger i n n o c e n t bystanders.
M o s t officers in these c i r c u m s t a n c e s stop
their patrol cars and try to figure out w h a t ' s hap-
p e n i n g . O r t h e y e x i t w i t h t h e i n t e n t i o n of s t a n d i n g
t h e i r g r o u n d . O n a n I n d i a n r e s e r v a t i o n in A r i z o n a ,
for e x a m p l e , t w o t r i b a l p o l i c e m e n r e s p o n d i n g t o a
c a l l a b o u t an i n d i v i d u a l s h o o t i n g o u t s t r e e t l i g h t s
w e r e fired u p o n as t h e y p u l l e d u p . T h e s u s p e c t h a d
a . 3 0 - . 3 0 cal. rifle. H i s first shot shattered the
w i n d s h i e l d a n d sprayed f r a g m e n t s of g l a s s i n t o o n e
officer's face. He ducked to the floorbut his
partner exited the vehicle in t h e open and started
firing h i s h a n d g u n at t h e s u s p e c t , w h o w a s w e l l
protected b e h i n d a parked car. W i t h understandable
ease, the assailant killed this patrolman with
w o u n d s to the head and c h e s t .

Under circumstances like these, where the


odds of h i t t i n g y o u r a s s a i l a n t a r e so h e a v i l y a g a i n s t
y o u , q u i c k l y l e a v i n g t h e k i l l z o n e as y o u r f i r s t
r e a c t i o n is n o t c o w a r d i c e , b u t g o o d s e n s e . B y a v o i d -
ing a s h o o t - o u t , y o u m a y s a v e n o t o n l y y o u r o w n
l i f e b u t o t h e r s i n t h e k i l l z o n e , as w e l l . B e c a u s e
o n c e you r e m o v e yourself, you probably r e m o v e the
a s s a i l a n t ' s m o t i v a t i o n for firing.
T h e direction you exit will depend on the
e n v i r o n m e n t a r o u n d y o u a n d t h e l o c a t i o n of t h e
s u s p e c t , as n e a r as y o u c a n f i g u r e i t . Y o u r o p t i o n s
may include:

1. making a fast tight-angle turn into an


alley, driveway or street. If, b y u s i n g t h i s m o v e -
m e n t , y o u c a n p u t b u i l d i n g s or o t h e r b a r r i e r s b e -
t w e e n yourself and the assailant, y o u effectively
r e m o v e yourself from the kill zone and gain excel-
l e n t c o v e r t o m a n e u v e r b e h i n d . In r e s i d e n t i a l a r e a s ,
y o u m a y be able to drive i n t o a garage, w h i c h will
afford o t h e r c o v e r p o s s i b i l i t i e s .

2. slamming your car into reverse and peeling


backward or doing a "f-turn" or a "U-turn" (pro-
vided t h e r e ' s a c l e a r f i e l d b e h i n d ) . P e r h a p s y o u ' v e
j u s t e n t e r e d a k i l l z o n e (say y o u ' v e r o u n d e d a c o r n e r
and spotted a suspect w i t h a long-gun ahead) but
t h e suspect h a s n o t yet fired. O r y o u ' r e already
t a k i n g r o u n d s f r o m t h e f r o n t or s i d e . T h i s m a n e u v e r
is l i k e l y t o b e y o u r l e a s t e x p e c t e d r e s p o n s e . E s -
p e c i a l l y if a s u s p e c t is " t r a c k i n g " y o u w i t h h i s
g u n , i t ' l l t h r o w h i m off.

3. floorboarding the accelerator and speeding


forward. T h i s r e s p o n s e is r a r e l y t h e m o s t d e s i r a b l e ,
b e c a u s e it is t h e o n e a s u s p e c t is m o s t l i k e l y t o
a n t i c i p a t e . Indeed, you m a y b e driving ahead toward
a secondary a m b u s h prepared by lay-off m e n . B u t
if y o u must d r i v e a c r o s s t h e k i l l z o n e t o s a f e t y , y o u
w a n t as m u c h p r o t e c t i o n a n d s p e e d as p o s s i b l e o u t
of y o u r p a t r o l c a r . Get down low, fast. Y o u r drop-
ping d o w n at t h e first h i n t of d a n g e r c a n f o i l a s u s -
pect w h o ' s expecting your head and chest level to
r e m a i n c o n s t a n t . E i t h e r s c o o t far d o w n i n y o u r
s e a t t o s h i e l d as m u c h of y o u r u p p e r b o d y as y o u
can and look ahead through the steering wheel...or
lean over o n t o the seat, steering w i t h your left hand
and b o b b i n g u p a n d d o w n e r r a t i c a l l y t o c h e c k a h e a d .
W h a t e v e r y o u r e x i t , r a d i o f o r h e l p as y o u m o v e .
Do not stop or c o n s i d e r g e t t i n g o u t of y o u r c a r w h i l e
u n d e r f i r e , u n l e s s it is d i s a b l e d or b e t t e r c o v e r is
i m m e d i a t e l y a c c e s s i b l e . O n c e y o u are o u t of t h e
k i l l z o n e , t u r n at t h e f i r s t r i g h t a n g l e t h a t w i l l p u t
a barrier b e t w e e n you and the assailant.
Hostile weapons fire against officers
on patrol can involve a primary ambush
whose arc is indicated by the solid
line. One surprise response for Car 9
is to make a fast right-angle turn.

130
The right-angle turn tactic is also ef-
fective if a secondary ambush [indicated
by dotted lines] is part of the offenders'
assault plan.

131
A serpentine movement forward can
be effective if you 're being fired upon
from the rear or side.

132
In y o u r r a d i o c o m m u n i c a t i o n s , g i v e as m u c h
i n f o r m a t i o n as p o s s i b l e a b o u t t h e n u m b e r of a s s a i l -
ants, their weapons and positions. Advise respond-
ing u n i t s a b o u t h o w t o a p p r o a c h t h e a r e a for m a x -
i m u m safety. Y o u have a responsibility to other
o f f i c e r s n o t to d r a w t h e m i n t o t h e k i l l z o n e .
Because you leave a scene does not mean you
abandon it. F r o m y o u r n e w p r o t e c t e d p o s i t i o n , y o u
w a n t t o lay t h e g r o u n d w o r k for p r o c e d u r e s t o t a k e
c o n t r o l of t h e s u s p e c t . S p e c i a l i z e d , t a c t i c a l t e a m s
and h o s t a g e n e g o t i a t o r s m a y n e e d t o b e b r o u g h t i n .
But until help arrives, you try to position yourself
where you can: observe the suspect's location...
k e e p h i m c o n t a i n e d w i t h i n i t . . . a n d w o r k t o s e a l off
t h e area f r o m c i v i l i a n i n v o l v e m e n t .
T h e way t w o officers handled a shooting episode
o n a r e s i d e n t i a l s t r e e t i n a s u b u r b of C h i c a g o i l l u s -
trates good survival procedures. Fired on in their
patrol car f r o m an a p a r t m e n t h o u s e by a sniper
armed w i t h a pistol and rifle, they i m m e d i a t e l y
m o v e d g u n n e d t h e i r p a t r o l c a r t o a p o s i t i o n of
safety where they could w a t c h the buildingrather
than stopping abruptly and trying to shoot b a c k .
W h e n r e i n f o r c e m e n t s arrived, t h e assailant w a s
t r e a t e d as a b a r r i c a d e d s u s p e c t . H i s n e i g h b o r s w e r e
e v a c u a t e d . . . t e a r gas c a n n i s t e r s w e r e l o b b e d i n t o
his r o o m s . . . a n d , eventually, h e was shot in t h e
s t o m a c h and a r m w h e n he emerged and tried to
fire at an o f f i c e r .
In C l e v e l a n d , a s u c c e s s f u l r e t r e a t w a s m a d e at
closer range w h e n a beat patrolman unexpectedly
interrupted a drugstore robbery. T h e robber grabbed
t h e druggist as a s h i e l d and fired at t h e o f f i c e r , w h o ,
r a t h e r t h a n s h o o t i n g b a c k , d u c k e d o u t of t h e s t o r e
t o a p o s i t i o n of s a f e t y o u t s i d e . T h e r e h e t r a i n e d h i s
revolver on the doorway. T h e robber c a m e out w i t h
t h e druggist as a h o s t a g e , b u t i n m a n e u v e r i n g
through the exit, he turned in such a w a y that t h e
o f f i c e r w a s a b l e t o fire t h r e e s h o t s i n t o h i s c h e s t .
B o t h the officer and the hostage escaped the incident
u n i n j u r e d . ( S h o o t i n g u n d e r s u c h c i r c u m s t a n c e s is
e x t r e m e l y risky, however, and should n o t b e
a t t e m p t e d u n l e s s y o u are certain the i n n o c e n t party
w i l l n o t be h a r m e d . )

Movement Inside the Kill Zone

S o m e t i m e s , t r a f f i c or o t h e r f a c t o r s m a y p r e v e n t
a prompt exit from the scene, and you will be
r e s t r i c t e d t o m o v i n g within the kill zone. Again,
depending on your surroundings and location rela-
tive to your assailant, you m a y have several possi-
bilities for surprising m o v e m e n t .
F o r p u r p o s e s of i l l u s t r a t i o n , a s s u m e y o u ' r e
cruising a residential street w h e n s o m e o n e with a
r i f l e s u d d e n l y s h o o t s at y o u f r o m a g r o u n d - l e v e l
p o s i t i o n . If y o u are a l o n e , o n e o p t i o n is t o t u r n at
a right angle and head toward t h e s u s p e c t ' s location,
u s i n g a d r i v e w a y or b o u n c i n g o v e r t h e c u r b . T h i s is a
basic military tacticto storm the sniper's nest.
Right away you surprise h i m . B y staying low in the
s e a t a n d d r i v i n g s o y o u r side of t h e c a r is a w a y f r o m
h i s h o s t i l e f i r e , y o u m a i n t a i n t h e p r o t e c t i o n afforded
by your v e h i c l e . . . a n d quite l i k e l y y o u can drive
d i r e c t l y t o a t r e e or b a r r i c a d e i n t h e yard t h a t w i l l
p r o v i d e g o o d c o v e r . If t h a t is n o t p o s s i b l e , d r i v e
straight toward h i m . Assault his position w i t h your
vehicle. D o n ' t touch the brake, don't stop, but
try to run right over h i m .
A n o t h e r p o s s i b i l i t y w h e n y o u a r e a l o n e is t o
m a k e a f a s t U - t u r n , a s s u m i n g , of c o u r s e , t h a t t h e
h o s t i l e w e a p o n s fire is c o m i n g f r o m y o u r side of
the vehicle. Depending on the suspect's angle to
you, y o u c a n w h i p the turn to the right, to the
left, b y b a c k i n g w h a t e v e r m o v e g e t s y o u r s i d e of
t h e car away from h i m fastest. N o w you have the
width of the car to shield you while you bail out,
s t a y l o w , a n d m o v e t o a p o s i t i o n of c o v e r b e h i n d
o n e of t h e w h e e l s .
If y o u h a v e a p a r t n e r i n t h i s i l l u s t r a t i o n , y o u ' d
h a v e t o m o v e t o get a n d / o r k e e p h i s side of t h e
patrol car away from t h e s u s p e c t ' s fire w i t h o u t
e x p o s i n g y o u r o w n . H e r e , a p o s s i b i l i t y is t o t u r n
sharply in a direction opposite t h e s u s p e c t ' s loca-
tion. T h e n drive away along a line perpendicular to
h i s p o s i t i o n . T h i s p u t s at l e a s t h a l f y o u r p a t r o l c a r
b e t w e e n you and the suspect and prevents h i m from
g e t t i n g a b r o a d s i d e s h o t at e i t h e r of y o u . T h i s t a c t i c
m a y a l s o w o r k , of c o u r s e , w h e n y o u ' r e a l o n e .

W h a t e v e r t a c t i c y o u u s e -with y o u r p a t r o l c a r ,
y o u n e e d t o m o v e i m m e d i a t e l y . If y o u g e t p i n n e d
down, especially in a well-planned a m b u s h situa-
tion, y o u can be in e x t r e m e l y serious trouble.
In s o m e c a s e s , y o u m a y n e e d t o m o v e f r o m
place to place w i t h i n the kill zone on foot, to reach
b e t t e r c o v e r . I n d e e d , t h a t ' s l i k e l y t o b e t h e only
reason you'll m o v e w h e n under fire; you d o n ' t want
to c h a n g e from one protected position to another
j u s t for t h e s a k e of m o v e m e n t . W h e n i t ' s d e s i r a b l e
t o c h a n g e l o c a t i o n , y o u ' r e s a f e s t if y o u c a n s t a y
l o w and run in short sprints f r o m cover to cover
u n t i l y o u r e a c h y o u r u l t i m a t e g o a l . If i t ' s n e c e s s a r y
t o t r a v e l a c r o s s o p e n s p a c e d i r e c t l y t o w a r d or di-
r e c t l y a w a y f r o m t h e s u s p e c t , r u n in a zigzag
pattern to m a k e yourself a harder target.

134
In reaching cover, on foot, try to keep
your movement low and erratic.

U n d e r certain c i r c u m s t a n c e s , you m a y w a n t to
roll f r o m p l a c e t o p l a c e , r a t h e r t h a n r u n . T h i s m i g h t
b e t r u e w h e n y o u are u n d e r i m m e d i a t e a s s a u l t b y
a s u s p e c t i n a f o r t i f i e d p o s i t i o n , w h e r e c o v e r is
r e l a t i v e l y c l o s e y e t far e n o u g h a w a y t h a t r u n n i n g
d i r e c t l y t o it s e e m s e x t r e m e l y d a n g e r o u s , or w h e r e
y o u c a n r e a d i l y r e a c h t h e p r o t e c t i o n of a g u t t e r b y
rolling. Rolling has its disadvantages; it's slower
than running, you lose your ability to change direc-
t i o n rapidly, y o u r v i e w is d i s t o r t e d a n d y o u m a y l o s e
visual c o n t a c t with the suspect or be u n a b l e to
w a t c h for a d d i t i o n a l a s s a i l a n t s ; if y o u ' r e o n c o n c r e t e
or o t h e r hard s u r f a c e , l o w r o u n d s m a y r i c o c h e t
into your face w h e n y o u ' r e so close to the ground.
O n the other hand, being close to the ground, y o u
are l i k e l y t o appear a s m a l l e r target f r o m t h e s u s -
p e c t ' s p e r s p e c t i v e . If h e is c o n s i d e r a b l y h i g h e r t h a n
y o u , in an u p p e r w i n d o w or o n a r o o f t o p , t h e e f f e c t
is e v e n b e t t e r . M a n y p e o p l e , w h e n s h o o t i n g d o w n ,
t e n d t o over-shoot w h a t t h e y ' r e a i m i n g for. B y
rolling, you m a y exaggerate this t e n d e n c y b e c a u s e
y o u are so m u c h l o w e r t h a n a n y h e i g h t a n a s s a i l a n t
is n o r m a l l y c o n d i t i o n e d t o e x p e c t .
W i t h one tactic, rolling allows you to lay down

135
fire c o v e r as y o u m o v e . T h i s is m o s t e f f e c t i v e w i t h
a shotgun. As y o u begin your roll, y o u hold the
s h o t g u n i n a s h o o t i n g grip, l e n g t h w i s e a g a i n s t y o u r
body, w i t h the barrel extending over the shoulder
of y o u r s h o o t i n g s i d e . Y o u r a c k t h e g u n (or r e l o a d
it) w h i l e y o u a r e o n y o u r b a c k . W h e n y o u r o l l a r o u n d
on your chest, you're ready to shoot w i t h a slight
b r a c i n g of y o u r e l b o w s . B y r e p e a t i n g t h i s p a t t e r n ,
y o u c a n c o n t i n u e s h o o t i n g as y o u m o v e , w i t h o u t
losing m o m e n t u m . Y o u r shots c o m i n g in fast f r o m
a low position will probably be s o m e t h i n g your
a s s a i l a n t is n o t e x p e c t i n g a n d w i l l l i k e l y t h r o w h i m
off g u a r d and d e l a y h i s r e a c t i o n t i m e . T h i s t a c t i c
c a n b e o n e of y o u r b e s t u s e s of s u r p r i s e , b u t t h e r e ' s
n o d o u b t t h a t it r e q u i r e s extensive practice to
master.
Of course, you should also use a rolling m o v e -
m e n t t o get o v e r w a l l s a n d o t h e r o b s t a c l e s . T h a t
is, y o u h u g t h e t o p of t h e b a r r i c a d e a n d " w r a p "
y o u r s e l f o v e r t o t h e o t h e r s i d e , p r e s e n t i n g as s m a l l
a target as p o s s i b l e , if y o u j u m p or go o v e r u p r i g h t ,
As you move over a wall, you want to
you attract m o r e attention and m a k e yourself a
create the smallest possible target. As-
larger t a r g e t , b y s i l h o u e t t i n g y o u r s e l f a g a i n s t t h e
sume the low crawl position, rolling
over, rather than standing up or jumping background.
over.

Close-Up Surprise
From the statistics about officer killings, you
k n o w that your danger increases m a r k e d l y w h e n an
armed confrontation erupts suddenly and the sus-
p e c t is c l o s e t o y o u . If a n y t h i n g , t h e t i m e y o u h a v e

136
t o r e a c t w i l l be e v e n s h o r t e r ( t h e e n c o u n t e r is l i k e l y
to be over, start to finish, in less t h a n three seconds)
and the space in w h i c h y o u can m a n e u v e r will
p r o b a b l y be r e s t r i c t e d . Y o u r m o v e s m u s t b e s c a l e d
down to reflect the armed s u s p e c t ' s p r o x i m i t y . And
w i t h t h e u s e of s u r p r i s e , y o u c a n r e a l i s t i c a l l y e x p e c t
to buy only m i l l i s e c o n d s .
Y o u ' r e l i k e l y t o b e b e s t off, of c o u r s e , if y o u
have your sidearm out and ready w h e n a suspect
s u d d e n l y t r i e s t o d r a w h i s g u n or y o u s u d d e n l y
confront a suspect with a gun already drawn. W h e n
a n o f f e n d e r is as s u r p r i s e d b y y o u r a r m e d p r e s e n c e
as y o u are b y h i s , y o u r ready f i r e - p o w e r m a y p e r m i t
a standoff where you can negotiate a resolution,
if for s o m e r e a s o n y o u f e e l i m m e d i a t e s h o o t i n g o n
y o u r part is u n d e s i r a b l e . A N e w Y o r k C i t y p o l i c e
sergeant chasing an armed robber through a tene-
m e n t , for i n s t a n c e , rounded a c o r n e r to find the
robber waiting, gun in hand, five feet a w a y . B e c a u s e
the sergeant had his revolver ready to shoot, too,
the suspect hesitatedand the sergeant managed
to persuade h i m he was wiser to surrender and take
a fall for r o b b e r y t h a n t o r i s k a f i r s t - d e g r e e m u r d e r
c h a r g e or b e i n g k i l l e d h i m s e l f , b y firing.
W h e r e t h e s u s p e c t is c o m m i t t e d t o s h o o t i n g ,
you m a y , w i t h your sidearm ready, be able to m o v e
swiftly into an " i n s t i n c t s h o o t i n g " position and
fire o n h i m b e f o r e h e c a n s h o o t y o u . I n s t i n c t
s h o o t i n g , w h i c h w e ' l l d i s c u s s in d e t a i l l a t e r , b a s i -
cally involves point-and-shoot maneuvering. Y o u
c a n adapt it t o m a x i m i z e s u r p r i s e . H a d t h e N e w
Y o r k sergeant encountered a determined suspect
when he rounded the t e n e m e n t corner, his least
e x p e c t e d a c t i o n p r o b a b l y w o u l d h a v e b e e n t o drop
backwards to the floor and shoot f r o m a sitting
p o s i t i o n . For t h i s t a c t i c , y o u c r o s s y o u r a n k l e s ,
f l e x y o u r k n e e s a n d b r i n g y o u r h a n d s t o g e t h e r as
y o u are f a l l i n g . T h e f o r c e of t h e l a n d i n g w i l l r o c k
y o u b a c k , a n d as y o u r c r o s s e d a n k l e s c o m e u p , y o u
q u i c k l y lay t h e b a r r e l of y o u r g u n b e t w e e n t h e m
and fire w i t h a t w o - h a n d e d grip. T h e s u s p e c t u n -
d o u b t e d l y is a n t i c i p a t i n g a t a r g e t at n o r m a l h e a d
or c h e s t l e v e l ; if h e f i r e s r e f l e x i v e l y , t h e b u l l e t w i l l
go t h r o u g h t h i n air. B y t h e t i m e h e r e g i s t e r s w h e r e
y o u a c t u a l l y a r e , y o u s h o u l d b e a b l e t o r e t u r n fire
e f f e c t i v e l y . (As w i t h o t h e r u n u s u a l t a c t i c s , t h i s
r e q u i r e s e x t e n s i v e p r a c t i c e s o t h a t it is e x e c u t e d
as a r e f l e x i v e r e a c t i o n w h e n c i r c u m s t a n c e s are
a p p r o p r i a t e . If y o u t a k e t w o s e c o n d s t o t h i n k a b o u t
doing it, t h e a d v a n t a g e is l o s t . )

If y o u don't h a v e y o u r s i d e a r m u n h o l s t e r e d for
a c o n f r o n t a t i o n , your c h a n c e s for survival d i m i n i s h .
A fast d r a w may w o r k . In C i n c i n n a t i , a n o f f i c e r
c h e c k i n g a bar i n s e a r c h of a r o b b e r y s u s p e c t a s k e d
o n e p a t r o n t o get up o u t of a b o o t h f o r q u e s t i o n i n g .
138
T h e m a n c a m e out w i t h a .25 cal. s e m i - a u t o m a t i c ,
which he j a m m e d into the officer's stomach. As
fast as h e c o u l d , t h e o f f i c e r d r e w h i s r e v o l v e r a n d
p u m p e d five s h o t s i n t o t h e s u s p e c t ' s s t o m a c h . T h e
s u s p e c t did n o t fire o n c e . H e e v i d e n t l y w a s so
startled that the officer would draw against h i m
under the c i r c u m s t a n c e s that he developed m o n u -
m e n t a l lag t i m e .
F a s t - d r a w s u c c e s s e s , h o w e v e r , are extremely
r a r e . M o r e o f t e n t h a n w i n t h e c o n f r o n t a t i o n for y o u ,
t h e y ' l l p r o v e s u i c i d a l if y o u r a d v e r s a r y is c l o s e t o or
a l r e a d y o n t a r g e t . A f t e r all, y o u ' r e n o t f a s t - d r a w i n g
against his fast d r a w h e ' s got a head start and can,
if h e ' s p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y p r e p a r e d t o k i l l , s h o o t
in a b o u t o n e - t h i r d t h e t i m e it t a k e s y o u t o get o n
t a r g e t . M o r e o v e r , t h e t y p e of h o l s t e r t h a t m o s t
r e a d i l y f a c i l i t a t e s f a s t d r a w i n g is p o o r l y d e s i g n e d
for s t r e e t u s e . In order t o a c c o m m o d a t e s p e e d , t h i s
s t y l e h o l s t e r s a c r i f i c e s s e c u r i t y . Its d e s i g n i n c r e a s e s
t h e r i s k of y o u r s i d e a r m f a l l i n g o u t d u r i n g a f i g h t
or o t h e r e x e r t i o n a n d p e r m i t s d a n g e r o u s l y e a s y
a c c e s s t o a s u s p e c t g r a b b i n g for y o u r g u n . In a large
p r o p o r t i o n of c a s e s w h e r e o f f i c e r s a r e s h o t w i t h
t h e i r o w n f i r e a r m s , t h e i n i t i a l l o s s of t h e g u n c a n
be d i r e c t l y a t t r i b u t e d t o t h e h o l s t e r .
A s s u m i n g fast draws to be inappropriate, then,
in t h e o v e r w h e l m i n g p r e p o n d e r a n c e of s i t u a t i o n s ,
other, m o r e surprising m o v e m e n t m a y still be used
to derail a s u s p e c t ' s i n t e n t i o n and s t r e t c h out t h e
a c t i o n e n o u g h for y o u to bring your gun i n t o play.
D u r i n g y o u r q u e s t i o n i n g of a d r i v e r i n a t r a f f i c s t o p ,
for e x a m p l e , t h e c l i p b o a r d , c i t a t i o n b o o k or f l a s h -
l i g h t y o u ' v e c a r r i e d i n y o u r non-gun hand during
y o u r a p p r o a c h c a n m a k e a p o w e r f u l d i s t r a c t i o n if
h e s u d d e n l y r e a c h e s for or c o m e s o u t w i t h a g u n
at c l o s e r a n g e b e f o r e y o u h a v e a c h a n c e t o d r a w
y o u r s . A s s o o n as y o u p e r c e i v e t h e t h r e a t , h u r l t h e
object in his face w i t h your w e a k hand, while simul-
taneously drawing your gun w i t h your strong hand.
A s h i s e y e b a l l is t h r e a t e n e d , h i s b o d y a l a r m r e a c t i o n
w i l l f o r c e a n i n v o l u n t a r y r e s p o n s e o n h i s part t h a t
m a y d e l a y h i s s h o o t i n g o r at l e a s t t h r o w h i m off
t a r g e t . M e a n w h i l e , y o u c a n fire a n d / o r drop b e l o w
w i n d o w l e v e l and r o l l t o t h e r e a r of h i s v e h i c l e , o u t
of t h e k i l l z o n e , w h e r e y o u ' l l h a v e b e t t e r c o v e r . I n
Detroit, a narcotics addict w h o had just m a d e a buy
f r o m an u n d e r c o v e r d e t e c t i v e s i t t i n g i n a n u n m a r k e d
v e h i c l e s u d d e n l y d r e w a s e m i - a u t o m a t i c , s t u c k it
i n t h e w i n d o w at t h e o f f i c e r a n d c o c k e d t h e h a m -
m e r . Without hesitation, the detective swung the
door o p e n w i t h all h i s s t r e n g t h a n d k n o c k e d t h e
s u s p e c t b a c k w a r d s , as h e d r e w h i s o w n s e m i -
a u t o m a t i c a n d fired.

If y o u ' r e w o r k i n g w i t h a p a r t n e r , h e m a y b e
a b l e t o c a u s e d i s t r a c t i o n . A s h o u t or o t h e r l o u d
n o i s e to t h e side m a y cause t h e suspect to turn h i s
h e a d l o n g e n o u g h for y o u t o d r a w a n d s h o o t . N o i s e
f r o m b e h i n d a w i n d o w being s m a s h e d , for in-
stanceis especially effective. It's corny, but some-
t i m e s just shifting your glance to look behind a
s u s p e c t as if s o m e o n e e l s e is a p p r o a c h i n g w i l l b e
e n o u g h t o i n d u c e lag t i m e . R e m e m b e r , any u n -
e x p e c t e d m o v e m e n t , n o m a t t e r h o w m i n u t e , is
better than just standing there waiting to be shot.
S o m e t i m e s you can capitalize on distractions
t h a t are s u r p r i s i n g t o y o u , as w e l l as t o t h e s u s p e c t .
N o i s e s or m o v e m e n t m a y o c c u r a r o u n d y o u , i n d e -
p e n d e n t of a n y a c t i o n b y y o u or a p a r t n e r , a n d if y o u
are a l e r t y o u c a n i n s t a n t l y e x p l o i t t h e m . I n a
m i d w e s t e r n city, an off-duty officer was waiting
at a b u s s t o p w h e n a c a r p u l l e d u p a n d a m a n i n s i d e
asked directions. As the officer was responding, a
passenger in t h e b a c k seat suddenly pointed a revol-
v e r at h i m a n d s n a p p e d , " T h r o w a l l y o u r m o n e y
in t h e c a r ! " A t t h a t m o m e n t , a p a s s i n g c a r b a c k -
fired w i t h a l o u d b a n g , a n d t h e o f f e n d e r s d u c k e d .
T h e o f f i c e r i m m e d i a t e l y dropped d o w n a n d c i r c l e d
t h e r e a r of t h e i r v e h i c l e , c o m i n g u p t o t h e i r sur-
prise o n t h e o t h e r side, h i s revolver ready.
In a C h i c a g o case, an officer w a s c h a t t i n g w i t h
a n e m p l o y e e of a d r u g s t o r e w h e n a n a p p a r e n t c u s -
t o m e r approached and joined in t h e c o n v e r s a t i o n .
T h e s t r a n g e r said h e w a s a p o l i c e m a n , t o o , a n d
s h o w e d a star and identification f r o m a suburban
police department. T h e n , suddenly, he drew a .22
cal. revolver and announced a holdup. Understand-
a b l y , t h e o f f i c e r did n o t h a v e h i s r e v o l v e r i n h a n d .
B u t as t h e s t o r e ' s e m p l o y e e s f o l l o w e d t h e r o b b e r ' s
o r d e r s t o get m o n e y , get w a t c h e s , a n d get b a r b i t u -
r a t e s , o n e of t h e m m a d e s o m e m o v e m e n t t h a t
caused the offender m o m e n t a r i l y to look away. In
that split-second, the officer drew his revolver.

Being part of a hostage incident in-


volving a fellow officer required a plan
and firearm discipline. Would you try
to shoot this offender! Did you con-
sider the lives of civilians sitting in
the restaurant behind them!

140
W h e n t h e s u s p e c t s p u n b a c k , t h e odds w e r e s u d -
d e n l y c h a n g e d . T h e o f f i c e r fired o n e s h o t , a n d t h e
robber fell to t h e floor, hit by t h e officer's b u l l e t .
A special c i r c u m s t a n c e that m a y demand close-
u p u s e o f s u r p r i s e for s u r v i v a l is w h e n y o u , y o u r
p a r t n e r or a f e l l o w o f f i c e r a r e t a k e n h o s t a g e b y o n e
or m o r e s u s p e c t s . H e r e , as i n o t h e r d a n g e r s i t u a -
t i o n s , a pie-ananged p l a n a n d q u i c k a c t i o n w i l l aid
an effective response.
In C a l i f o r n i a , a b a c k - u p o f f i c e r r e s p o n d i n g t o a
r o b b e r y - i n - p r o g r e s s at a p a w n s h o p w a s g r e e t e d b y
t w o s u s p e c t s w a l k i n g o u t of t h e p l a c e w i t h t h e first
r e s p o n d i n g o f f i c e r at g u n p o i n t . T h e y h a d t a k e n h i s
gun, and they intended to escape in his car. T h e y
demanded the second officer's gun, too. Fortunately,
the back-up officer had positioned h i m s e l f behind
cover during his approach, w i t h his sidearm drawn.
H e fired o n e s h o t o v e r t h e s u s p e c t s ' h e a d s . A t t h a t
i n s t a n t , t h e h o s t a g e o f f i c e r dropped d o w n , l e a v i n g
the startled suspects m o m e n t a r i l y unshielded.
T h e back-up officer was able to kill t h e m b o t h .
In o t h e r i n s t a n c e s , h o s t a g e o f f i c e r s h a v e f a k e d
h e a r t a t t a c k s a n d g o n e l i m p as dead w e i g h t in t h e i r
c a p t o r ' s a r m s . In t h e s p l i t - s e c o n d c o n f u s i o n t h a t
followed, fellow officers were able to take effective In this incident, the officer on the
right was led out of a bar as a hostage.
a c t i o n . Whatever you do, it must be instantaneous
He faked a heart attack. The offender
and believable, with complete follow through. was so surprised, his reaction was to
D o n ' t t r y h a l f - h e a r t e d m e a s u r e s , or y o u or s o m e drop his gaze. This gave the partner
o t h e r o f f i c e r m a y w i n d u p i n a n e v e n w o r s e pre- officer the opportunity to disarm the
dicament. offender.

141
Just h o w unprepared m o s t officers are to react
is d e m o n s t r a t e d b y a n e x e r c i s e u s e d at o n e s u r v i v a l
s c h o o l . T w o o f f i c e r s w h o h a v e b e e n p a r t n e r s for
s e v e r a l y e a r s are c a l l e d t o t h e f r o n t of t h e r o o m .
W h e n t h e y are close, t h e i n s t r u c t o r suddenly grabs
one officer and puts a gun loaded w i t h b l a n k s to
his head. " I ' m going to c o u n t to t e n , " the " h o s t a g e -
t a k e r " tells the officer's partner, " t h e n I ' m going
to shoot. O n e . . . t w o . . . t h r e e . . . . "
T h e free officer usually sputters s o m e t h i n g
like, " H e y , wait! I wasn't ready...."
''.. .Five.. .six... s e v e n . . . . "
"Wait! Wait!"
" . . . N i n e . . . t e n ! " B A N G ! T h e g u n g o e s off. T h e
h o s t a g e o f f i c e r is " d e a d " w i t h a s h o t t o h i s h e a d
before h i s partner does anything to help h i m .
O f f i c e r s o n w h o m t h i s e x e r c i s e is p u l l e d o f t e n
a d m i t a f t e r w a r d s t h a t i n f i v e y e a r s or m o r e of r i d i n g
t o g e t h e r t h e y h a d day a f t e r d a y or n i g h t a f t e r n i g h t
discussed great broads, great r e s t a u r a n t s , great
fishing h o l e s , great places to b u y c l o t h e s and a
hundred other time-killing subjects. But not once
h a d t h e y d i s c u s s e d o p t i o n s for a c t i o n s h o u l d o n e
or b o t h of t h e m f i n d t h e m s e l v e s at t h e m e r c y of
desperate individuals.

Firearm Retention

In s o m e c l o s e e n c o u n t e r s , a s u s p e c t m a y grab
for y o u r s i d e a r m i n a n e f f o r t t o d i s a r m y o u . T h e n
your e q u i p m e n t , your stance and your ability to
react m a y literally decide your fate. Lose your gun
and you quite likely will lose your life. A notor-
i o u s l y h i g h p e r c e n t a g e s o m e e s t i m a t e s s a y 90 per
centof suspects who succeed in disarming police
officers, end up attempting to kill them. More than
2 0 per c e n t of o f f i c e r d e a t h s e a c h y e a r are c a u s e d
b y t h e o f f i c e r ' s o w n s i d e a r m s , i n t h e h a n d s of
suspects. 1

Y o u r f i r s t l i n e of d e f e n s e is t o p r e v e n t a s u s p e c t
f r o m s e i z i n g c o n t r o l of y o u r s i d e a r m . T h a t ' s far
p r e f e r a b l e t o t r y i n g t o g e t it b a c k o n c e h e h a s t a k e n
it. Y o u r leather gear should be c h o s e n w i t h this
i n m i n d . A g o o d h o l s t e r h i d e s a n d p r o t e c t s as m u c h
of y o u r s i d e a r m as p o s s i b l e , b a l a n c i n g y o u r a c c e s s
t o it w i t h s e c u r i t y a g a i n s t s o m e o n e e l s e y a n k i n g it
out. Faulty leather gearspecifically fast-draw-
type holstersproves to be a m a j o r contributing
factor every year to officers losing their firearms.
A study in Kansas City has revealed that

1 Revolver Retention, Marvin Van Kirk, Kansas City (MO) Police Dei
partmcnt, 1976.

142
a n o t h e r c o m m o n f a c t o r i n o f f i c e r d i s a r m i n g s is
leaving the holster unsnapped or snapped improp-
erly i n t h e s u s p e c t ' s p r e s e n c e . If y o u do r e l e a s e y o u r
h o l s t e r , at l e a s t k e e p y o u r h a n d p r o t e c t i v e l y o n t h e
b u t t of y o u r g u n . O r if y o u h a v e a t h u m b - b r e a k
Many trainers won't teach firearm re-
holster, you can leave the safety strap in place
tention because they feel it takes too
u n t i l you are ready to draw.
much time to perfect.
Even with these precautions, some suspects What odds do you give this deputy for
m a y b e d r u n k , drugged, m e n t a l l y d i s t u r b e d , c o c k y survival, knowing he wasn't prepared
to deal with this moment!
or d e s p e r a t e e n o u g h t o t r y t o s n a t c h a w a y y o u r
f i r e a r m a n y w a y . T h e n y o u r a b i l i t y t o m o v e de-
c i s i v e l y a n d w i t h o u t h e s i t a t i o n a n d know what
you are doingwill be critical. R e t e n t i o n procedures
require practice, and they m a y be difficult to execute
effectively against a stronger opponent or w h e n you
are f a c i n g m u l t i p l e s u s p e c t s . B u t t h e y m a y b e t h e
o n l y o p t i o n y o u h a v e at t h a t p a r t i c u l a r m o m e n t .
// a suspect lunges for your sidearm while it's
in your holster, y o u r b e s t d e f e n s e is t o i n d u c e s o m e
d i s t r a c t i n g , i n v o l u n t a r y r e a c t i o n i n h i m . G o for h i s
e y e s . O n e or t w o f i n g e r s j a b b e d at h i s e y e s w i l l at t h e
very least cause h i m to close t h e m m o m e n t a r i l y . So
w i l l a b l o w t o t h e f o r e h e a d b e t w e e n h i s e y e s . If h i s
b u i l d m a k e s it f e a s i b l e , a s u d d e n p u n c h t o t h e s o l a r
plexus or a hard shove to his chest w i t h your non-
gun hand, palm open, m a y k n o c k h i m backwards
a n d off b a l a n c e w h i l e y o u d r a w y o u r g u n w i t h y o u r
strong h a n d . O r pivot your gun hip to t h e rear to
protect your firearm. As you turn, deliver a hard
e l b o w t o t h e j a w or w i t h y o u r h a n d s t i f f a n d f l a t , a
sharp jab that strikes his throat b e t w e e n your t h u m b
and first finger. Either m o v e m e n t will leave y o u in a
g o o d p o s i t i o n t o d r a w a n d t o c o n t i n u e h i t t i n g and
One effective alternative when the sus-
s h o v i n g w i t h y o u r n o n - g u n h a n d . It m a y s u r p r i s e
pect tries to disarm you when your
sidearm is holstered. h i m e v e n m o r e if y o u grab h i s c l o t h i n g w i t h y o u r
w e a k hand and y a n k h i m forward. At the s a m e t i m e ,
d e l i v e r a k n e e k i c k t o h i s g r o i n as y o u p u s h h i m
away from your gun.

144
When a suspect manages actually to get his
hand on youi gun butt, y o u w a n t i m m e d i a t e l y t o
pin h i s h a n d w h e r e it i s . C l a m p d o w n hard with
y o u r g u n h a n d o n t o p of h i s h a n d as t h o u g h y o u w e r e
going to draw your firearm. T h i s will k e e p h i m
from pulling your gun from the holster and also give
you control over his hand. At the s a m e t i m e , use
your weak hand to further hold your gun. N o w ,
with your gun hand, curl your fingers into the
suspect's palm and press your t h u m b into the b a c k
of h i s h a n d . Y o u r n e x t m o v e i n v o l v e s t h r e e s i m u l -
t a n e o u s a c t i o n s : 1) k e e p y o u r w e a k h a n d f i r m l y o n
y o u r g u n 2) p i v o t y o u r g u n s i d e a r o u n d t o t h e r e a r
;

so y o u end up facing your a t t a c k e r after a 180-


degree t u r n ; 3) as y o u t u r n , t w i s t h i s p a l m o u t . T h i s
will bend his wrist, forcing h i m to release his hold
on your gun. W h e n you c o m p l e t e your turn, y o u
c a n f o r c e h i s h a n d a n d a r m h i g h e r i n t o t h e air, w h i c h
w i l l drop h i m t o h i s k n e e s f r o m t h e p a i n . Y o u w a n t
t o t a k e h i m d o w n i n s t a n t l y ; if h e s t a y s o n h i s f e e t ,
h e m a y b e a b l e t o t w i s t o u t of y o u r h o l d . W i t h h i m
down, you're n o w in a position to s w i t c h hands:
bring y o u r w e a k hand up to c o n t i n u e t h u m b pres-
s u r e t o t h e b a c k of h i s h a n d a n d u s e y o u r s t r o n g
hand to draw your gun.

S o m e t i m e s an assailant m a y j u m p you w i t h the


i n t e n t i o n of g r a b b i n g y o u r g u n f r o m i t s h o l s t e r
during a b r a w l . A s y o u t r y t o s u b d u e h i m , y o u r
p r i n c i p a l c o n c e r n is t h e h a n d t h a t is n e a r e s t y o u r

145
g u n . S o l o n g as y o u c a n c o n t r o l t h a t , t h e r e ' s h o p e
of c o n t r o l l i n g h i m .
In a situation where you're standing with your
gun drawn, a suspect m a y consider grabbing your
w r i s t o r t h e b a r r e l of y o u r g u n i n a n e f f o r t t o c o n t r o l
w h e r e y o u ' r e p o i n t i n g it or f o r c e y o u t o d r o p i t . I n
s t a n d a r d t r a i n i n g c o u r s e s , o f f i c e r s o f t e n are t a u g h t
The close quarters position with the c o m p l i c a t e d m a n e u v e r s for r e t a i n i n g t h e i r f i r e a r m s
sidearm resting just above the hip. If in the event the suspect m o v e s w i t h such intent.
the suspect now makes a sudden move, T h e s e p r o c e d u r e s a r e r a r e l y d e m o n s t r a t e d or p r a c -
you can easily move back while pushing
ticed under realistic conditions or m a s t e r e d to the
the suspect forward with your weak
point t h e y can be r e m e m b e r e d in crisis.
hand.
A s i m p l e r , m o v e e f f e c t i v e a p p r o a c h is t o avoid
t a k i n g a s t a n c e t h a t o p e n s y o u t o t h i s k i n d of
a t t a c k in t h e first place. W h e n you are c l o s e e n o u g h
t o a s u s p e c t t h a t h e m i g h t r e a c h y o u or y o u r d r a w n
gun, your gun should be in t h e " c l o s e q u a r t e r s "
p o s i t i o n . T h a t i s , y o u r g u n h a n d is p u l l e d b a c k so
t h a t t h e w r i s t is a g a i n s t y o u r s i d e j u s t a b o v e y o u r
h i p . Y o u r g u n is not t h r u s t o u t at a r m ' s l e n g t h
t o w a r d t h e s u s p e c t , w h e r e it o r y o u r w r i s t c a n b e
grabbed. S o m e officers imagine that pointing a gun
o u t at a n e a r b y s u s p e c t l i k e a n a c c u s i n g f i n g e r
m a k e s it a p p e a r m o r e t h r e a t e n i n g . A c t u a l l y , t h e y
merely make themselves more vulnerable. By
keeping your gun b a c k in t h e close quarters position
and standing oblique to the suspect w i t h your gun
side turned slightly a w a y f r o m h i m , y o u can easily
s i d e s t e p , m o v e b a c k w h i l e d e f l e c t i n g h i s h a n d or
k n o c k h i m a w a y if h e d o e s l u n g e t o w a r d y o u . A l s o ,
you're in a good position to b l o c k h i m w i t h your
w e a k - s i d e leg if h e t r i e s t o k i c k y o u i n t h e g r o i n .

4 <
If h e s h o u l d s o m e h o w r e a c h y o u r g u n or w r i s t ,
d o n ' t get i n t o a wrestling m a t c h for t h e w e a p o n .
Y o u w a n t t o g e t h i s m i n d off y o u r g u n as q u i c k l y
as p o s s i b l e . H a n g o n t o it f i r m l y w h i l e k i c k i n g h i m
i n t h e t e s t i c l e s or p o k i n g h i s e y e s t o d i s t r a c t h i m .
Y o u will maintain control. By remaining alert you
often can anticipate a suspect's threatening m o v e
b e f o r e i t ' s m a d e . If h i s e y e s go t o y o u r g u n w h i l e
y o u ' r e q u e s t i o n i n g h i m , for e x a m p l e , h e ' s t e l e -
g r a p h i n g t o y o u t h a t h e ' s at l e a s t c o n s i d e r i n g t h e
p o s s i b i l i t y of t a k i n g it a w a y .

Disarming

Physically disarming a suspect w h o has a gun


p o i n t e d at y o u is p r o b a b l y t h e most desperate man-
e u v e r y o u c a n a t t e m p t . If h e h a s t a k e n y o u r o n l y
g u n or for s o m e o t h e r r e a s o n y o u s e e n o c h a n c e of
successfully drawing and shooting, you m a y have
no c h o i c e but to try to wrest t h e w e a p o n f r o m h i m .
T h e a l t e r n a t i v e of c o m p l y i n g w i t h h i s o r d e r s , if h e
does n o t s h o o t y o u p r o m p t l y , d o e s n o t g u a r a n t e e
you will be spared. N o t atypically, a Florida sheriff's
d e p u t y w h o w a s s u r p r i s e d at g u n p o i n t d u r i n g a
five-man grocery store holdup obeyed w i t h o u t resist-
ance w h e n he w a s ordered face-down o n t o t h e
f l o o r o n l y t o h a v e o n e of t h e r o b b e r s t h e n s h o o t
h i m i n t h e b a c k of t h e h e a d at p o i n t - b l a n k r a n g e .
N o n e t h e l e s s , disarming should be recognized
as a last resort. M o s t disarming t e c h n i q u e s are
e x t r e m e l y d i f f i c u l t t o p u l l off. E v e n i n n o n - s t r e s s
situations, one outstanding tactical instructor con-
c e d e s t h a t h e m a y m i s s t w o o u t of t e n t i m e s .
Consequently, you should attempt disarming only
in a n i n t h - i n n i n g s i t u a t i o n , when you honestly
feel your assailant will kill you o t h e r w i s e .
A b o u t t h e o n l y a d v a n t a g e y o u h a v e is i n
k n o w i n g what y o u are g o i n g t o a n d when you're
g o i n g t o do i t i n o t h e r w o r d s , y o u r a b i l i t y t o
surprise your adversary. O b v i o u s l y , a disarming
a t t e m p t is r e a l i s t i c o n l y w h e n t h e s u s p e c t is
a c t u a l l y t o u c h i n g y o u w i t h t h e g u n o r if i t ' s w i t h i n
your a r m ' s l e n g t h . O t h e r w i s e h e ' l l b e a b l e t o s h o o t
Defore y o u c a n r e a c h h i m . Y o u r b e s t h o p e is t o
c o m m i t y o u r s e l f to a d i s a r m i n g t a c t i c immediately,
and t h e n t o f o l l o w t h r o u g h w i t h o u t s t o p p i n g a n d
with t o t a l f o r c e . If y o u r a c t i o n is d e l a y e d or t e l e -
graphed, it m a y o n l y w o r s e n y o u r r i s k of b e i n g s h o t .
Left to their o w n i n s t i n c t s , m o s t officers m a k e
i i s a r m i n g m o v e s t h a t are i n e f f e c t i v e . E x p e r i m e n t s
n one midwestern police department have revealed
:hat f o u r o u t of five o f f i c e r s , i n c l u d i n g s e a s o n e d
v e t e r a n s , e i t h e r p u l l o n t h e s u s p e c t ' s g u n or t w i s t
it f r o m s i d e t o side i n a n e f f o r t t o r e m o v e it f r o m
his h a n d . W h i l e doing so, m a n y also ignore t h e
f i r s t i m p e r a t i v e of d i s a r m i n g : to direct the muzzle
so you are out of the line of fire as y o u t r y t o t a k e
c o n t r o l of t h e f i r e a r m . A f e w o f f i c e r s , u n f o r t u n a t e l y ,
s t i l l b e l i e v e o l d w i v e s ' t a l e s s u c h as t h e c l a i m t h a t
j a m m i n g t h e m e a t y part of y o u r p a l m a g a i n s t t h e
m u z z l e of a . 4 5 s e m i - a u t o m a t i c w i l l p r e v e n t t h e
g u n f r o m f i r i n g b e c a u s e it w i l l i n t e r f e r e w i t h t h e
slide m o v i n g . All t h a t ' s really n e c e s s a r y to foil that
m o v e is for t h e s u s p e c t t o p u l l t h e g u n b a c k s l i g h t l y
a n d s q u e e z e t h e trigger.
S u c h m o v e s w i l l m o r e p r o b a b l y get y o u s h o t
than get the suspect disarmed. W h a t ' s likelier to
b e u n e x p e c t e d a n d d i s a b l i n g t o h i m is o n e of t h e
f o l l o w i n g o p t i o n s . W i t h e a c h , y o u ' l l m a x i m i z e sur-
p r i s e if y o u m a i n t a i n e y e c o n t a c t w i t h t h e s u s p e c t
(assuming h e ' s facing you) and use your peripheral
vision to w a t c h his hands, u n t i l y o u ' v e m a d e your
initial m o v e . Usually, you can m o v e m o s t effec-
t i v e l y if y o u f i r s t t r y t o d i s t r a c t h i m w i t h t a l k . If
you start to tell h i m s o m e t h i n g , h e ' s likely to shift
his concentration slightly to process what you're
saying. W h i l e h e ' s thinking about that, he can't
b e t h i n k i n g a b o u t s h o o t i n g y o u at t h e s a m e t i m e .
In t h a t s p l i t - s e c o n d of d i v e r s i o n , y o u a c t .

O P T I O N 1: If t h e s u s p e c t is s t a n d i n g in f r o n t
of y o u w i t h a g u n a n d y o u s t i l l h a v e y o u r s i d e a r m
in your holster, swing your w e a k h a n d hard, p a l m
o p e n , d i r e c t l y a g a i n s t t h e side of h i s w e a p o n . F o l l o w
t h r o u g h s o y o u r a r m s w e e p s a c r o s s t h e f r o n t of y o u r
body to give your hit t h e m o s t powerful i m p a c t .
Y o u p r o b a b l y w o n ' t k n o c k t h e g u n o u t of h i s h a n d ,
b u t t h e b l o w m a y p u s h t h e m u z z l e off y o u for an
instant. S i m u l t a n e o u s with this m o v e , draw your
o w n gun. Y o u m a y be able to shoot h i m before he
can get b a c k on target. O n e l i m i t a t i o n : y o u c a n ' t
fully control the suspect's gun.
OPTION 2: If y o u ' r e c o n f r o n t e d w i t h a
revolver t h a t is uncocked, grab t h e r e v o l v e r w i t h
y o u r h a n d c l a m p e d d o w n hard a r o u n d t h e c y l i n d e r ,
y o u r f i n g e r s u n d e r t h e trigger g u a r d . If y o u c l u t c h
tightly enough, you can keep the cylinder from
t u r n i n g and t h i s w i l l p r e v e n t a l i v e c a r t r i d g e f r o m
m o v i n g u n d e r t h e firing p i n w h e n t h e s u s p e c t p u l l s
t h e trigger. B y s i m u l t a n e o u s l y t w i s t i n g t h e r e v o l v e r
so h i s f i n g e r s are b e n t b a c k w a r d s , y o u m o v e t h e
m u z z l e away from you and also inflict u n e x p e c t e d
p a i n . If h e k e e p s h i s f i n g e r i n s i d e t h e t r i g g e r g u a r d ,
t h i s m o v e w i l l b r e a k i t . In N e w Y o r k C i t y , a n o f f i c e r
used this t e c h n i q u e to keep an e x - c o n v i c t w h o had
already killed t w o p o l i c e m e n in a s i d e w a l k gunfight
from shooting a third w h o m he had disarmed and
w a s h o l d i n g at g u n p o i n t . // the revolver is cocked,
grabbing the cylinder will not keep the gun from
being fired. T h e n y o u ' l l need to try to h i t t h e re-
v o l v e r w i t h y o u r h a n d i n t h e m a n n e r of O p t i o n 1 .
If y o u m o v e f a s t , t h e b u l l e t w i l l l i k e l y go b y y o u
s h o u l d it f i r e . N o t e : W i t h s e m i - a u t o m a t i c s , g r a b -
bing hold will not prevent the weapon from firing.
B u t if y o u are a b l e t o d e f l e c t t h e s e m i - a u t o m a t i c
and k e e p y o u r grip, y o u c a n p r e v e n t t h e fired r o u n d
f r o m e j e c t i n g or t h e n e x t r o u n d f r o m c h a m b e r i n g
and t h u s j a m t h e f i r e a r m .
OPTION 3: C l a m p both hands over t h e sus-
p e c t ' s gun hand. Press your t h u m b s hard into the
b a c k of h i s h a n d s as y o u r a i s e h i s a r m a n d t u r n t h e
gun toward h i m . U s e your fingers to pull his fingers
o p e n as y o u p u s h t h e b a r r e l i n t o h i m . H e c o n t r o l s
t h e trigger u n t i l y o u r e l e a s e h i s i n d e x f i n g e r , b u t
if t h e g u n d o e s go off, t h e m u z z l e is n o w p o i n t e d
at a d e s i r a b l e t a r g e t .
OPTION 4: W h e r e a s u s p e c t is behind you,
say w i t h a s h o t g u n or r i f l e p o i n t e d at y o u r b a c k ,
y o u m a y b e a b l e t o t u r n a n d grab t h e b a r r e l . F i r s t ,
try to look over your shoulder slightly to see w h i c h
of y o u r a r m s h e ' s c l o s e s t t o . T h a t w i l l d e t e r m i n e
t h e d i r e c t i o n of y o u r t u r n . If h e ' s c l o s e s t t o y o u r
r i g h t s i d e , for e x a m p l e , t w i s t o r p i v o t b a c k q u i c k l y
so y o u r r i g h t e l b o w a n d u p p e r a r m s h a r p l y k n o c k
t h e g u n t o h i s l e f t . A s s o o n as y o u h i t t h e g u n off
t a r g e t , grab t h e b a r r e l w i t h y o u r r i g h t h a n d a n d
hold the m u z z l e away from you. T h e n use your left
h a n d t o h e l p t w i s t t h e g u n a w a y f r o m h i m as y o u
bring your k n e e up to his groin. O f course, reverse
if h e ' s c l o s e s t t o y o u r l e f t s i d e . If t h e g u n d o e s
d i s c h a r g e w h i l e y o u ' r e s t r u g g l i n g , it is l i k e l y t o
s h o o t i n t o t h e air. S t i l l , t h e b l a s t m a y i n c a p a c i t a t e
y o u t e m p o r a r i l y if i t ' s n e a r y o u r h e a d . If y o u d o n ' t

Option 2
have easy access to his groin as you turn, hold the
gun away w i t h o n e hand. W i t h your other arm,
r e a c h o v e r h i s s h o u l d e r a n d a r o u n d t h e b a c k of h i s
h e a d a n d h o o k y o u r f i n g e r s o v e r t h e l e n g t h of h i s
n o s e f r o m t h e o t h e r s i d e . E x e r t i n g as m u c h s t r e n g t h
as y o u c a n , y o u p u l l h i s n o s e t o t h e s i d e as if y o u
were " p e e l i n g " his face. T h e force and pain will
quickly twist h i m to the ground.
Option 3

150
Option 4
OPTION 5: A p i v o t i n g t e c h n i q u e c a n also
w o r k w h e n y o u r a s s a i l a n t is b e h i n d y o u w i t h a
h a n d g u n . Say h e h a s it in his r i g h t h a n d , a g a i n s t
your head. Y o u simultaneously d u c k and pivot
a r o u n d t o w a r d y o u r left. Y o u r left a r m g o e s u p and
h i t s h i s g u n a r m , k n o c k i n g t h e g u n off t a r g e t and
a w a y f r o m y o u a s y o u slide y o u r a r m d o w n t o w a r d
h i s w r i s t . G r a b t h e g u n w i t h y o u r left h a n d as y o u
c o m p l e t e your pivot. At the s a m e time, slam the
inside edge of y o u r stiffened r i g h t h a n d i n t o his
t h r o a t (this b l o w c a n c r u s h h i s l a r y n x ) a n d bring
y o u r k n e e u p t o his g r o i n .
Remember, whatever disarming tactic you t r y
a n d y o u m a y k n o w of o t h e r s b e s i d e s t h e s e t h a t are
e f f e c t i v e d o n ' t let go once you have a grip on the
gun or the suspect's gun hand. S t r i k e h i m w i t h y o u r
k n e e s a n d e l b o w s . . . r a k e his s h i n w i t h y o u r s h o e . . .
p u n c h o r jab h i s w i n d p i p e , e y e s a n d n o s e , a n d c o n -
tinue trying to w r e n c h the w e a p o n away from
h i m , but D O N ' T L E T G O .
A l s o , t r y t o u s e y o u r p o w e r s of o b s e r v a t i o n
before m a k i n g y o u r m o v e . F o r i n s t a n c e , if y o u r
a s s a i l a n t is h o l d i n g a s e m i - a u t o m a t i c , is it a d o u b l e -
action m o d e l or single-action? Double-action semi-
a u t o m a t i c s h a v e t h e trigger in t h e m i d d l e of t h e
trigger g u a r d ; w i t h a s i n g l e - a c t i o n , t h e trigger is t o

This double-action semi-automatic is


This single-action semi-automatic is
ready to shoot and the safety [S] is in
cocked, but the safetyisin the "on"
the "off" position. Notice the trigger
position. Notice the trigger is to the
[T] is in the middle of the trigger guard.
rear.
t h e r e a r . If t h e g u n is a s i n g l e - a c t i o n a n d t h e h a m m e r
is d o w n , it m e a n s t h a t t h e s u s p e c t w i l l h a v e t o c o c k
the gun before he can fire. T h i s m a y give you an
e x t r a f r a c t i o n of a s e c o n d , a s l i g h t edge, t o u s e t o
y o u r a d v a n t a g e . If t h e h a m m e r is d o w n o n a d o u b l e -
a c t i o n s e m i - a u t o m a t i c , h o w e v e r , t h e g u n is r e a d y t o
shoot. U n l e s s h e ' s too surprised to act, the suspect
can respond by firing i m m e d i a t e l y . A n o t h e r factor
t o o b s e r v e is w h e t h e r t h e s a f e t y o n a s e m i - a u t o m a t i c
or l o n g g u n is o n or off.

In d i s a r m i n g , as i n s o m a n y o t h e r c o m p o n e n t s
of s t r e e t s u r v i v a l , i t ' s i m p o r t a n t t h a t y o u r e c o g n i z e
and u n d e r s t a n d f i r e a r m s a n d t h e i r s t a t e s of r e a d i -
n e s s . H a v i n g m o r e t h a n j u s t a p a s s i n g k n o w l e d g e of
firearms will significantly heighten your survival
quotient.

Practice

It's not enough that you k n o w h o w the tactics


of s u r p r i s e s h o u l d b e d o n e . F o r s u r v i v a l , y o u n e e d t o
b e a b l e t o p e r f o r m t h e m , w i t h o u t lag t i m e , a n d
t h a t t a k e s a great amount of regular practice and
personal c o m m i t m e n t . Probably no tactics require
more practice than disarming techniques.
In a s e n s e , w h a t ' s r e q u i r e d is t h a t y o u c o n d i t i o n
y o u r s e l f as y o u w o u l d for a h i g h - s p e e d s p o r t , s o
your reflexes are sharp.. .your c o o r d i n a t i o n s m o o t h . . .
your m o v e m e n t s i n s t i n c t u a l and anticipatory. Y o u
should practice with a partner, using deactivated
w e a p o n s o r t o y g u n s , b u t w e a r i n g or c a r r y i n g a l l
t h e e q u i p m e n t y o u o r d i n a r i l y do o n t h e j o b ( e x c e p t ,
of c o u r s e , y o u r f i r e a r m s ) , i n c l u d i n g t h e a c c e s s o r i e s
o n y o u r l e a t h e r g e a r . U n d e r t h e p r e s s u r e of t i m e
l i m i t s , take turns springing on e a c h o t h e r w i t h the
w i d e s t v a r i e t y of a t t a c k s y o u c a n i m a g i n e . T h e pro-
ficiency you attain will doubtless be directly related
t o t h e a m o u n t of t i m e y o u p r a c t i c e a n d t h e t o t a l
n u m b e r of t i m e s y o u p e r f o r m e a c h t e c h n i q u e .
T r y to involve s o m e participants in your prac-
t i c e w h o do n o t k n o w t h e t e c h n i q u e s y o u ' l l b e
t r y i n g . T h e r e ' s l e s s c h a n c e t h e n of b e i n g a b l e t o
merely waltz through the exercises w i t h a coopera-
tive partner. At the very least, y o u ' l l learn h o w very
hard it c a n be t o g a i n c o n t r o l o v e r a s u s p e c t w h o
h a s t h e drop o n y o u .

Ideally, you want to condition yourself to m o v e


)y instinct as s o o n as y o u see a g u n c o m e u p a g a i n s t
y o u . M o v e w i t h o u t h e s i t a t i o n t h e s a m e as y o u
w o u l d if y o u s a w a b a s e b a l l f l y i n g t o w a r d y o u r h e a d .
COVER AWARENESS

T h e w a y s o m e o f f i c e r s r e a c t w h e n shooting
threatens, you'd t h i n k they'd gotten their surviva
t r a i n i n g f r o m w a t c h i n g High Noon o n t h e Lat(
Show. Like the old-time western marshal, the)
a d v a n c e o n t h e s u s p e c t or s t a n d t h e i r g r o u n d i n the
open, no m a t t e r w h a t . Seeking protective cove:
is s o m e t h i n g t o o m a n y t h i n k of t o o l a t e .
W h e n a s m a l l t o w n police c h i e f in N o r t l
C a r o l i n a a n s w e r e d a " m a n - w i t h - a - g u n " c a l l at <
local r e s i d e n c e , for e x a m p l e , h e spotted the suspeel
s i t t i n g o n t h e f r o n t p o r c h , a . 1 2 ga. s h o t g u n cradlec
o n h i s l a p . T h e c h i e f p r o m p t l y c l i m b e d o u t of h i :
v e h i c l e a n d s t a r t e d a c r o s s t h e o p e n yard t o w a r c
h i m . . . A t a h i g h w a y rest stop in California, i
sheriff's deputy located a truck camper that be
l o n g e d t o a m a n s o u g h t for f i r i n g g u n s h o t s i n i
residential neighborhood. T h e deputy had walkec
d i r e c t l y t o t h e side of t h e c a m p e r w h e n t h e drivei
suddenly thrust a .30 cal. rifle through the win
dow...In C i n c i n n a t i , t w o patrolmen were investigat-
ing v i c e l a w v i o l a t i o n s w h e n t h e y s a w a m a n t h e y
h a d b e e n w a r n e d w a s a r m e d n e a r a t a v e r n . A s they
approached h i m on foot, t h e s u s p e c t suddenly
p u l l e d a . 3 8 c a l . r e v o l v e r a n d fired a s h o t i n t o the
air. T h e officers stood stationary on the sidewal
a f e w f e e t f r o m h i m , i d e n t i f i e d t h e m s e l v e s a n d tolc
h i m to stop. H e turned toward t h e m and pointec
h i s r e v o l v e r at t h e s t o m a c h of o n e , as h i s f i n g e i
t i g h t e n e d o n t h e trigger a g a i n . . . .
U n f o r t u n a t e l y , but n o t surprisingly, t h e officer
i n e a c h of t h e s e c a s e s w a s s h o t d e a d . Y e t i n t h e s e
and n u m e r o u s other i n s t a n c e s w h e r e officers are

154
killed, solid objects were in t h e i m m e d i a t e v i c i n i t y
that could have provided a protective shield from
t h e g u n m e n , h a d t h e v a l u e of c o v e r a n d t h e w a y s t o
r e c o g n i z e a n d u s e it o n l y b e e n p a r t of t h e v i c t i m s '
orientation.

I j|^r^Hk

w^m

I HB
MI

HB
I

I I
An officer positioned on the roof <

liquor store adjacent to a robbery-


progress. This is the suspect's vis
as he exited the store.
In d e v e l o p i n g s u r v i v a l - m i n d e d n e s s , t h e r e a r e
t w o p o i n t s of o b s e r v a t i o n t h a t d e m a n d y o u r c o n -
s t a n t , c o n s c i o u s a t t e n t i o n . F i r s t , as y o u c r u i s e y o u r
b e a t or s p e e d t o t h e s c e n e of a c r i m e , y o u s h o u l d
always k n o w the last i n t e r s e c t i o n y o u passed; y o u
m a y need to relay your location w i t h o u t faltering
in a c a l l for h e l p . S e c o n d , a n d of e v e n g r e a t e r i m -
p o r t a n c e , y o u w a n t a l w a y s t o b e a w a r e of y o u r n e a r -
est cover. As y o u approach any s i t u a t i o n , y o u w a n t
t o be i n t h e h a b i t of l o o k i n g f o r c o v e r , so y o u c a n
r e a c t a u t o m a t i c a l l y t o r e a c h it s h o u l d t r o u b l e e r u p t .
I t ' s d i f f i c u l t t o go s e e k i n g it a f t e r t h e l e a d is f l y i n g .
C o v e r a w a r e n e s s a p p l i e s w h e t h e r y o u are i n y o u r
c a r or o n f o o t a p p r o a c h i n g a s c e n e , s e a r c h i n g a n
area, q u e s t i o n i n g a s u s p e c t , m a k i n g a n a r r e s t , e v e n
eating your lunch.
A l t h o u g h c o v e r is p r o b a b l y t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t
single t a c t i c for surviving a dangerous situation,
a b o u t t w o - t h i r d s of t h e o f f i c e r s w h o b e c o m e i n -
v o l v e d i n s h o o t i n g s m a k e no u s e of i t . S o m e t i m e s
t h e a c t i o n h a p p e n s t o o f a s t or i n a n a r e a w h e r e
c o v e r is t o o far a w a y . B u t o f t e n , e v e n a f t e r s h o t s
h a v e already b e e n fired, t h e r e ' s still t h e opportunity
t o g e t b e h i n d p r o t e c t i o n , if y o u c a n o v e r c o m e t h e
t e n d e n c y t o s t a n d a n d fire f r o m w h e r e v e r y o u
happen to be.

In m a n y encounters, officers have stood 2


f e e t f r o m a t r e e a n d s h o t it o u t w i t h a s u s p e c t , w h e n
a q u i c k m o v e b e h i n d it w o u l d h a v e g i v e n t h e m e x -
cellent protectionand still allowed t h e m to shoot.
I t ' s a r a r e s i t u a t i o n i n w h i c h some t y p e of c o v e r is
n o t a v a i l a b l e : O U T D O O R S a w o o d e n or m e t a l
utility pole, a u t o m o b i l e , trash can, call or signal
b o x , fire h y d r a n t , m a i l b o x , e m b a n k m e n t , c o n c r e t e
o r s t e e l s t e p s o r t h e c o r n e r of a b u i l d i n g ; I N -
D O O R S a store counter, walls, heavy furniture,
e t c . E v e n if t h e s i t u a t i o n is s o u r g e n t t h a t y o u n e e d
t o f i r e at t h e s u s p e c t i m m e d i a t e l y a n d then m o v e t o
cover, that's usually better than staying indefinitely
in w h a t a m o u n t s to a " f r e e f i r e " z o n e . R e m e m b e r :
No exposed firing position offers you as much in-
surance as firing from cover.

O f course, w h e n y o u k n o w in advance t h a t you


are c o n f r o n t i n g a p o t e n t i a l l y dangerous firearms
s i t u a t i o n , as did t h e o f f i c e r s i n t h e t h r e e i n c i d e n t s
cited above, you want to k n o w not only where your
n e a r e s t c o v e r i s , y o u w a n t t o u t i l i z e it i n m a k i n g
your approach. B y staying b e h i n d cover in s u c h
c i r c u m s t a n c e s and issuing verbal challenges to
the suspect, you can:
1. b u y additional t i m e in w h i c h t o positively
identify your adversary (especially important in
dim-light situations);
2. b e t t e r e v a l u a t e t h e s i t u a t i o n y o u are f a c i n g
b e f o r e m a k i n g r i s k y or d e c i s i v e m o v e s , a n d
3. g a i n t h e a d v a n t a g e of a p r o t e c t e d p o s i t i o n ,
w h i c h w i l l allow y o u to return fire w i t h less likeli-
h o o d of b e i n g h i t if a g u n f i g h t d o e s d e v e l o p .
T o get the m a x i m u m benefit from cover, you
m u s t understand: the relationship b e t w e e n yourself,
your cover, your gun and t h e s u s p e c t ' s l o c a t i o n . . .
h o w to select t h e best cover from various options
you m a y have available...how to position yourself
b e h i n d it i n o r d e r t o g e t off a c c u r a t e s h o t s w i t h o u t
exposing your o w n body t o g u n f i r e . . . w a y s t o over-
c o m e cover your assailant m a y be using...and the
i m p o r t a n c e of m a i n t a i n i n g g o o d c o v e r , r e g a r d l e s s of
p r o v o c a t i o n , w h e n " b l o w i n g " it m i g h t s u b j e c t
you to an adversary's killing s h o t s .

156
For t h e s e a n d o t h e r a s p e c t s of c o v e r a w a r e n e s s ,
h e r e are s o m e t h i n g s t o k e e p i n m i n d a n d a c t i v e l y
apply.

Cover and Concealment


M a n y officers use these t e r m s s y n o n y m o u s l y ,
t h o u g h t h e y are s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t . L e a r n i n g t o
d i s t i n g u i s h b e t w e e n t h e m is t h e f i r s t s t e p t o s u r v i v a l
and e f f e c t i v e c o v e r u s e .

Tall grass and bushes offer conceal-


ment only. Because of body position,
the officer on the right is less con-
cealed than the one on the left.

An officer attempting to use a trunk


lid as cover. This approach probably
offered limited concealment as well
because of the officer's exposed feet
and the fact that the trunk was up in
the first place.
Concealment pertains to protection from being
seen b y a s u s p e c t . It m a y b e p r o v i d e d b y n a t u r a l or
m a n - m a d e objectsbushes, brush, small trees, tall
g r a s s , h e a v y s h a d o w s , s m o k e , c r o w d s , l i n e s of
m o v i n g v e h i c l e s a n y t h i n g t h a t w i l l hide your
p r e s e n c e or m o v e m e n t s f r o m y o u r a d v e r s a r y . C o n -
c e a l m e n t m a y k e e p y o u f r o m g e t t i n g s h o t e v e n if
the suspect does detect your presence. However,
c o n c e a l m e n t a l o n e w i l l not stop bullets.
Cover w i l l o r at l e a s t d e f l e c t t h e m or s l o w
t h e m down. Usually cover incorporates conceal-
m e n t , b u t i t s s a l i e n t f e a t u r e is i t s c a p a c i t y for
protecting you from hostile fire.
T o illustrate: A pasteboard packing carton
m i g h t provide you e x c e l l e n t c o n c e a l m e n t , but a
s u s p e c t c o u l d s h o o t t h r o u g h it a n d i n t o y o u as e a s i l y
as h e c o u l d t h r o u g h a n y o t h e r p a p e r p r o d u c t . O n
the other hand, a six- to eight-inch c o n c r e t e street
c u r b i n f r o n t of a h o u s e m i g h t p r o v i d e l i f e - s a v i n g
cover against a suspect standing s o m e distance
a w a y i n t h e y a r d . If y o u k e p t y o u r h e a d d o w n , s h o t s

ft

i f
4
1 HI

1
II
I t
li
1 T\

In this incident, the officer first took


a ' 'standard position'' inside a doorway.
Then after other officers radioed that he
could be seen by the suspect, he stepped
back 6 feet and was still able to maintain
a visual.

158
h e fired at y o u r l o c a t i o n w o u l d m o s t l i k e l y h i t t h e
f l a t t o p of t h e c u r b a n d r i c o c h e t r i g h t o v e r y o u .
W h a t ' s t r a g i c is t h a t s o m e o f f i c e r s h a v e b e e n
shot to death behind w h a t they thought w a s suitable
cover. T h e y crouched behind w o o d e n fences, ply-
wood doors, s m a l l shrubs, t h i n w a l l s w i t h o u t
distinguishing that these objects m a y be s o m e w h a t
concealing, but by no m e a n s impenetrable.
N e i t h e r is d a r k n e s s . B e c a u s e it c a n h i d e y o u
so w e l l , i t ' s t e m p t i n g t o t h i n k of d a r k n e s s as a
shield. Standing b a c k in shadows 3 to 6 feet c a n
give you good c o n c e a l m e n t . B u t n i g h t t i m e shadows
s o m e t i m e s can be turned i n t o traps by an u n e x p e c t e d
s w i n g of a u t o m o b i l e h e a d l i g h t s . A n d a s t r e e t - w i s e
suspect m a y deliberately shoot into heavy shadows
t o " c l e a r " t h e m , w h e t h e r or n o t h e t h i n k s y o u ' r e
t h e r e . F i n d i n g g e n u i n e c o v e r a n d k e e p i n g it b e t w e e n
y o u a n d y o u r a d v e r s a r y is as i m p o r t a n t i n t h e d a r k
as it is i n d a y l i g h t .
N o r is d i s t a n c e a n y r e a s o n t o a b a n d o n c o v e r
c o n s c i o u s n e s s . W i t h a good, solid b e n c h rest and
t h e r i g h t g u n , if y o u ' r e w i t h i n t h e r a n g e w h e r e a
s u s p e c t c a n s e e y o u , h e c a n s h o o t a n d h i t . In o t h e r
w o r d s , if y o u c a n b e s e e n , y o u c a n b e h i t , a n d if y o u
c a n be h i t , y o u c a n b e k i l l e d .

Evaluating Choices
A n y c o v e r is b e t t e r t h a n n o n e , b u t c e r t a i n c o v e r
is b e t t e r t h a n o t h e r s . A n d w h e r e y o u h a v e t h e
c h o i c e , t h e s e c r e t is t o k n o w t h e d i f f e r e n c e . O f t e n
in s h o o t i n g s i t u a t i o n s , o f f i c e r s t e n d t o l o o k o n l y t o
s i z e c h o o s i n g t h e l a r g e s t o b j e c t as c o v e r , r e g a r d l e s s
of i t s p o w e r t o s t o p b u l l e t s . In r a n g e t r a i n i n g ,
they've probably received m o r e emphasis on h o w to
stand and hold a sidearm b e h i n d a p l y w o o d barri-
c a d e t h a n a n y real a p p r e c i a t i o n of t h e p o s s i b i l i t i e s
and l i m i t a t i o n s of c o v e r a v a i l a b l e o n t h e s t r e e t .
M u c h of w h a t d i s t i n g u i s h e s g o o d c o v e r f r o m
b a d a c t u a l l y h a s t o do w i t h f o r m , t h i c k n e s s a n d
density. B r i c k s and c e r a m i c s u b s t a n c e s tend to be
good cover, c o n c r e t e b l o c k s poor; m a n y bullets
will blast right through a b l o c k wall n o m a t t e r h o w
big it m i g h t b e . T h e w o o d i n m o s t m o d e r n d o o r s ,
especially hollow-core doors, offers y o u l i t t l e pro-
t e c t i o n . In a s c e n a r i o t h a t is r e p l a y e d r e p e a t e d l y
each year, a suspect inside his a p a r t m e n t in W i s c o n -
sin h e a r d o f f i c e r s k n o c k o n h i s d o o r t o q u e s t i o n
l i m about a dispute over a hospital bill. H e grabbed
12 ga. s h o t g u n a n d fired t w i c e t h r o u g h t h e d o o r ,
cilling a p a t r o l m a n as r e a d i l y as if t h e r e h a d b e e n
n o t h i n g b e t w e e n t h e m . In C h i c a g o , a s n i p e r i n s i d e

159
In this shoot-out, you see two wounded
civilians plus four cover alternatives:
A patrol car, fireplug, utility pole and
metal standard. The officer being fired
at took cover behind the fourth op-
tion. Why I

160
a high school shot through a plywood door. T h e
bullet traveled down a corridor m o r e than 3 0 0 feet
before hitting its v i c t i m , and even t h e n still had
m o m e n t u m enough to pass through b o t h his thighs.
O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , a d o o r j a m b w i l l s t o p a l o t of
b u l l e t s . A n d t h e w o o d of a g o o d - s i z e d t r e e is e x c e l -
lent c o v e r " a l m o s t like a sponge in t a k i n g s l u g s , "
as o n e s u r v i v a l e x p e r t p u t s i t . " A l w a y s h a v e a t r e e
w i t h y o u " is a g o o d r u l e , w h e r e y o u c a n f o l l o w i t .
A t e l e p h o n e p o l e is g o o d , t o o , a g a i n s t m o s t a m -
munition you'll encounteryet a ten-inch pole can
be p e n e t r a t e d b y a . 3 0 c a l . r i f l e f i r i n g m e t a l j a c k e t e d
bullets.

r7T\
W h e r e m e t a l is c o n c e r n e d , s t e e l u t i l i t y p o l e s ,
fire h y d r a n t s or p o s t a l s e r v i c e m a i l b o x e s g e n e r a l l y
are superior to trash c a n s , car bodies and t h e l i k e .
In s h o o t i n g t e s t s , for i n s t a n c e , m a i l b o x e s h a v e
been k n o w n to stop a 125 grain, s e m i - j a c k e t e d
h o l l o w point and a 158 grain full-jacketed round
fired f r o m a . 3 8 S p e c i a l , as w e l l a s . 0 0 B u c k f r o m
2 0 - i n c h barrel s h o t g u n s t h e equivalent, in other
w o r d s , o f m o s t of w h a t y o u ' l l e n c o u n t e r o n t h e
street. Fire hydrants are tougher. T h e y ' l l b r e a k up
o n i m p a c t a m m u n i t i o n s u c h as . 3 0 - 0 6 f u l l m e t a l
j a c k e t , . 3 0 8 cal. j a c k e t e d soft point and . 2 2 3 cal.
m i l i t a r y rifle rounds. T h e damage to a fire hydrant
from these powerful bullets, w h i c h could tear
through a car body l i k e butter, could be corrected
w i t h a d a b of p a i n t .
In a cover s w e e p s t a k e s , solid b r i c k s , large trees,
fire h y d r a n t s a n d t h e e n g i n e b l o c k s of c a r s w o u l d
p r o b a b l y c o m e i n t o p s . I n c h f o r i n c h , p o u n d for
pound, these objects will stop more bullets than
any other cover you're likely to have available in a
shooting situation.

Changing Cover
B e c a u s e y o u have s o m e cover in an a r m e d con-
f r o n t a t i o n s h o u l d n ' t stop you from seeking b e t t e r
c o v e r , p r o v i d e d , of c o u r s e , y o u c a n c h a n g e l o c a -
tions w i t h o u t getting shot in t h e process. As usual,
y o u w a n t t o p l a n a h e a d ; select youi next position
before you move.
If p o s s i b l e , y o u s h o u l d c h a n g e f r o m p l a c e t o
p l a c e behind cover. Y o u m i g h t be able to m o v e
a r o u n d a r o o m , for i n s t a n c e , b y p u s h i n g or p u l l i n g
an overstuffed chair across the floor w h i l e you stay
low b e h i n d it. Outdoors, you m a y be able to t a k e
a d v a n t a g e of f u r r o w s , c u l v e r t s , t r e n c h e s or n a t u r a l
i n d e n t a t i o n s i n t h e g r o u n d , as w e l l a s u p r i g h t o b -
jects.
W h e r e you m u s t cross open space w i t h no
c o v e r , y o u r f i r s t c h o i c e is r u n n i n g , as l o w a n d as
f a s t as y o u c a n . Y o u ' r e s a f e s t if y o u c a n r u n across
y o u r assailant's line of f i r e it's hardest to draw a bead
;

o n a t a r g e t m o v i n g f a s t i n a l a t e r a l d i r e c t i o n . If y o u
have to run in a path t h a t ' s parallel to his gun,
zigzag or m o v e at a n u n e v e n p a c e .
Don't move fust for the sake of moving. And
in evaluating the cover you're heading toward, be
s u r e it w o n ' t p l a c e y o u i n a n u n m a n e u v e r a b l e
p o s i t i o n . F l e x i b i l i t y is i m p o r t a n t i n a g u n f i g h t . If
y o u r c o v e r b o x e s y o u i n w h e r e i t ' s i m p o s s i b l e or
d i f f i c u l t t o m o v e r a p i d l y , y o u m a y e n d up " b o x e d
i n , " permanently.

162
Where you must cross open space
without cover, your first choice is
running, as low and as fast as you can.
Here an officer applies that tactic in
rushing a child to safety during a sniper
attack in which 2 were killed and 44
injured, including 6 policemen.

Position and Grips

G e t t i n g safe is t h e g o a l of s e e k i n g c o v e r . Y o u r
a b i l i t y t o r e t u r n fire f r o m b e h i n d it a n d t o b e c o m -
f o r t a b l e t h e r e are s e c o n d a r y c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . T h e r e -
fore, t h e posture you a s s u m e b e h i n d cover should
be geared first a n d f o r e m o s t t o a c h i e v i n g m a x i m u m
c o n c e a l m e n t from the suspect and protection from
his bullets.
T h i s m e a n s y o u w a n t t o blend in with the
shape of your cover.
If y o u r c o v e r ' s a m a i l b o x , c r o u c h a n d spread
y o u r legs s o e a c h is b e h i n d o n e of t h e b o x ' s s u p -
p o r t s . If y o u ' r e b e h i n d a u t i l i t y p o l e o r t r e e , y o u r
i n c l i n a t i o n m a y b e t o go t o a l o w p o s i t i o n if y o u ' r e
b e i n g s h o t a t . B u t if y o u go l o w , y o u ' l l s p r e a d o u t ,
exposing your kneecaps and legs. Y o u ' r e usually
safer t o s t a n d u p r i g h t , t u r n e d s i d e w a y s t o t h e p o l e
w i t h y o u r w e a k - s i d e leg f o r w a r d , t a k i n g m o s t of y o u r
w e i g h t . S i m i l a r l y , if y o u ' v e s c r a m b l e d b e h i n d a
fireplug or t r a s h c a n , y o u m a y b e i n c l i n e d t o s q u a t
there. B u t a low kneeling position will likely give
you more protection. G o down on your strong-side
k n e e a n d sit b a c k o n t h a t leg, w i t h y o u r b o d y
h u n c h e d a n d t u c k e d i n t i g h t t o k e e p as m u c h of
it as y o u c a n w i t h i n t h e o u t l i n e of y o u r c o v e r . O n
o n e k n e e , y o u c a n s t i l l m o v e q u i c k l y if n e c e s s a r y .
W h e n y o u a r e b e h i n d large c o v e r , l i k e a w a l l , t h e n
you m a y reasonably have a choice between getting
l o w or s t a y i n g e r e c t .
T w o p o s i t i o n s y o u a l m o s t a l w a y s w a n t t o avoid
b e h i n d c o v e r a r e : 1) s i t t i n g a n d 2) p r o n i n g o u t .
T h e s e are p r o b a b l y a c c e p t a b l e f o r m i l i t a r y u s e s ,
but for law e n f o r c e m e n t purposes t h e y generally
a l l o w y o u too Utile maneuverability in case y o u
need to m o v e fast to a n e w l o c a t i o n . T h e prone
p o s i t i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y , is a d i f f i c u l t o n e t o s h o o t
f r o m if t h e s u s p e c t is a n y p l a c e b u t g r o u n d l e v e l .
O v e r a l o n g p e r i o d of t i m e , t h i s p o s i t i o n c a n i n d u c e
considerable fatigue in your head, n e c k and a r m s .
In a d d i t i o n , if y o u a r e o n c o n c r e t e or s o m e o t h e r
hard s u r f a c e , t h e s e p o s i t i o n s i n c r e a s e y o u r r i s k of
b e i n g h i t b y r i c o c h e t b u l l e t s . I n s t e a d of a g l a n c i n g
r o u n d c a t c h i n g y o u i n t h e leg, as it m i g h t if y o u ' r e
s t a n d i n g or k n e e l i n g , y o u t a k e t h e c h a n c e of b e i n g
s t r u c k i n t h e s t o m a c h if y o u ' r e s i t t i n g or i n t h e
h e a d if y o u ' r e p r o n e . A l s o , f a l l i n g t o g e t i n t o t h e s e
positions m a y needlessly expose you to injury from
rocks, rusty cans, cactus, broken glass and other
n a t u r a l or m a n - m a d e h a z a r d s .
T h e r e are e x c e p t i o n s , of c o u r s e . If a l o w c u r b
is y o u r only c o v e r , t h e n i t ' s y o u r b e s t , a n d p r o n i n g
o u t i n t h e g u t t e r is y o u r o n l y p r a c t i c a l c h o i c e .
( G e n e r a l l y t h e c u r b is h i g h e s t a n d t h u s m o s t
protectivenear intersections and s t o r m sewer
d r a i n s . ) A l s o if y o u are o n or j u s t b e y o n d t h e s l o p e
of a n e m b a n k m e n t s a y a l o n g r a i l r o a d t r a c k s t h e
prone position m a y w o r k w e l l . Here any r i c o c h e t
b u l l e t s w o u l d l i k e l y b o u n c e off t h e t r a c k s a n d o v e r
your head.

If rolling into a curb becomes the only


cover option, remember that curbs are
usually highest near corners where
the drains are located.

165
In c h o o s i n g c o v e r a n d p o s i t i o n i n g y o u r s e l f ,
r e m e m b e r the ostrich effect: the suspect's perspec-
t i v e m a y b e d r a s t i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t f r o m y o u r s . If y o u
are c r o u c h e d b e h i n d c o v e r a n d h e is l o c a t e d at a n
upper elevation, the barrier m a y b l o c k h i m from
y o u r v i e w y e t h e m a y b e a b l e t o s e e over it t o s p o t
you perfectly. T h i s w a s t h e case in N e w O r l e a n s
where officers confronted a suspect shooting from a
h i g h - r i s e m o t e l . T h e y f e l t t h e y w e r e safe h i d i n g
behind a high brick fence, not realizing that from
their assailant's high angle the wall was no hin-
d r a n c e at all t o p i c k i n g t h e m off.
F r o m b e h i n d cover, y o u w a n t to keep a good
v i s u a l o n y o u r s u s p e c t ' s l o c a t i o n , if y o u c a n ' t s e e
h i m p e r s o n a l l y . S o l o n g as y o u k n o w r o u g h l y w h e r e
h e is, y o u h a v e h i m c o n t a i n e d . U n o b s e r v e d , h e m a y
try to escape or m o v e to c i r c u m v e n t y o u r cover,
c a u s i n g y o u t o l o s e c o n t r o l of t h e s i t u a t i o n . If y o u
c a n ' t w a t c h h i m directly from w h e r e you're posi-
tioned, you m a y be able to utilize the reflections
in w i n d o w s to see his area. O r u s e t h e q u i c k peek
t e c h n i q u e , g l a n c i n g o u t at d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s f r o m
behind your barricade. R e m e m b e r , try to peek out
from low, unexpected levels and not from the s a m e
level consistently.

As you move to cover, avoid getting so


close to the suspect's location that your
position threatens your safety. Hereon
officer has positioned himself about 6
feet from occupants of a house who are
shooting at police.
If a direct assault is not imminent, .... However, shooting from the side of
positioning yourself with your head the mailbox will offer better cover and
over the top will give you a broader concealment. What is sacrificed is
field of view. your total area of observation.

W h e n y o u ' r e forced to stay b e h i n d cover for a


l o n g p e r i o d of t i m e , t r y t o s h i f t y o u r p o s i t i o n
s l i g h t l y e v e r y s o o f t e n if y o u c a n do s o s a f e l y .
O t h e r w i s e , the fatigue and restricted blood circula-
t i o n t h a t c o m e f r o m rigidly h o l d i n g o n e p o s t u r e for
a n e x t e n d e d t i m e m a y b l u r y o u r v i s i o n a n d m a k e it
d i f f i c u l t for y o u t o s e e t h e s u s p e c t . U l t i m a t e l y , y o u
w i l l a d o p t a p o s i t i o n t h a t is c o m f o r t a b l e a n d w o r k s
b e s t for y o u .
A s far as f i r i n g at y o u r a d v e r s a r y is c o n c e r n e d ,
y o u w a n t t o s h o o t around y o u r c o v e r w h e n p o s s i b l e ,
r a t h e r t h a n over t h e t o p of i t . V i s u a l i z e t h e s e t w o
p o s i t i o n s f r o m a m a i l b o x as c o v e r a n d y o u ' l l s e e t h a t
s h o o t i n g f r o m t h e side w i l l e x p o s e a m u c h s m a l l e r
p o r t i o n of y o u r v i t a l a n a t o m y t o a s u s p e c t ' s h o s t i l e
shots.
T h e exact posture you adopt will depend on the
s h a p e of y o u r c o v e r a n d t h e s u s p e c t ' s l o c a t i o n , t h e
idea of b e i n g t o get o n t a r g e t w h i l e r i s k i n g as l i t t l e
of y o u r h i d e as y o u c a n . W h e n b u l l e t s are f l y i n g a n d
you're under stress, you w a n t to be able to call
a u t o m a t i c a l l y on survival skills that are s i m p l e ,
e f f e c t i v e a n d e a s i l y a p p l i e d . S o , as a k e y t o s h o o t i n g ,
y o u n e e d a b a s i c grip t h a t w i l l h o l d y o u r g u n s t e a d y
a n d t h a t c a n b e a d a p t e d t o a v a r i e t y of b e h i n d - c o v e r
p o s t u r e s . S e l e c t a grip y o u ' r e c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h . . .
p r a c t i c e it r e g u l a r l y . . . t h e n s t i c k w i t h it w h e n y o u
g e t i n t r o u b l e . If y o u c a n l e a r n t o s h o o t o n e w a y
and learn to shoot o n e way effectively, t h a t ' s a
strong plus for y o u r staying alive.
T h e old m e t h o d involved pressing your support
hand flat against the barricade w i t h the t h u m b
j u t t i n g o u t t o f o r m a n " L . " T h e w r i s t of y o u r g u n
h a n d t h e n rested in this c r o t c h , and y o u braced
yourself w i t h your opposite foot forward against
the wall. Even when the cover was conveniently
f l a t , as it u s u a l l y w a s o n t h e r a n g e s w h e r e t h i s
f o r m w a s t a u g h t , t h e grip t e n d e d t o b e s h a k y . B u t
it w a s e v e n l e s s s u i t a b l e b e h i n d c u r v e d or i r r e g u l a r
s h i e l d s , l i k e p o l e s a n d f i r e p l u g s , w h i c h y o u are far
m o r e likely to encounter on the street.
For s h o o t i n g from b e h i n d cover in an armed
c o n f r o n t a t i o n , y o u ' l l p r o b a b l y f i n d o n e of t h e s e
m o r e s t a b l e grips easier to use and m o r e effective
in delivering a c c u r a t e fire:
1. the two-handed combat hold. T h i s is t h e
s a m e grip u s e d i n t h e b a s i c i n s t i n c t s h o o t i n g s t a n c e .
Basically, one hand holds your gun, and the other
h a n d w r a p s a r o u n d it t o p r o v i d e a d d i t i o n a l s u p p o r t .
T h e f i n g e r s of t h e t w o h a n d s m a y b e f i r m l y i n t e r -
t w i n e d or l o c k e d t o g e t h e r , or t h e s u p p o r t h a n d m a y
s i m p l y wrap around your shooting h a n d . As y o u fire,
t h e b a c k of y o u r s u p p o r t h a n d b e t w e e n w r i s t a n d
k n u c k l e s presses against t h e side of your cover.
T h i s grip a l l o w s for a s l i g h t g u n - h a n d p u s h a n d
support-hand pull w h i c h will give you a steady,
s o l i d grip o n t h e g u n .

2. the wrist clench. Here you hold your non-


shooting a r m b e n t and parallel to the ground and
p l a c e t h e b a c k edge of it a g a i n s t y o u r c o v e r . I n a n
over-handed grip, your n o n - s h o o t i n g h a n d t h e n
c l u t c h e s y o u r g u n h a n d at t h e w r i s t . T h i s h o l d
allows you to brace yourself against your cover
a n d p r o v i d e s s o m e s t e a d y i n g of y o u r s h o o t i n g
h a n d as y o u f i r e .

If y o u ' r e c o m f o r t a b l e u s i n g it, the two-hand


combat hold is the superior grip for shooting from
cover. Y o u s h o u l d p r a c t i c e it u n t i l it b e c o m e s in-
s t i n c t i v e . W i t h it, you can shoot around anything,
w h e t h e r i t ' s a square corner, a round corner, a fire
h y d r a n t , a m a i l b o x , t h e h o o d of a c a r or w h a t - h a v e -
y o u . T h e grip w o r k s w h e t h e r y o u are s t a n d i n g ,
crouching, kneeling, even sitting or proned out.
In the k n e e l i n g position, y o u can bolster the support
it g i v e s y o u r g u n b y p l a c i n g t h e e l b o w of y o u r

170
n o n - s h o o t i n g a r m o n your raised k n e e to form
roughly a " V " between your shoulder and gun.
T o keep this brace steadiest, avoid direct c o n t a c t
b e t w e e n your elbow and k n e e b o n e and instead
p l a c e t h e f l e s h y part of y o u r a r m j u s t a b o v e t h e
elbow against t h e k n e e area.
Depending on the suspect's location, you m a y
n e e d t o " p o p o u t " s o m e of y o u r u p p e r b o d y f r o m
b e h i n d y o u r c o v e r i n order t o f i r e at h i m . B u t b y
m o v i n g f a s t a n d u s i n g t h e p r i n c i p l e s of i n s t i n c t
shooting, you can keep your exposure t i m e to a
minimum.

Your best position around most barri-


cade cover will involve the two-hand
hold. Notice the relationship of hands
to this right-sided barricade. Also notice
that at no point does the revolver
actually touch the cover surface.
The proper position next to this pole is Moreover, the a m o u n t of your body exposed
appropriate to almost every barricade d u r i n g t h a t t i m e c a n a l s o b e m i n i m i z e d , if y o u
cover situation. train yourself to be an ambidextrous shooter, able
to fire p r o f i c i e n t l y w i t h t h e gun in e i t h e r your left
or r i g h t h a n d , as y o u r c o v e r a n d t h e s u s p e c t ' s
location dictate. M o s t training on the range e m -
phasizes only strong-hand shooting, but in s o m e
street situations, you m a y find yourself behind a
"left-handed barricade," one that requires you to
" p o p o u t " t o t h e l e f t t o s h o o t a r o u n d . If y o u a r e
normally a right-handed shooter, you should be
able in this c i r c u m s t a n c e to shoot a c c u r a t e l y w i t h
y o u r g u n i n y o u r l e f t h a n d . T h e r e is n o d o u b t t h a t
d o i n g s o c a n g i v e y o u e x t r a p r o t e c t i o n . If y o u d o n ' t
use y o u r left h a n d b e h i n d a left-handed barricade,
b u t l e a n o u t far e n o u g h i n s t e a d t o s h o o t w i t h y o u r
r i g h t h a n d , y o u are e x p o s i n g a p p r o x i m a t e l y three
times the a m o u n t of your body that would be
n e c e s s a r y for a w e a k - h a n d s h o t . T h i s a d d i t i o n a l
exposure involves m o s t l y your head and chest areas.
T h a t creates a significant increase in your survival
r i s k , e v e n if t h e e x p o s u r e t i m e i n v o l v e d is m e a s u r e d
i n s e c o n d s or l e s s . I n a d d i t i o n , w e a k - h a n d s h o o t i n g
c a n b e i m p o r t a n t if y o u r s t r o n g h a n d is s h o t or
o t h e r w i s e i n j u r e d . If y o u ' r e a m b i d e x t r o u s , y o u c a n
still defend yourself.

Although m o s t officers have a strong psycho-


logical urge to use their strong h a n d in shooting

172
f r o m b e h i n d both right- and left-sided barricades,
weak-hand shooting can be developed to the level
t h a t y o u will u s e it u n d e r s t r e s s . It is l e a r n e d b e -
h a v i o r , a n d y o u c a n l e a r n it w e l l . T h e t a c t i c is w e l l
w o r t h t h e e f f o r t , b u t l e a r n i n g it d o e s r e q u i r e exten-
sive practice. In a d d i t i o n t o t r a i n i n g y o u r h a n d s , y o u
h a v e t o c o n d i t i o n y o u r s e l f so y o u d o n ' t s t i c k y o u r
h e a d all t h e w a y o u t t o s h o o t w i t h b o t h e y e s or
w i t h y o u r s t r o n g e r e y e . If y o u h a v e n ' t p r a c t i c e d
to the point that you can use w e a k - h a n d shooting
c o m f o r t a b l y a n d c o n f i d e n t l y , y o u will r e v e r t u n d e r
pressure to shooting w i t h your stronger hand, w h i c h ,
in certain c i r c u m s t a n c e s , can be l e t h a l .
F o r w e a k - h a n d s h o o t i n g , of c o u r s e , y o u u s e t h e
The proper body and shotgun position
s a m e grip. Just transfer your gun t o your w e a k behind a right-sided barricade. Notice
hand and e m p l o y y o u r strong hand for support. that the shotgun does not touch the
(If y o u ' r e u s i n g a s e m i - a u t o m a t i c , y o u ' l l f i n d a barricade.
definite a w k w a r d n e s s in operating t h e safety and
s l i d e r e l e a s e , w h i c h is n o r m a l l y d o n e w i t h t h e
t h u m b of y o u r s h o o t i n g h a n d . T h e s e l e v e r s w i l l
h a v e t o b e m o v e d w i t h t h e i n d e x f i n g e r of y o u r
weak hand.)

verting to the strong-hand position


zft photos] around a left-sided barricade
ill expose your head and torso every
Tie. The same is true when holding
shotgun.


In applying barricade cover, both feet
are placed firmly on the ground, with
your gun-side foot placed back a com-
fortable distance.

174
In s h o o t i n g w i t h e i t h e r h a n d , a p r o p e r f o o t
p l a c e m e n t is i m p o r t a n t f o r b a l a n c e a n d c o n t r o l . If
y o u ' r e in a s t a n d i n g p o s i t i o n b e h i n d a b a r r i c a d e , t h e
f o o t o n t h e s a m e side as y o u r g u n h a n d s h o u l d b e
placed about one step back. Again, you'll probably
need to e x p e r i m e n t to find the p o s i t i o n t h a t offers
y o u t h e b e s t c o m b i n a t i o n of c o m f o r t , b a l a n c e a n d
accuracy. R e m e m b e r to shift your weight on the
b a l l s of y o u r f e e t f r o m t i m e t o t i m e d u r i n g p e r i o d s
of i n a c t i v i t y t o r e l i e v e f a t i g u e .
B e s u r e w h e n s h o o t i n g t h a t no part of youi gun
touches your barricade. B e c o n s c i o u s of w h e r e t h e
b a r r e l is ( c y l i n d e r , t o o , if y o u ' r e u s i n g a r e v o l v e r ) ,
and k e e p it s l i g h t l y a w a y f r o m a n y s u r f a c e . Y o u m a y
have shot on a range by resting your gun on a little
s a n d b a g , b u t t h i s is n o t c o m p a r a b l e t o a h a r d s u r f a c e
t h a t h a s n o " g i v e . " If y o u r g u n is t o u c h i n g s u c h a
s u r f a c e , it w i l l b o u n c e w h e n y o u f i r e . T h i s c h a n g e i n
the recoil action will m a k e your shots inaccurate
a n d l e n g t h e n y o u r r e c o v e r y t i m e for g e t t i n g b a c k o n
target f o r y o u r n e x t s h o t .
Be careful also to keep your m u z z l e c o m p l e t e l y
c l e a r of y o u r c o v e r . In I l l i n o i s , a n o f f i c e r s u f f e r e d a
painful ear injury w h i l e shooting from b e h i n d a rail-
road e m b a n k m e n t . H e u n w i t t i n g l y l e t t h e b a r r e l of
h i s s h o t g u n drop d o w n s o part of t h e m u z z l e w a s
pointing into the train track he was trying to shoot
over. T h i s can cause n o t only an u n u s u a l l y i n t e n s e
sound reverberation w h i c h can injure your ear-
d r u m s , as h a p p e n e d i n t h i s c a s e , b u t a l s o c a n c a u s e
your a m m u n i t i o n to deflect dangerously, bringing
i n j u r y t o y o u r s e l f or f e l l o w o f f i c e r s .
E v e n w i t h o u t m i s h a p , shooting from behind
covet is different from shooting in the open. Your
a c c u r a c y r a t e is l i k e l y t o b e l o w e r . T h e o n l y w a y t o
c o r r e c t t h a t is b y a d h e r i n g t o t h e o n e u n c h a n g i n g
s u r v i v a l p r i n c i p l e : practice builds proficiency.

Patrol Car as Cover


A l o t of s h o o t i n g s go d o w n n e a r p a t r o l c a r s .
O f t e n y o u r c l o s e s t s o u r c e of c o v e r is y o u r c a r i t s e l f . If
y o u ' r e i n s i d e it, y o u m a y b e a b l e t o m o v e q u i c k l y t o
a protected position just by shifting a few i n c h e s in
y o u r s e a t . O u t s i d e t h e car, t h e r e a r e s e v e r a l p l a c e s
w h e r e t h e v e h i c l e ' s c o n s t r u c t i o n offers y o u e x c e l l e n t
s h i e l d i n g . If n o t h i n g e l s e , y o u m a y b e a b l e t o drive
y o u r u n i t t o a p o s i t i o n w h e r e g o o d c o v e r is a v a i l a b l e .
T h e r e are, h o w e v e r , s o m e popular m i s c o n c e p -
tions about patrol car cover.

M Y T H : Y o u have good cover by c r o u c h i n g b e h i n d a


wide-open v e h i c l e door and s h o o t i n g through t h e
open window. Actually, this position leaves you
v u l n e r a b l e in several w a y s . Y o u r legs are exposed
below the door they can be k n o c k e d out from under
;

y o u b y r i c o c h e t fire f r o m t h e s u s p e c t ' s p o s i t i o n .
Y o u r h e a d a n d u p p e r t o r s o are e x p o s e d as y o u r i s e u p
i n t h e w i n d o w t o s h o o t . A n d if t h e s u s p e c t is s m a r t
and has e n o u g h firepower, h e c a n l i k e l y shoot right
through the door and hit you. Indeed, t h e r e ' s enough
f i r e p o w e r f o r t h a t i n a . 2 2 c a l . r i f l e h o t l o a d . (If y o u
must u s e a c a r d o o r for c o v e r , t r y t o a n g l e t h e d o o r i n
relation to the suspect's fire. T h e n there's a greater
c h a n c e of h i s b u l l e t s r i c o c h e t i n g off.)

// you've ever considered a cover tactic


like this, consider yourself lucky you've
never tested it during a shooting con-
frontation.

Patrol car doors make for poor cover


and much blood.

MYTH: Flopping over the hood, over the rear fen-


der or o v e r t h e c a r t o p is a g o o d w a y t o r e t u r n f i r e .
S o m e of t h e s a m e l e t h a l p r o b l e m s a p p l y . Y o u ' r e e x -
p o s i n g a s i z e a b l e p o r t i o n of y o u r b o d y t o h o s t i l e
fire o n c e y o u g e t a b o v e c o v e r . If y o u ' r e s h o o t i n g o v e r
t h e t o p , f o r e x a m p l e , at l e a s t y o u r h e a d a n d s h o u l d e r s
are e x p o s e d o n t h e r o o f a n d y o u r m i d - s e c t i o n is v u l -
nerable through the windows. And your assailant

176
still m a y be able to take out your legs by skipping
bullets. Indeed, positions like these m a y invite
shots. T h e y certainly have in the past.

MYTH: W h i l e s e a t e d in y o u r c a r , y o u c a n s h o o t
through the windshield and hit your adversary. T h i s
m a y w o r k i n C l i n t E a s t w o o d m o v i e s , b u t don't t r y
it i n r e a l l i f e . T h e b u l l e t a c t u a l l y m a y t r a v e l d o w n
t h e g l a s s , r a t h e r t h a n t h r o u g h it, a n d d e f l e c t i n t o
y o u r c a r . O r it m a y j u s t lodge i n t h e g l a s s . A t t h e
very least, your eardrums will experience pain f r o m
t h e s h o t fired w i t h i n t h e c o n f i n e s of t h e c a r .
O n e w a y t o r e m a i n i n s i d e y o u r p a t r o l c a r and
s h o o t e f f e c t i v e l y , at l e a s t w h e n y o u r a s s a i l a n t is i n
r o n t of y o u , as m i g h t b e t h e c a s e i n a t r a f f i c s t o p
t h a t g o e s s o u r , is t o u s e t h e b a c k b r a c e p o s i t i o n .
W i t h y o u r d o o r at l e a s t p a r t i a l l y o p e n , y o u s l i d e o v e r
in y o u r s e a t s o y o u r b a c k is r e s t i n g a g a i n s t t h e d o o r
post. O n e leg s t a y s i n s i d e , y o u k e e p t h e o t h e r u p
off t h e p a v e m e n t b y b r a c i n g y o u r f o o t a g a i n s t t h e
3pen d o o r . Scoot down low a n d p o s i t i o n y o u r side-

177
a r m i n t h e c r o t c h f o r m e d b y t h e f r o n t edge of t h e
door and the windshield post. T h e m e t a l can serve
as a b e n c h r e s t f o r y o u r h a n d s , e n a b l i n g y o u t o get
off m o r e a c c u r a t e r o u n d s w i t h e i t h e r y o u r s i d e a r m
or s h o t g u n . I n t h i s p o s i t i o n , y o u r f a c e a n d c h e s t a r e
p a r t i a l l y p r o t e c t e d b e h i n d t h e h e a v y m e t a l of t h e
windshield post, and, depending on the exact loca-
tion of the suspect, you m a y achieve additional
shielding from the car's engine block. Of course,
y o u k e e p y o u r e n g i n e r u n n i n g so y o u c a n b a c k up
or p u l l o u t of t h e r e f a s t if n e c e s s a r y or d e s i r a b l e .

One tactic for using your vehicle as


cover is to position yourself like this.
Brace your foot to keep the door open.
This position also keeps your legs clear
of low rounds.

178
If t h e s u s p e c t is p o s i t i o n e d w h e r e y o u ' r e b e t t e r
off or h a v e t i m e t o e x i t y o u r p a t r o l c a r , y o u w a n t t o
e x i t o n t h e side a w a y f r o m h o s t i l e w e a p o n s f i r e . If
y o u ' r e t h e driver a n d i t ' s safe t o e x i t t h r o u g h y o u r
door, h i t y o u r s e a t b e l t r e l e a s e a n d at t h e s a m e t i m e
t u c k your left a r m under the shoulder h a r n e s s . Y o u
shed the harness w i t h a pushing m o t i o n and open
t h e door l a t c h w i t h y o u r l e f t h a n d . T h e n p u s h t h e
door o p e n w i t h y o u r l e f t k n e e , l e a v i n g b o t h h a n d s
free as y o u s t a r t o u t . (If y o u ' r e t h e p a s s e n g e r o f f i c e r ,
u s e y o u r r i g h t h a n d a n d k n e e for t h i s m a n e u v e r . )
Y o u w a n t t o r o l l o u t of t h e car, l a n d i n g o n y o u r
hands and k n e e s and keeping l o w u n t i l y o u reach
cover, say b e h i n d a w h e e l .
If y o u n e e d t o e x i t f r o m t h e s i d e of t h e c a r
opposite where you're sitting, d u c k down, stretch
o u t a c r o s s t h e s e a t a n d o p e n t h a t d o o r . G r a b t h e edge
of t h e s e a t a n d p u l l y o u r s e l f a c r o s s o n y o u r b e l l y a n d
side, a n d c o n t i n u e t o slide o n o u t . Y o u c a n u s e y o u r
f e e t a g a i n s t t h e o p p o s i t e d o o r f o r a n e x t r a p u s h for-
ward. T h i s keeps your head and c h e s t , your m o s t
v u l n e r a b l e a r e a s , as l o w as p o s s i b l e a n d a l l o w s y o u
to present the lowest profile w h i l e e x i t i n g a n d
t h a t ' s y o u r t o p p r i o r i t y . Do not t r y t o d r a w y o u r
gun w h i l e g o i n g t h r o u g h t h e s e m a n e u v e r s . Y o u m a y
e n d up a c c i d e n t a l l y s h o o t i n g y o u r s e l f . D r a w a f t e r
y o u ' r e outside, w h e n y o u ' r e c a p a b l e of r e t u r n i n g
fire s a f e l y .
V e h i c l e e x i t s are u s u a l l y g i v e n l i t t l e a t t e n t i o n
in b a s i c t r a i n i n g . B u t o n e of t h e t h i n g s y o u ' l l l e a r n
q u i c k l y i n t r y i n g an o p p o s i t e - d o o r e x i t is t o k e e p t h e
e q u i p m e n t that you store on the front seat to an
a b s o l u t e m i n i m u m . C o n s o l e s , radar a n d o t h e r n e c -
essary e q u i p m e n t that m a y be in the w a y will slow
y o u d o w n e n o u g h . If a s u s p e c t ' s b u l l e t s are t u r n i n g
your unit into a sieve, you don't w a n t extra debris
to further h a m p e r your getting out!
O u t s i d e the patrol car, m o v e i m m e d i a t e l y to
h e r e y o u h a v e m a x i m u m p r o t e c t i o n . C r o u c h i n g or
k n e e l i n g b e h i n d o n e of t h e w h e e l s is l i k e l i e s t t o
fully c o n c e a l y o u and protect y o u from r i c o c h e t
o u n d s a n d a l s o p u t s a b a r r i e r of r u b b e r a n d m e t a l
o s s i b l y t w o of t h e m b e t w e e n y o u a n d a s u s p e c t ' s
irect fire. B e h i n d a front w h e e l , y o u m a y also be
rotected by t h e engine b l o c k , the least penetrable
o m p o n e n t of a n y v e h i c l e . Beware of standing or
neeling between wheel bases. T r u e , y o u ' v e g o t t h e
h o l e l e n g t h or w i d t h of t h e c a r as c o v e r , b u t y o u r
egs are e x p o s e d u n d e r n e a t h . In t h e i n f a m o u s T e x a s
ower incident in 1 9 6 6 , an a m b u l a n c e driver t o o k
uch a position outside his vehicle, thinking he was
afe f r o m t h e s n i p e r s h o t s c r a c k l i n g a r o u n d h i m .
h a r l e s W h i t m a n s t r u c k h i m at l e a s t o n c e b y u s i n g
icochet shooting under the ambulance.
Again, depending on the suspect's location, you
m a y be able to m o s t safely sight h i m by q u i c k
p e e k i n g u n d e r t h e c a r . If y o u ' r e u p f r o n t a n d h e ' s
situated appropriately, o n e w a y for y o u to s h o o t that
m a i n t a i n s g o o d c o v e r is t o r o c k f o r w a r d a n d fire
a r o u n d t h e f r o n t of t h e c a r , j u s t a b o v e t h e b u m p e r .
T h i s t e n d s t o b e a b e t t e r p o s i t i o n t h a n t h e tradi-
tional one, taken by t w o officers in Maryland w h o
tried to apprehend a teenage b a n k robbery suspect.
W h e n h e fired at t h e m w i t h a . 2 0 g a . s h o t g u n , t h e y
shot b a c k over their patrol car. H e killed t h e m both
with blasts to the head.
If y o u r a s s a i l a n t c h a n g e s l o c a t i o n a n d y o u n e e d
t o m o v e f r o m o n e side of t h e p a t r o l c a r t o t h e o t h e r ,
u n d e r f i r e , s t a y l o w as y o u c i r c l e t h e e n d of t h e
c a r . K e e p a v i s u a l o n t h e s u s p e c t t h r o u g h t h e car
glass, so h e ' s under c o n s t a n t surveillance. As soon
as y o u r o u n d t h e v e h i c l e , a g a i n t a k e c o v e r b e h i n c
a wheel.

Most suspects will expect you to re-


main by your vehicle. Moments after
this picture was taken, the officer with
the shotgun was killed by sniper fire
from a hotel across the street.

182
U n d e r s t r e s s , w e a l l t e n d t o r e v e r t t o s o u r c e s of
t r e n g t h . In a c r i s i s , w i t h o f f i c e r s , a p r i n c i p a l s o u r c e
tends to be the patrol car. I t ' s f a m i l i a r . . . i t ' s m o -
b i l e . . . i t s radio m a y s y m b o l i z e a lifeline. B u t in s o m e
situations, to save your life, y o u ' l l have to abandon
i t . Y o u r p o s i t i o n t h e r e , e v e n if y o u m a k e t h e b e s t
p o s s i b l e u s e of t h e c a r as c o v e r , m a y b e t o o v u l n e r -
able. T h i s was tragically illustrated in a m i d w e s t e r n
incident w h e r e t w o officers were fired u p o n in their
patrol car by t w o suspects in a n o t h e r car. T h e officer
w h o was driving was killed in t h e first volley. O n e
of t h e s u s p e c t s t h e n c l i m b e d o u t of t h e s u s p e c t
v e h i c l e and a p p r o a c h e d t h e p a t r o l c a r o n f o o t . T h e
p a s s e n g e r o f f i c e r s a w h i m e m e r g i n g b u t i n s t e a d of
e x i t i n g t h e p a t r o l c a r for c o v e r , h e s t a y e d i n s i d e t o
r a d i o for h e l p . H e w a s t h e n s h o t l i k e a s i t t i n g d u c k
by the suspect firing through t h e w i n d s h i e l d .
As y o u m a n e u v e r i n a n d a r o u n d y o u r p a t r o l c a r ,
keep in mind your other cover options. Remember,
your car has definite l i m i t a t i o n s . T h e r e should be n o
u m b i l i c a l c o r d t y i n g y o u t o it if y o u c a n s a f e l y r e a c h
something better somewhere else. T h i s m a y m e a n
sacrificing your c o m m u n i c a t i o n s contact unless you
have a portable radio. B u t protecting y o u r life is,
after all, your top priority. A solid shield will
p r o b a b l y do t h a t b e t t e r t h a n a m i c r o p h o n e i n a n
imminent shoot-out.

enetration Power

M a n y officers t h i n k that w h a t they c a n ' t see


t h e y c a n ' t s h o o t . A v i v i d t e s t of t h i s t h a t r a r e l y
fails is p e r f o r m e d r e g u l a r l y b y o n e i n s t r u c t o r i n
s u r v i v a l t a c t i c s . O n e at a t i m e , h e a r m s h i s s t u d e n t s
with a deactivated revolver and tells t h e m to
' s h o o t " h i m as h e s i t s f a c i n g t h e m , a b o u t 2 f e e t
a w a y . T h e t r i c k is t h a t h e h o l d s a s h e e t of t y p i n g
paper i n f r o n t of h i m . A l m o s t i n v a r i a b l y , a c u r i o u s
choreography promptly develops: the student moves
t h e g u n t o t r y t o s h o o t around t h e p a p e r , t h e i n s t r u c -
t o r j e r k s t h e paper in f r o n t of t h e m u z z l e , t h e s t u -
e n t s h i f t s t h e g u n , t h e i n s t r u c t o r b l o c k s it w i t h
h e p a p e r a n d s o o n , ad i n f i n i t u m . H a r d l y a n y o n e
ver " s h o o t s " through t h e paper, t h o u g h a b u l l e t
bviously w o u l d p u n c h right through to t h e instruc-
or. O n t h e s t r e e t , t h e s a m e sort of t h i n g s o m e t i m e s
a p p e n s . O n e o f f i c e r s a v e d h i s life b y h o l d i n g u p h i s
p e n p a l m i n f r o n t of a s u s p e c t ' s g u n a n d c o n -
i n u i n g t o m o v e it as t h e s u s p e c t t r i e d t o s h o o t
round the officer's hand.
S o m e t i m e s it's the suspect who capitalizes on
he failure to acknowledge p e n e t r a t i o n power. In
m o r e than one armed encounter, the offender has
ducked behind a hedgeand the officer has stopped
s h o o t i n g at h i m , e v e n t h o u g h h i s l o c a t i o n is k n o w n
a n d t h e o f f i c e r ' s a m m u n i t i o n is c l e a r l y c a p a b l e of
penetrating to it. T h e officer w a i t s to shoot u n t i l
the s u s p e c t ' s head pops up.
W i t h a firearm and a m m u n i t i o n that are power-
ful e n o u g h , y o u c a n p e n e t r a t e v i r t u a l l y any c o v e r .
W i t h a h i g h - v e l o c i t y . 3 0 c a l . r i f l e l i k e a . 3 0 8 or
.30-06you can punch through about anything.
Even with your service handgunand especially
w i t h a shotgun loaded w i t h rifled slugs rather t h a n
.00 B u c k y o u can shoot through m a n y objects a
suspect might c o m m o n l y hide behind, including
d o o r s , e x t e r i o r a n d i n t e r i o r w a l l s of m a n y b u i l d i n g s
a n d c e r t a i n p a r t s of c a r s .
If a s u s p e c t p u l l s a g u n o n y o u as y o u a p p r o a c h
h i s d o o r i n a t r a f f i c s t o p , for i n s t a n c e , y o u m a y b e
a b l e t o s h o o t h i m b y f i r i n g t h r o u g h t h e d o o r as y o u
drop i n t o a p r o t e c t e d p o s i t i o n b e l o w t h e w i n d o w
l e v e l . Y e a r s ago, w h e n c a r s w e r e m a d e d i f f e r e n t l y ,
t h i s m i g h t n o t h a v e b e e n p o s s i b l e . B u t t o d a y , de-
spite s o m e c l a i m s to the contrary, car bodies often
can b e p e n e t r a t e d b y s t a n d a r d p o l i c e a m m u n i t i o n ,
e s p e c i a l l y if y o u are a f e w f e e t b a c k f r o m t h e c a r so
the bullet has a c h a n c e to gain s o m e stability before
Bullets do penetrate walls. A suspect it i m p a c t s . In o n e C a l i f o r n i a i n c i d e n t , a n o f f i c e r
being hunted on a felony charge heard fired 9 m m r o u n d s f r o m a s e m i - a u t o m a t i c at a s u s -
an officer walk into his bathroom during pect sitting in a Ford P i n t o . Eight b u l l e t s w e n t
the search. Once the officer's presence through t h e t r u n k lid, the b a c k seat, t h e front seat,
was revealed the suspect shot through i n t o the suspect and out again. (Where car doors
the wall from another room and killed
are c o n c e r n e d , t h e c h a n c e s of p e n e t r a t i o n are g r e a t -
a target he didn't need to see.
e s t if y o u s h o o t s t r a i g h t o n . E v e n a s h a l l o w l y a n g l e d
s h o t is l i k e l i e r t o r i c o c h e t off t h e m e t a l . If t h e w i n -
d o w is d o w n , t h a t ' s a n o t h e r f a c t o r h a m p e r i n g p e n e -
tration. Cold weather m a y be, too; ice on the metal
would tend to heighten the ricochet effect.)

S o m e t i m e s f i r i n g t h r o u g h c o v e r is t h e s u r e s t
w a y of i n c a p a c i t a t i n g y o u r a s s a i l a n t . If h e ' s s h o o t i n g
at y o u f r o m a w i n d o w , for e x a m p l e , y o u m a y h a v e
a tough t i m e c a t c h i n g h i m in t h e opening. B u t w i t h
a w o o d or s t u c c o b u i l d i n g y o u c o u l d p o s s i b l y fire
t h r o u g h t h e w a l l t o e i t h e r s i d e of t h e w i n d o w or
b e l o w it a n d h i t h i m w h i l e h e ' s s t a n d i n g or c r o u c h -
ing t h e r e b e t w e e n s h o t s .
In a s i t u a t i o n l i k e t h i s , i n c i d e n t a l l y , y o u r first
s h o t s h o u l d p r o b a b l y b e t o t h e r i g h t - h a n d w a l l as
y o u f a c e t h e w i n d o w . If t h e s u s p e c t is r i g h t - h a n d e d ,
as 9 0 per c e n t of t h e p o p u l a t i o n i s , t h a t ' s w h e r e h e ' s
likeliest to stand.
O N E C A U T I O N : s h o o t i n g t h r o u g h c o v e r is
r i s k y . M a n y d e p a r t m e n t s d i s c o u r a g e it. It s h o u l d
b e a t t e m p t e d only w h e n y o u a r e 1 0 0 p e r c e n t certain
of t h e s u s p e c t ' s i d e n t i t y . . . c e r t a i n of h i s e x a c t l o c a -
t i o n . . . a n d c e r t a i n t h e r e is no one else w i t h h i m

184
behind his barricade w h o m i g h t be struck by your
bullets. Y o u should also consider w h a t m i g h t hap-
p e n if y o u r r o u n d s s h o u l d d e f l e c t f r o m t h e c o v e r
a n d r i c o c h e t t o o t h e r l o c a t i o n s . If y o u i g n o r e t h e s e
p r o v i s o s a n d s h o o t j u s t b e c a u s e y o u can, y o u m a y
end up w i t h a tragedyand facing an i n d i c t m e n t
i n s t e a d of a d e a d a s s a i l a n t .
T h e p o t e n t i a l f o r m i s c a l c u l a t i o n is m e m o r a b l y
illustrated by a case in t h e m i d w e s t w h e r e officers
a r r i v e d o u t s i d e a n a p a r t m e n t i n r e s p o n s e t o a dis-
turbance call. T h r o u g h the door they could hear
loud sounds like a w o m a n being tortured. T h e y
ordered the door opened. N o response. T h e n they
t r i e d t o k i c k it i n , b u t it f e l t as if s o m e o n e o n t h e
o t h e r s i d e w a s h o l d i n g it s h u t . T h e s o u n d s g r e w
l o u d e r a n d m o r e a n g u i s h e d . In f r u s t r a t i o n a n d c o n -
c e r n for t h e v i c t i m , o n e officer s h o t t h r o u g h t h e
door. Later, t h e y discovered the noises were being

i*X*l*X'l*X*I'.'.*.*.*.*.*.*.'.*.'.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*********i'i*t***'t*t*3

If it's completely safe to penetrate the


armed suspect's cover, shoot at the
surface most likely to contain the
largest part of the suspect's body.

186
m a d e b y p e o p l e in t h e a p a r t m e n t " t r y i n g t o i m i t a t e
d i s c o s o u n d s . " T h e r e was n o c r i m e - i n - p r o g r e s s .
Fortunately, the penetrating bullet failed to hit
a n y t h i n g b u t t h e f l o o r o n t h e o t h e r s i d e of t h e d o o r .
P e n e t r a t i o n p o w e r , i n c i d e n t a l l y , is o n e of t h o s e
two-way streets that an astute suspect will try to
m a k e u s e of, as w e l l as y o u . M a k i n g s u r e h e c a n ' t ,
of c o u r s e , is y o u r p r i m e c o n s i d e r a t i o n i n s e l e c t i n g
your cover.

"Blowing" Cover

O n c e y o u h a v e g o o d c o v e r , maintain it. D o n ' t


" b l o w i t " and s a c r i f i c e y o u r s a f e t y b e c a u s e y o u :
w a n t to reach your radio. S o m e officers have
b e e n k i l l e d b e c a u s e t h e y left g o o d c o v e r u n d e r
fire a n d t r i e d t o r u n t o t h e i r p a t r o l c a r s . T h e y
w o u l d h a v e b e e n b e t t e r off r u n n i n g a w a y f r o m
the car and using s o m e o n e ' s telephone to call
for h e l p .
w a n t t o h e l p a f e l l o w o f f i c e r w h o h a s b e e n in-
j u r e d . If y o u are s h o t i n t h e p r o c e s s of t r y i n g t o
get h i m t o s a f e t y , y o u o n l y c o m p l i c a t e t h e s i t u a -
tion. It's a natural i m p u l s e to w a n t to help, but
t h e r e ' s a good possibility that s i n c e h e ' s down,
h e w i l l n o t b e fired o n a g a i n . W a i t .
w a n t t o get t h e a c t i o n o v e r w i t h . A s o b e r i n g
e x a m p l e of h o w i m p a t i e n c e d e f e a t s s u r v i v a l pro-
c e d u r e s is f o u n d in a c a s e w h e r e t w o h e a v i l y
a r m e d e x - c o n v i c t s , r e c e n t l y p a r o l e d as " r e h a b i l i -
t a t e d , " w e r e surprised by police w h i l e robbing
a neighborhood supermarket. Realizing the
m a r k e t was surrounded by officers, the bandits
took cover by running upstairs to the m a n a g e r ' s
office. For the next 2 0 m i n u t e s , the sergeant in
c o m m a n d called on the two to surrender, but
t h e y did n o t r e s p o n d . S u d d e n l y , a p a t r o l m a n
left the protected position w h e r e he had been
waiting and started up t h e stairs, revolver in
hand. T h e sergeant ordered h i m b a c k behind
cover, but he muttered, " T h o s e bastards don't
s c a r e m e a n y . L e t ' s get t h i s o v e r w i t h . " H e w a s
six steps from the top w h e n s i m u l t a n e o u s blasts
from t w o sawed-off shotguns reverberated from
the manager's office. His fellow officers below
w a t c h e d i n h o r r o r a n d d i s b e l i e f as h i s b o d y
tumbled backward down the stairs, his head
blown almost entirely away.
SHOOTING
TECHNIQUES

A p a t r o l m a n h a d j u s t g o t t e n off d u t y a n d w a s
walking to his car parked on a shadowy Chicago
side street, w h e n a m a n driving by suddenly s l a m m e d
t o a s t o p . T h e s t r a n g e r g o t o u t of h i s c a r a n d for n o
k n o w n r e a s o n fired at t h e o f f i c e r w i t h a n i c k e l -
plated revolver. Good cover was too distant to
r e a c h . . . t h e assailant was only 10 feet away; the
officer had little c h o i c e but to shoot b a c k in t h e
m o s t effective way he could. He drew his revolver
a n d fired f o u r s h o t s at t h e s u s p e c t , k i l l i n g h i m o n
the spot.
T h e m e t h o d h e u s e d is w h a t w e ' v e r e f e r r e d t o
p r e v i o u s l y as " i n s t i n c t s h o o t i n g . " T h i s t e c h n i q u e
allows you to get on target fast and to conclude the
c o n f r o n t a t i o n as r a p i d l y a n d e f f e c t i v e l y as p o s s i b l e .
W i t h o u t doubt, it's the m o s t efficient m e a n s today
of f i r i n g at m o s t a s s a i l a n t s i n m o s t l a w e n f o r c e m e n t
situations.
I n s t i n c t s h o o t i n g is a n a d a p t a t i o n of a t a c t i c
developed by A m e r i c a n soldiers in V i e t n a m to deal
w i t h a n e n e m y w h o f r e q u e n t l y s u r p r i s e d t h e m at
close quarters in areas w i t h little available cover.
B e c a u s e suspects c o m m o n l y confront officers under
just t h o s e c i r c u m s t a n c e s , i t ' s ideal for u s e in law
e n f o r c e m e n t . B a s i c a l l y , it i n v o l v e s t a k i n g a i m at
y o u r t a r g e t b y pointing youi gun as you would point
your index finger, at t h e s p o t y o u w a n t t o h i t . It
a l l o w s a n i d e a l b a l a n c e of s p e e d a n d a c c u r a c y a n d
p o w e r t h e triple header that w i n s g u n f i g h t s
w i t h o u t using the conventional sight picture proce-
d u r e . It c a n h e l p y o u g e t t h e edge w h e n e v e r y t h i n g
s e e m s to be against you: poor lighting, irregular
terrain, an obstructed view, t h e cover and m o v e -
m e n t of y o u r a d v e r s a r y n o t t o m e n t i o n t h e t r e m e n -
dous physical and e m o t i o n a l stress that sledge
h a m m e r s you from the m o m e n t you perceive
d a n g e r . I n s t i n c t s h o o t i n g is s i m p l e . . . e a s y t o l e a r n . . .
c a n be u s e d b e h i n d c o v e r as w e l l as i n t h e o p e n . . . a n d
is v e r s a t i l e e n o u g h t o s e r v e y o u i n a v a r i e t y of
p o s i t i o n s , i n c l u d i n g , as w e ' v e m e n t i o n e d p r e -
v i o u s l y , k n e e l i n g and f a l l i n g d o w n .
Ironically, the principle behind this technique
is u n c o n s c i o u s l y e m p l o y e d b y m o s t s u s p e c t s . T h e y
r a r e l y h a v e i l l u s i o n s of b e i n g t r a i n e d m a r k s m e n ;
t h e y j u s t p o i n t t h e i r g u n s a n d p u l l t h e trigger. J o h n
W i l k e s B o o t h did t h a t a g a i n s t L i n c o l n . . . J a c k R u b y
against O s w a l d . . . c o u n t l e s s n a m e l e s s , faceless as-
s a i l a n t s o v e r t h e y e a r s h a v e d o n e it a g a i n s t c o u n t -
l e s s o f f i c e r s . . .and t h e b a d g u y w h o t a k e s you o n w i l l
p r o b a b l y do it a g a i n s t y o u .
H i s v e r s i o n of i n s t i n c t s h o o t i n g , h o w e v e r , i s
likely to be a relatively crude, one-handed form that Sept. 29, 1978. Female suspect shoots
d e p e n d s m o s t l y o n s u d d e n n e s s a n d s u r p r i s e for into unoccupied patrol car in the start
of a siege which involved an exchange
s u c c e s s . W h a t y o u c a n p e r f e c t is a p o l i s h e d pro-
of 15 shots. Note the one-hand hold
c e d u r e t h a t is e q u a l l y f a s t b u t a l s o is d e s i g n e d w i t h
and close distance factor similar to
specific survival needs in m i n d . Booth's.

April 14, 1865. Booth's shooting tech-


nique conformed amazingly with
today's patterns of encounter.
K n o w i n g h o w t o s h o o t , of c o u r s e , is o n l y part
of t h e p r e s c r i p t i o n f o r s u c c e s s f u l l y r e s o l v i n g a n
a r m e d e n c o u n t e r and probably t h e last c o m p o n e n t .
A m o n g other things, you m u s t also be proficient at:
properly identifying your target...dealing w i t h m o r e
t h a n o n e assailant in a single episode...and coping
w i t h unpredictable reactions by yourself and by the
s u s p e c t if h i t . In a d d i t i o n , y o u n e e d t o u n d e r s t a n d
c l e a r l y w h e n t h e r i s k of s h o o t i n g is g r e a t e r t h a n t h e
p r o b a b l e b e n e f i t a n d b e a b l e t o a v o i d f i r i n g in t h o s e
situations.
T h a t ' s a l o t t o c o o r d i n a t e i n a m a t t e r of a f e w
seconds, when you're ducking bullets some suspect
h a s d e c i d e d h a v e y o u r n a m e o n t h e m . It d e m a n d s a
k e e n l e v e l of m e n t a l a n d p h y s i c a l c o n d i t i o n i n g .
W h a t follows w i l l help you achieve it.
Bear in m i n d that any shooting we discuss here
is a s s u m e d t o b e l e g a l l y j u s t i f i e d . W e ' r e n o t c o n -
c e r n e d w i t h e v a l u a t i n g whether you should shoot,
o n l y w i t h the methods y o u c a n b e s t e m p l o y if
s h o o t i n g is d e m a n d e d .

Instinct Shooting Position


In a typical shooting, your assailant will fire
first. H e ' l l be standing still or m o v i n g toward you.
And h e ' l l be so close you'll have little choice but
t o s h o o t b a c k i m m e d i a t e l y , i n a n e f f o r t t o p u t him
on the defensive and perhaps allow y o u a c h a n c e to
m o v e t o c o v e r . S o l o n g as y o u s u b j e c t h i m t o e f f e c -
tive fire, his s h o t s are l i k e l y to be i n e f f e c t i v e . In
m i l i t a r y p a r l a n c e , t h i s is c a l l e d e s t a b l i s h i n g a n d
Under pressure, you will revert to m a i n t a i n i n g fire superiority.
whatever position you have practiced.
Y o u d o n ' t have to be an " e x p e r t " shooter, in
t h e u s u a l target p r a c t i c e s e n s e . B u t y o u do h a v e t o
h a v e g o o d e y e - a n d - h a n d c o o r d i n a t i o n a n d be a b l e
to position yourself correctly and bring your gun
into action q u i c k l y and properly, w i t h o u t c o n s c i o u s
a t t e n t i o n t o t h e m e c h a n i s m s of f i r i n g .

If y o u ' v e t r a i n e d c o r r e c t l y , t h e n e c e s s a r y m e c h -
anisms will c o m e instinctively w h e n you're faced
with a crisis situation. O n the other hand, crack
target s h o o t e r s w h o h a v e n o t r o u b l e h i t t i n g a s t a -
t i o n a r y target 2 0 y a r d s a w a y b u t w h o h a v e n o t
t r a i n e d for i n s t i n c t s h o o t i n g m a y n o t h i t a m o v i n g ,
firing s u s p e c t o n l y 6 f e e t a w a y . A c a s e i n p o i n t
o c c u r r e d in a n e a s t e r n c i t y w h e n a s u s p e c t g r a b b e d
a c l e a n i n g w o m a n in t h e f e d e r a l c o u r t h o u s e , p u t a
g u n to h e r h e a d a n d d e m a n d e d t o s e e a b a n k r u p t c y
referee. During the negotiations that subsequently
d e v e l o p e d , a p l a i n c l o t h e s p o l i c e m a n p o s i n g as a
l a w y e r w a s a b l e t o get c l o s e t o t h e g u n m a n . T h e
o f f i c e r w a s a r m e d w i t h a s n u b - n o s e r e v o l v e r in a
c o n c e a l e d a n k l e h o l s t e r a n d w a s r a t e d as a n e x c e l -
l e n t target s h o o t e r . At t h e r i g h t m o m e n t , t h e o f f i c e r
drew h i s r e v o l v e r a n d s t a r t e d s h o o t i n g . T h e s u s p e c t
was less than 5 feet a w a y l i t t l e m o r e t h a n an
a r m ' s r e a c h . Y e t w h e n t h e o f f i c e r fired, h e missed
t h e s u s p e c t f o u r t i m e s o u t of f i v e .

F r o m a n a l y z i n g r e p o r t s of officer-involved
shootings, it's obvious that m a n y officers in high-
stress situations tend to hold their guns w i t h one
h a n d a n d s h o o t o n e r o u n d . T h i s is b e c a u s e under
stress t h e y fall b a c k o n w h a t t h e y k n o w b e s t b a s i c
a c a d e m y range training, w h i c h usually e m p h a s i z e s a
o n e - h a n d grip for firing o n e s h o t at a t i m e .
Occasionally, one-handed shooting m a y be
necessary; y o u m a y be w o u n d e d in t h e o t h e r hand,
or y o u m a y b e h o l d i n g y o u r g u n i n o n e h a n d w h i l e
c r a w l i n g t h r o u g h a w i n d o w o r u p a fire e s c a p e , for
e x a m p l e . U s u a l l y , h o w e v e r , your preferred option
is t h e b e t t e r - c o n t r o l l e d t w o - h a n d e d s h o o t i n g , f i r i n g
m u l t i p l e s h o t s in rapid s u c c e s s i o n . T h i s gives y o u
t h e b e s t c h a n c e of e f f e c t i v e l y s t o p p i n g a s u s p e c t w h o
is t h r e a t e n i n g y o u r l i f e or s o m e o n e e l s e ' s .
D R A W : If y o u ' v e a n t i c i p a t e d d a n g e r , y o u ' l l
already h a v e your gun u n h o l s t e r e d and in t h e firing
p o s i t i o n ( n o t at y o u r side) w h e n y o u n e e d t o s h o o t .
If n o t , y o u b e g i n m o v i n g i n t o t h e i n s t i n c t s h o o t i n g
p o s i t i o n as y o u d r a w .
M o s t o f f i c e r s ' d r a w c o n s i s t s of a s e r i e s of j e r k s :
the hand c o m e s up, the hand c o m e s down, the gun
goes up, t h e gun goes o u t . T h i s b a c k and forth se-
q u e n c e is i n e f f i c i e n t . F o r g o o d i n s t i n c t s h o o t i n g ,
your draw should be one continuous motion, with
smoothness more important than an attempt at
speed alone. Y o u w a n t to bring your gun out to the
s a m e place w i t h the s a m e fluid m a n e u v e r every
t i m e y o u w i t h d r a w it f r o m y o u r h o l s t e r . A s y o u
d r a w , y o u r h a n d s h o u l d b e p o s i t i o n e d for t h e proper
s h o o t i n g grip s o t h a t y o u do n o t h a v e t o r e a d j u s t it
once the gun clears leather. T h i s helps enhance
y o u r a c c u r a c y . W i t h t h e d r a w , as w i t h o t h e r i n s t i n c t
s h o o t i n g c o m p o n e n t s , s p e e d is f i n e ; a c c u r a c y is
f i n a l . Y o u r a d v e r s a r y m u s t b e hit t o b e i n c a p a c i -
t a t e d ; t h e m e r e n o i s e of y o u r f i r e a r m g o i n g off
w o n ' t do i t .
T o d r a w , grasp t h e s t o c k of y o u r g u n f i r m l y ,
w i t h y o u r s h o o t i n g h a n d h i g h o n t h e grip p a n e l s .
Y o u r t h u m b a n d f i n g e r s s h o u l d b e i n p o s i t i o n for
s h o o t i n g e x c e p t for y o u r t r i g g e r f i n g e r . K e e p t h i s
f i n g e r e x t e n d e d o u t s i d e t h e h o l s t e r at f i r s t , p a r a l l e l
t o t h e b a r r e l , a n d a l l o w it t o f a l l a l o n g s i d e t h e f r a m e
a b o v e t h e trigger as y o u w i t h d r a w t h e g u n . T h i s
will prevent an accidental discharge. D r a w from
your wrist and a r m . Bring t h e m u z z l e up so t h e
b a r r e l b e c o m e s p a r a l l e l t o t h e g r o u n d as y o u e x t e n d
your shooting arm toward the suspect. Simulta-
neously, y o u swing your other a r m up so your hands
c o m e t o g e t h e r i n a s u p p o r t e d grip, j u s t as y o u r g u n
enters your peripheral vision.
T h e s e m o v e m e n t s s h o u l d b e fast a n d forceful,
t a k i n g a b o u t 1 t o 1.5 s e c o n d s w i t h p r a c t i c e a n d
c u l m i n a t i n g i n y o u r h a n d s a n d a r m s punching the
g u n o u t at y o u r t a r g e t , m u c h as y o u ' d t h r o w a l o w
p u n c h t o h i s b o d y . You don't look down at the gun
as you draw a n y m o r e t h a n y o u ' d l o o k at y o u r h a n d
Draw your sidearm before your approach i f v o
i n t e n d e d t o j a b h i m or s h i n e y o u r f l a s h l i g h t
u

to danger. Upon contact with your o n h i m . Concentrate on the suspect. For safety,
sidearm, your hand and fingers should e v e n if y o u i n t e n d t o f i r e i m m e d i a t e l y , y o u r f i n g e r
be positioned for the proper shooting grip. s h o u l d s t a y o u t s i d e t h e trigger g u a r d u n t i l y o u r g u n

194
h a s c l e a r e d t h e h o l s t e r a n d t h e m u z z l e is p o i n t i n g
f o r w a r d , c l e a r of y o u r b o d y .
G R I P : In a shoot-out, you'll be so scared you
can taste it. Y o u r heart and lungs will k i c k i n t o high
gear...your brain will race furiously...adrenalin
surge i n t o y o u r b l o o d s t r e a m . . . y o u r m u s c l e s p o s s i b l y
t r e m o r . U n l e s s y o u r grip s t e a d i e s a n d s t r e n g t h e n s
your shooting hand, your accuracy m a y be seriously
affected.

High angle view of one of the accepted


grip positions for instinct shooting.

The recommended grip for a semi-auto-


matic is with the thumb of the weak hand
alongside the thumb of the strong hand
(left photo). Otherwise, with the tradi-
tional placement of the weak-hand thumb
(right photo) the slide may scrape your
skin as it moves back in firing.

195
For the r e c o m m e n d e d , t w o - h a n d c o m b a t hold,
y o u r s u p p o r t h a n d c o m e s u p u n d e r or a l o n g s i d e y o u r
s h o o t i n g h a n d as y o u m o v e y o u r g u n o n t a r g e t .
T h e r e are s e v e r a l o p t i o n s for h o w y o u r h a n d s a r e
u l t i m a t e l y p o s i t i o n e d . Y o u m a y : 1) s o l i d l y l o c k t h e
l i t t l e f i n g e r of y o u r s h o o t i n g h a n d b e t w e e n t h e f i r s t
t w o f i n g e r s of y o u r s u p p o r t h a n d ; 2) w r a p y o u r s u p -
port hand around the middle, ring and s m a l l fingers
of y o u r g u n h a n d , or 3) c u p t h e p a l m of y o u r s u p p o r t
h a n d u n d e r t h e b u t t of y o u r s i d e a r m a n d c r o s s t h e
f i n g e r s of y o u r s u p p o r t h a n d o v e r t h o s e of y o u r g u n
h a n d . In e a c h c a s e , t h e t h u m b of y o u r s u p p o r t h a n d
e i t h e r o v e r l a p s t h a t of y o u r s h o o t i n g h a n d , or b o t h
t h u m b s l i e a l o n g t h e l e f t side of y o u r s i d e a r m (as-
s u m i n g you are right-handed). Y o u r s h o o t i n g hand
s h o u l d b e h i g h o n t h e b a c k - s t r a p of y o u r g u n , a n d
your support hand should e n c o m p a s s and reinforce
as m u c h of y o u r s h o o t i n g h a n d as p o s s i b l e . B y t h e
t i m e y o u r h a n d s are l o c k e d t o g e t h e r i n f i n a l p o s i -
t i o n , y o u s h o u l d b e r e a d y t o s h o o t . T h i s grip w o r k s
b o t h as a b r a c e a n d a b e n c h for y o u r g u n a n d a l l o w s
y o u t o m o v e it i n a n y d i r e c t i o n . M o r e o v e r , w i t h
p r a c t i c e , it is n o s l o w e r a n d m u c h m o r e s t a b l e
than one-handed shooting.
Y o u want to keep a firm hold on your gun, but
The proper tactic for shooting one-
don't clutch it. C l u t c h i n g can m a k e your hands
handed when your gun-hand has been
disabled. s h a k e , d e s t r o y i n g t h e p u r p o s e of t h i s " l a y e r e d " grip.
A l s o , if y o u a r e u s i n g a s e m i - a u t o m a t i c , b e s u r e y o u r
hands are positioned so that t h e slide c a n c o m e b a c k
w h e n y o u shoot w i t h o u t eating up t h e skin on your
t h u m b ) s ) or k n u c k l e s .
If f o r s o m e r e a s o n y o u m u s t s h o o t o n e - h a n d e d
say y o u ' v e b e e n w o u n d e d in t h e o t h e r y o u c a n still
m a k e your non-shooting arm useful by positioning
it t o p r o v i d e s u p p o r t , e v e n if y o u c a n ' t u s e t h a t
hand for gripping. Y o u hold t h e a r m taut and place
it u n d e r y o u r s h o o t i n g a r m at t h e w r i s t . T h i s pro-
v i d e s s o m e t h i n g of a b e n c h r e s t for y o u r s h o o t i n g
hand while firing.
STANCE: Y o u r grip s h o u l d b e p a r t of a s o l i d ,
f i r m s t a n c e t h a t l e t s y o u r w h o l e b o d y w o r k at
keeping your gun steady so y o u c a n c o n c e n t r a t e
fully on m a k i n g your shots c o u n t . T w o basic posi-
t i o n s are s u i t a b l e for i n s t i n c t s h o o t i n g . B y experi-
m e n t i n g in y o u r p r a c t i c e s e s s i o n s y o u c a n l e a r n
w h i c h is m o r e c o m f o r t a b l e a n d e f f e c t i v e f o r y o u .
Rather than just planting your feet and facing down-
range, try these positions extensively on surprise
t a r g e t s at d i f f e r e n t a n g l e s a n d d i s t a n c e s t o g e t t h e
feel for h o w t h e y ' l l w o r k in a real c o n f r o n t a t i o n .
For our purposes here, we'll describe each
s t a n c e as i t ' s a s s u m e d if y o u are c a u g h t i n t h e o p e n
in a gunfight. W i t h appropriate m o d i f i c a t i o n , e a c h
c a n b e a d a p t e d for u s e b e h i n d c o v e r , w h e r e y o u
n e e d t o c o n f o r m t o t h e s h a p e of y o u r b a r r i c a d e .

196
T h e m o r e c o m m o n l y t a u g h t s t a n c e is t h e i s o s -
c e l e s or c o m b a t s t a n c e p o s i t i o n , s o c a l l e d b e c a u s e
y o u r a r m s are e x t e n d e d a w a y f r o m y o u r c h e s t l i k e
t w o e q u a l sides of a t r i a n g l e . A s y o u r g u n c o m e s o u t
and u p , y o u f a c e t h e s u s p e c t s q u a r e l y , a n d if y o u ' r e
right-handed, you m o v e your left foot straight out
t o t h e l e f t s o y o u r legs a r e i n a s o l i d , b r a c e d p o s i t i o n
and y o u h a v e m a x i m u m m o b i l i t y i n a n y d i r e c t i o n ,
should y o u w a n t to m o v e to cover, engage a second
opponent, etc. Bend your torso slightly forward from
the hips and flex your k n e e s to a s s u m e a c r o u c h
s i m i l a r t o t h a t of a b a s e b a l l i n f i e l d e r .
A s y o u r a r m s m o v e u p for t h e s u p p o r t e d grip,
y o u t h r u s t y o u r h a n d s o u t at t h e m i d l i n e of y o u r
body, straight out f r o m your c h e s t . N e i t h e r a r m
d o m i n a t e s ; in the final on-target position, b o t h
are p o i n t e d s t r a i g h t t o w a r d y o u r a s s a i l a n t . Y o u r
w r i s t s , e l b o w s a n d s h o u l d e r s are f i r m l y l o c k e d ,
w i t h t h e m u z z l e of y o u r g u n at or j u s t s l i g h t l y b e l o w
e y e l e v e l . In e f f e c t , y o u r g u n b e c o m e s a n e x t e n s i o n
of y o u r a r m s a n d f i n g e r s . R e m e m b e r , straight arms
help to shoot straight. Also, they carry the recoil
back into your shoulders to help reduce the shock
t o y o u r h a n d s a n d k e e p y o u f r o m " b o u n c i n g " off
target w h e n y o u f i r e .

The proper isosceles stance for instinct


shooting involves locking your wrists
and elbows with your torso bent slightly
forward. Your arms will absorb the
recoil and prevent you from pulling
off target.

197
S o m e theorists claim that crouching, except
behind a low barricade, lessens accuracy and slows
you down. But knowledgeable shooting veterans
understand that this m o v e m e n t lets you get your
gun up and " o n " quicker. B o t h your sidearm and
y o u r e y e s are at a b o u t t h e c h e s t l e v e l of t h e s u s p e c t ,
w h i c h s h o u l d h e l p y o u r a i m . A l s o , t h e c r o u c h pro-
vides better balance. Real-life shoot-outs often
u n f o l d in i c y a l l e y w a y s or o n t e n e m e n t s t a i r c a s e s ,
a n d o n t h e s e u n e v e n s u r f a c e s y o u ' l l n e e d all t h e
balance benefits you can get. By getting low, the
c r o u c h m a k e s y o u a s m a l l e r target and capitalizes on
Forming the isosceles stance can be the fact that m a n y suspects tend to shoot high w i t h
thought of as a logical extention of the a handgun, especially w h e n the shoot-out takes
one-handhold. The one-hand hold place in d i m light.
T h e o t h e r b a s i c i n s t i n c t s h o o t i n g p o s i t i o n is t h e
W e a v e r s t a n c e , n a m e d for i t s C a l i f o r n i a i n v e n t o r .
Here you stand essentially erect w i t h your feet
s h o u l d e r - w i d t h apart, y o u r w e a k f o o t f o r w a r d so
t h a t y o u r b o d y is t u r n e d at a s l i g h t a n g l e t o t h e
s u s p e c t . Y o u r s h o o t i n g a r m is h e l d s t r a i g h t o u t at
s h o u l d e r l e v e l or f l e x e d j u s t a b i t . Y o u r w e a k a r m
p r o v i d e s a s u p p o r t i n g grip b u t is f l e x e d s h a r p l y at
the elbow, 3 0 to 45 degrees, depending on your b o n e
s t r u c t u r e . In e f f e c t , it is p o s i t i o n e d s i m i l a r t o a
weight lifter's w h e n curling a dumbbell. By pulling
b a c k at t h e grip w i t h y o u r s u p p o r t h a n d a n d s i m u l -
taneously pushing forward from the shoulder on your
strong side, y o u produce a certain i s o m e t r i c t e n s i o n
that helps steady your gun and reduce the recoil.

The Weaver stance involves positioning


your weak-hand at a different angle
Its p r o p o n e n t s argue that t h e W e a v e r s t a n c e
" t u r n s a handgun into a rifleshot from the strong
shoulder and braced from below by the weak arm
and h a n d . " Unfortunately, a handgun, being a tool
for c l o s e c o m b a t , n e v e r r e a l l y a p p r o x i m a t e s a r i f l e .
B u t t h e W e a v e r s t a n c e is e s p e c i a l l y s u i t a b l e for
accurate, fast shooting w h e n y o u ' r e using heavy
l o a d s or a h a r d - k i c k i n g s i d e a r m , b e c a u s e of t h e
shock-absorber effect created by the b e n t e l b o w and
push-pull pressure. T h i s pressure tends to hold the
f i r e a r m d o w n a n d i n p l a c e as it d i s c h a r g e s . U s i n g
this s t a n c e properly, s o m e shooters can control
e v e n a . 4 4 M a g n u m under very rapid fire.

However, the Weaver requires considerable


p r a c t i c e t o m a s t e r . T h e e x a c t a l i g n m e n t of b e n t
a r m s is s o m e t h i n g m a n y o f f i c e r s h a v e t o f u m b l e
for. In a f e w w o r d s , i t ' s n o t as n a t u r a l f o r m o s t
p e o p l e as t h e s t r a i g h t - o u t , l o c k e d - i n isosceles
s t a n c e , e s p e c i a l l y if y o u h a v e b e e n t a u g h t t o c r o u c h .
A s h o t g u n , as w e l l as y o u r h a n d g u n , c a n a l s o b e
q u i c k l y p o s i t i o n e d for i n s t i n c t s h o o t i n g . A g a i n , y o u
have several options.
In the traditional stance, you stand erect w i t h
feet apart, w e a k foot slightly forward and k n e e s
b e n t , s o m e w h a t l i k e a b o x e r , a n d s w i n g t h e g u n up
t o y o u r s t r o n g s h o u l d e r s o y o u r c h e e k is a g a i n s t t h e
s t o c k . Y o u r strong h a n d grasps t h e s t o c k just b e h i n d
t h e trigger guard; your w e a k h a n d h o l d s t h e shot-
g u n ' s fore-grip or s l i d e w i t h y o u r w e a k a r m b e n t at
t h e e l b o w . T h e w e a p o n is h e l d j u s t s l i g h t l y b e l o w
y o u r e y e l e v e l . T h e b a r r e l is t h e r e f o r e p o s i t i o n e d
i n y o u r p e r i p h e r a l v i s i o n as y o u k e e p y o u r p r i m a r y
vision fixed on the suspect. T h i s position has a
" b u s i n e s s " l o o k a b o u t it t h a t ' s p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y in-
t i m i d a t i n g , e s p e c i a l l y if y o u r a c k i n a r o u n d . I n t h e
v a s t m a j o r i t y of c a s e s i n w h i c h a s h o t g u n is u s e d ,
t h i s p s y c h o l o g i c a l i m p a c t s u f f i c e s ; a r o u n d is n e v e r
f i r e d . Y e t i n t h e e v e n t y o u do n e e d t o s h o o t , f i r i n g
f r o m t h e s h o u l d e r p o s i t i o n is l i k e l y t o g i v e y o u t h e
m o s t effective target acquisition.

In c a s e s w h e r e y o u d o n ' t h a v e t i m e t o b r i n g
t h e s h o t g u n to shoulder level, t h e r e are several
a l t e r n a t i v e i n s t i n c t - s h o o t i n g p o s i t i o n s , all of t h e m
keeping the gun lower.
T h e l o w e s t p o s i t i o n is w i t h t h e s i d e of t h e
s t o c k pressed firmly against your hip on your shoot-
ing s i d e . (Just p r e s s t h e s t o c k a g a i n s t y o u r s i d e a r m
if i t ' s i n t h e w a y . ) H e r e y o u b e n d s l i g h t l y f o w a r d
t o m a k e a s m a l l e r t a r g e t , g r a s p i n g t h e fore-grip w i t h
y o u r w e a k h a n d , a n d l o c k i n g t h e e l b o w of t h a t a r m
s t r a i g h t ; if it is b e n t , t h e r e c o i l w i l l c a u s e t h e b a r r e l
t o j u m p u p a n d t h r o w off y o u r a c c u r a c y . A l t h o u g h
this position m a y lessen the psychological impact
of a s u s p e c t l o o k i n g d i r e c t l y d o w n t h e b a r r e l of y o u r

200
s h o t g u n , i t ' s s t i l l a good o n e t o u s e f o r q u i c k r e -
s p o n s e and w h e n y o u are a d v a n c i n g o n a s u s p e c t .
Y o u can shoot a n e w round w i t h every step you
take w i t h a reasonably effective range.
Other low-level positions involve pressing the
shotgun stock firmly against your rib cage, about
half way b e t w e e n your hip and your armpit on your
shooting side. O r bring the s t o c k up i n t o your arm-
pit, so y o u r s t r o n g a r m c l a m p s it t i g h t l y i n t o y o u r
side.
After you rack a shotgun, consider extending
t h e i n d e x f i n g e r of y o u r s u p p o r t h a n d a l o n g t h e
o u t s i d e of t h e s l i d e , at t h e s u s p e c t . T h i s w i l l h e l p
guide your shots. T a k e care n o t to t o u c h t h e barrel,
though, b e c a u s e the m e t a l heats up from shooting
and c a n b u r n y o u .
AIM: With instinct shooting, you don't waste
t i m e t r y i n g t o l i n e u p a s i g h t p i c t u r e of t h e s u s p e c t .
W i t h t h e t o p of y o u r g u n at or s l i g h t l y b e l o w e y e
l e v e l , y o u r e y e s f u n c t i o n as y o u r s i g h t s , w h e t h e r
y o u a r e s h o o t i n g a h a n d g u n or a l o n g g u n .
Y o u a i m t h e g u n b y p o i n t i n g it, as y o u w o u l d
your finger or your flashlight. Y o u keep your eyes
f o c u s e d s t r a i g h t a h e a d , l o o k i n g o v e r t h e t o p of y o u r
gun. Y o u r eyes c o n c e n t r a t e on the suspect, not on
y o u r s i g h t s . If y o u a r e r e a d y t o s h o o t , r a t h e r t h a n
t r y i n g t o c o n c e n t r a t e o n h i s w h o l e b o d y , l o o k at
t h e c e n t e r of h i s c h e s t .
T h e t o p of y o u r g u n b a r r e l w i l l b e i n y o u r
p e r i p h e r a l v i s i o n a n d a s y o u l o o k a l o n g it at t h e a r e a
or b o d y m a s s y o u w a n t t o h i t , t h e m u z z l e w i l l t e n d
t o l i n e u p a c c o r d i n g l y , j u s t as t h e t i p of a p o i n t i n g
f i n g e r w o u l d . I n o t h e r w o r d s , your handsand
gunwill instinctively follow your eyes. Bullets
are v e r y dependable,- t h e y t e n d t o go w h e r e t h e y a r e
p o i n t e d . W h e n y o u s q u e e z e t h e trigger, t h e b u l l e t
should go w h e r e you are looking.
H i s t o r i c a l l y , getting a target in precise sight
a l i g n m e n t h a s b e e n e m p h a s i z e d for l o n g - r a n g e
s h o o t i n g w h e r e t h e r e ' s a desire for p i n p o i n t a c c u -
r a c y . B u t f o r t h e c l o s e - r a n g e f i r i n g of m o s t s t r e e t

In most cases, your adversary won't


give you the time to leisurely close
one eye and line up a sight picture.
Your primary vision must be on your
suspect, not your sights.

202
c o n f r o n t a t i o n s , c a r e f u l a l i g n m e n t is n o t n e e d e d .
I n d e e d , it m a y be a h a z a r d t o y o u r s u r v i v a l b e c a u s e
it w i l l d e l a y y o u in g e t t i n g off t h e f a s t e s t p o s s i b l e
shots.
Y o u c a n h i t j u s t as w e l l a n d m u c h f a s t e r w i t h
t h e a i m i n g p r o c e d u r e d e s c r i b e d a b o v e at d i s t a n c e s
of 7 y a r d s or l e s s . W i t h e x t e n s i v e p r a c t i c e y o u m a y
)e a b l e t o d e v e l o p p r o f i c i e n c y at 1 2 y a r d s or m o r e .
At n i g h t or in l o w l i g h t l e v e l c o n d i t i o n s , y o u
can still aim accurately with this procedure. An
officer depending on traditional sight a l i g n m e n t , on
t h e o t h e r h a n d , w o u l d be l o s t b e c a u s e w i t h i n s u f -
ficient i l l u m i n a t i o n he w o u l d n ' t be able even to see
lis sights. Painting the front sight w h i t e m a y help,
) u t i n s t i n c t a i m i n g is l i k e l y t o be m o r e r e l i a b l e . //
y o u can see o r point at your adversary, you can hit
him, w h e t h e r y o u r s i g h t s a r e v i s i b l e or n o t .
T h e s e c r e t , r e g a r d l e s s of l i g h t q u a l i t y , is t o
ceep y o u r e y e s " o u t t h e r e " t o g u i d e y o u r g u n . Don't
look down, d o n ' t b r i n g t h e b a r r e l of y o u r g u n u p t o o
l i g h . If y o u d o , y o u ' l l get h o o k e d i n t o t r y i n g t o f o r m
a sight p i c t u r e and l o s e y o u r edge. R e m e m b e r , draw-
ing and sighting to shoot takes over 2Vi times as
ong as drawing and shooting with the instinct
technique.

F I R I N G : Y o u r s h o t s s h o u l d a l w a y s b e fired
double-action because t h a t ' s faster and a natural
c o m p o n e n t of t h e i n s t i n c t p r o c e d u r e . D o n ' t p u m p
or j e r k t h e trigger, b u t s q u e e z e it s m o o t h l y a n d
q u i c k l y . If y o u ' r e firing a r e v o l v e r , y o u r trigger
inger s h o u l d be p l a c e d so t h e trigger f a l l s b e t w e e n
t h e first and s e c o n d f i n g e r j o i n t s , t o a l l o w a d e q u a t e
everage for t h e c o c k i n g / f i r i n g m e c h a n i c s of a
double-action pull. T h e s a m e finger p l a c e m e n t
w o r k s b e s t for m o s t o f f i c e r s o n a s h o t g u n trigger.
W i t h a s e m i - a u t o m a t i c , you w a n t the fleshy portion
of y o u r f i r s t f i n g e r j o i n t d i r e c t l y o n t h e t r i g g e r . S o
you can anticipate the t i m e to reload, try to count
y o u r s h o t s or y o u r trigger p u l l s . If p o s s i b l e , y o u
w a n t t o a v o i d s h o o t i n g y o u r g u n dry.
If y o u ' r e s h o o t i n g w i t h a h a n d g u n a n d y o u r
s h o t s are h i t t i n g h i g h , l o w or w i d e , i t ' s m o s t l i k e l y
because y o u are a l l o w i n g y o u r w r i s t t o f l e x w h e n
i r i n g . . . b e c a u s e y o u are h o l d i n g t h e g u n w i t h a w e a k
g r i p . . . o r b e c a u s e y o u are e r r a t i c a l l y s n a p p i n g t h e
trigger. S o m e t i m e s , in a d d i t i o n t o b e i n g d a n g e r o u s ,
a very w i d e trigger or a g r o o v e d trigger w i l l a l s o
adversely affect a c c u r a c y .
With a shotgun, you m a y tend to shoot high
' r o m t h e h i p p o s i t i o n b e c a u s e y o u r h a n d c o m e s off
the s t o c k or y o u r a r m s b e n d w h e n y o u p u l l t h e
trigger, and t h i s a l l o w s t h e m u z z l e t o e l e v a t e . Y o u
; a n c o m p e n s a t e for t h i s b y a i m i n g for t h e s u s p e c t ' s
a b d o m i n a l area, if h e is at s o m e d i s t a n c e . B u c k s h o t
tends to rise and thus should hit his chest area w h e n
it i m p a c t s . If y o u a i m for h i s c h e s t , as y o u w o u l d
w i t h a handgun, your shots m a y go over his head.
A g a i n , p r a c t i c e s q u e e z i n g , n o t j e r k i n g , t h e trigger.
Perhaps the greatest i m p e d i m e n t to your shoot-
ing, u n l e s s y o u ' v e p r o p e r l y c o n d i t i o n e d y o u r s e l f for
survival, will be your o w n m e n t a l attitude. Shooting
at p e o p l e is d i f f e r e n t f r o m s h o o t i n g at p a p e r t a r g e t s .
Y o u m a y b a l k at d o i n g i t . B u t r e m e m b e r : a h u m a n -
i s t i c a t t i t u d e o n y o u r p a r t at t h e w r o n g t i m e c a n get
y o u , y o u r p a r t n e r or s o m e i n n o c e n t c i v i l i a n k i l l e d .
If y o u a r e l e g a l l y j u s t i f i e d i n s h o o t i n g (an o b v i o u s
p r e r e q u i s i t e ) , t h e n s h o o t . If y o u m u s t t a k e a l i f e t o
s a v e i n n o c e n t l i v e s , t h a t is s i m p l y p a r t of y o u r j o b .

Multiple Adversaries
When you're confronted with more than one
a s s a i l a n t a s h a p p e n s t o o f f i c e r s in at l e a s t 4 0 per
c e n t of a l l a r m e d e n c o u n t e r s y o u ' l l n e e d t o c o m -
bine instinct shooting with the u t m o s t expression
of m e n t a l d i s c i p l i n e . E x t r a o r d i n a r y d e m a n d s for
your physical and e m o t i o n a l a t t e n t i o n m a y c o m e
s i m u l t a n e o u s l y f r o m s e v e r a l s u s p e c t s , p l a c e d per-
h a p s at w i d e l y d i f f e r e n t a n g l e s , d i f f e r e n t r a n g e s
and/or different elevations. T h e y ' r e hard to deal
w i t h b e c a u s e y o u r d e p t h p e r c e p t i o n m a y b e ad-
versely affected by your e x c i t e m e n t and stress. Y e t
y o u m u s t f o r c e y o u r s e l f t o c o n c e n t r a t e o n o n e ad-
v e r s a r y at a t i m e , n o m a t t e r h o w b r i e f l y , a n d d e l i v e r
the m o s t destructive rounds you can to h i m before
c o n f r o n t i n g t h e n e x t . M u l t i p l e assailants are ex-
t r e m e l y d a n g e r o u s n o t o n l y b e c a u s e of t h e o b v i o u s
tacical problems handling t h e m presents, but be-
cause they tend to energize e a c h other. W h e r e one
m a n a l o n e m i g h t s u r r e n d e r , t w o or m o r e t o g e t h e r
m a y give one a n o t h e r the " b a l l s " to take you on,
and to k e e p shooting even after you shoot b a c k .

If c o n d i t i o n s p e r m i t , y o u w a n t t o fire f i r s t at
t h e s u s p e c t w h o p r e s e n t s t h e greatest or most
immediate danger to you. Usually, that m e a n s the
one w i t h the largest caliber g u n facing o n e assail-
;

ant w i t h a sawed-off shotgun and a n o t h e r w i t h a .38


S p e c i a l r e v o l v e r , for e x a m p l e , y o u ' r e p r o b a b l y b e s t
off t o t a k e y o u r c h a n c e s w i t h t h e . 3 8 w h i l e y o u try
first t o k n o c k o u t t h e s h o t g u n . S o m e t i m e s , t h o u g h ,
p r o x i m i t y b e c o m e s a factor; an assailant 2 feet
a w a y f r o m y o u w i t h a h u n t i n g k n i f e m a y b e of m o r e
i m m e d i a t e danger than a second assailant 2 0 yards
away with a handgun.
Y o u ' l l h a v e t o p r o c e s s t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n at c o m -
p u t e r s p e e d , or t h e p u r p o s e for s e l e c t i o n w i l l b e

204
n u l l i f i e d . T h e idea is t o d e c i d e f a s t a n d s h o o t .
Don't become encumbered with mental processes...
d o n ' t get " t a r g e t f i x a t i o n " o n t h e f i r s t g u n m a n a n d
block out his partner(s).
Besides deciding w h o m to shoot first, y o u ' l l
h a v e t o a s s e s s t h e c o n f r o n t a t i o n in t e r m s of h o w
m a n y shots to deliver before m o v i n g on to the n e x t
a s s a i l a n t . T o t h e degree p r a c t i c a l , y o u ' l l p r o b a b l y
w a n t t o spread y o u r r i s k . H i t t h e f i r s t s u s p e c t w i t h
a t w o - r o u n d b u r s t , t h e n e n g a g e t h e n e x t m o s t dan-
g e r o u s , t h e n t u r n b a c k t o t h e f i r s t if h e ' s s t i l l n o t
down.
If t h e r e is n o c o v e r a v a i l a b l e a n d y o u m u s t r e -
m a i n in t h e o p e n , try t o m o v e l i k e a g u n t u r r e t o n a
t a n k or b a t t l e s h i p w h e n y o u s h i f t y o u r f i r e a r m f r o m
o n e a s s a i l a n t t o t h e n e x t . Y o u are i n t h e i n s t i n c t i v e
s h o o t i n g c r o u c h , a r m s l o c k e d at t h e s h o u l d e r , e l b o w
and w r i s t . K e e p y o u r f e e t p l a n t e d as t h e y a r e , k n e e s
f l e x e d . N o w s w i v e l y o u r t o r s o , h e a d a n d a r m s as o n e
unit from your flexed knees. Y o u want to point your
w h o l e b o d y t r u n k at t h e n e x t s u s p e c t y o u ' r e g o i n g
shoot.
T h i s m e t h o d of m o v i n g m a i n t a i n s t h e e y e - g u n -
s h o u l d e r r e l a t i o n s h i p n e c e s s a r y for g o o d i n s t i n c t
s h o o t i n g . If y o u s w i n g y o u r a r m s f r e e l y r a t h e r t h a n
moving t h e m locked in place w i t h your upper body,
you risk swinging past your adversary and " o v e r -
s h o o t i n g " h i m , because your a r m s will be hard to
stop directly on target.
W i t h t h e " t u r r e t t r a v e r s e , " y o u c a n fire c o n -
trolled rounds w i t h i n a 180-degree arc w i t h speed
and a c c u r a c y , w i t h o u t m o v i n g y o u r f e e t . If y o u n e e d
o turn in a wider angle, pivot; keep your weight on
your strong-side foot and swing the o t h e r out and
a r o u n d y o u as y o u t u r n .
As in single-suspect c o n f r o n t a t i o n s , y o u ' l l w a n t
fire as m a n y of y o u r s h o t s as p o s s i b l e f r o m b e h i n d
o v e r . If y o u ' r e n o t t h e r e w h e n y o u f i r s t e n c o u n t e r
our m u l t i p l e a d v e r s a r i e s , m o v e t h e r e at y o u r first
pportunity. G o o d cover offers your b e s t i n s u r a n c e
g a i n s t i n j u r y or d e a t h , a n d it w i l l a l l o w y o u r m o r e
l m e for target s e l e c t i o n a n d for r e l o a d i n g , t o o , if
hat b e c o m e s necessary.
Don't make assumptions about the number of
dversaries you axe facing. T h o s e you see m a y not
e the only ones present, and the ones y o u don't
ee right a w a y m a y b e t h e m o s t d a n g e r o u s . A n off-
u t y o f f i c e r w a s w a l k i n g w i t h h i s g i r l f r i e n d in
ew Y o r k C i t y w h e n a civilian ran from a bank,
o u t i n g t h a t it w a s b e i n g r o b b e d . T h e o f f i c e r t o l d
is girl t o c a l l for h e l p . H e t h e n ran i n t o t h e b a n k ,
here he saw two m e n with guns. He identified
l m s e l f a n d o r d e r e d t h e m t o drop t h e i r w e a p o n s ,
n k n o w n to h i m , a third robber was standing be-

205
hind the b a n k ' s entrance. As the officer concen-
trated on the suspects he saw, the third one killed
h i m with one shot.

Center Mass

However m a n y adversaries you face, you don't


shoot to s c a r e . . . y o u d o n ' t shoot to w o u n d . . . y o u
d o n ' t s h o o t t o d i s a r m . Y o u s h o o t t o stop the action
of a t h r e a t b e i n g m a d e t o y o u r l i f e or s o m e o n e e l s e ' s .
Y o u w a n t t o get t h e s u s p e c t t o c e a s e h i s i l l e g a l
a t t a c k as q u i c k l y a n d e f f i c i e n t l y as p o s s i b l e .
W h e t h e r h e s u r v i v e s or d i e s f r o m y o u r r o u n d s is
not the consideration. Getting h i m stopped is.
S h o o t i n g at c e r t a i n p a r t s of h i s b o d y w i l l l i k e l y
a c c o m p l i s h this goal m o r e readily than shooting
at o t h e r a r e a s .
T h e area in w h i c h i m p a c t i n g b u l l e t s prove m o s t
devastating and i m m e d i a t e l y incapacitating is
shaped like the letter T . T h e crossbar, 2 to 3 inches
wide, extends across the forehead just above the
eyes. T h e vertical portion, about the same width,
r u n s d o w n t h e c e n t e r of t h e b o d y t o t h e l o w e r
s t o m a c h . In t h i s z o n e l i e t h e b r a i n . . . t h e m a j o r b l o o d
v e s s e l s . . . t h e s p i n e . . . a n d m o s t of t h e v i t a l o r g a n s
in s h o r t , t h e b o d y ' s l i f e - s u p p o r t s t r u c t u r e .
A h i t t o a s u s p e c t ' s h e a d is h i g h l y e f f e c t i v e .
A b u l l e t of a n y c a l i b e r t o t h e b r a i n w i l l u n d o u b t e d l y
produce the greatest and m o s t instantaneous inca-
pacitation. But the head constitutes a relatively small
target. Also, the suspect can easily and instinctively
m o v e it o u t of y o u r l i n e of f i r e b y b o b b i n g , d u c k i n g
or w e a v i n g if h e s e e s y o u r m u z z l e p o i n t i n g at it.
E v e n at r a n g e s as c l o s e as 3 f e e t , y o u ' l l l i k e l y m i s s
if y o u a i m for t h e h e a d .
S o m e t h e o r i s t s a r g u e t h a t t h e b e s t s p o t t o shooi
is t h e s u s p e c t ' s a b d o m i n a l c a v i t y , b e c a u s e slug;
punching into h i m there will cause h i m to " r e l a x '
and pitch forward. Practical experience indicate:
t h a t t h a t c o n c e p t d e f i n i t e l y is m o r e t h e o r e t i c a l t h a i
r e a l i s t i c . S h o o t i n g t o t h i s a r e a d o e s t h r e a t e n th<
b l a d d e r , t h e l o w e r i n t e s t i n e , s o m e i m p o r t a n t ar
teries and v e i n s and m a y also shatter the pelvis
B u t t h e s h o c k i n g a n d i n c a p a c i t a t i n g e f f e c t is l i k e h
t o be s l o w e r t h a n y o u c a n a f f o r d .
If y o u are u s i n g large c a l i b e r b u l l e t s , say ii
t h e .45 s e m i - a u t o m a t i c range, a w o u n d in a nonvita
a r e a may be fatal through a p h e n o m e n o n calle
" h y d r o s t a t i c s h o c k . " B e c a u s e t h e b o d y is c o m p o s e
l a r g e l y of w a t e r a n d b e c a u s e l i q u i d s a r e n o n c o m p r e .
s i b l e , t h e s h o c k of a h i g h - v e l o c i t y e n t r y b y a larg
bullet can be transmitted throughout the body, i
a w a v e of p r e s s u r e . T h i s m a y c a u s e w i d e s p r e a d
organ d a m a g e , d i s r u p t i o n of t h e n e r v o u s s y s t e m a n d
even death.
S t i l l , the best place to shoot foi maximum
stopping poweiis "center mass, " t h e p o r t i o n of t h e
T that crosses your assailant's chest area.

' J

The "T" zone, 2 to 3 inches wide, spans


above the eye brows and intersects in
the middle with an imaginary line
which extends to the navel.

207
Usually, hits to the center mass area
are the most devastating because they
penetrate vital organs and shatter bone
T h e sooner you are able to cause major inter-
ference w i t h a suspect's life-support structureby
directly puncturing vital organs, shattering bones
or b y i n d u c i n g p r o f u s e b l e e d i n g t h e q u i c k e r h e is
likely to collapse. T h i s will probably require m o r e
than one shot and m a y t a k e m a n y , depending in
part o n t h e e f f i c i e n c y of y o u r w e a p o n a n d a m m u n i -
tion.
S o m e o f f i c e r s m a k e t h e m i s t a k e of s h o o t i n g
o n c e a n d t h e n w a i t i n g t o s e e w h a t t h e r o u n d is g o i n g
t o d o . It m a y m i s s e n t i r e l y . S t a t i s t i c a l l y , m o s t
b u l l e t s fired i n g u n f i g h t s do j u s t t h a t . O r y o u r s h o t
m a y have freak c o n s e q u e n c e s . A N e w Y o r k officer
recalls firing on a s u s p e c t w h o tried to rob h i m after
duty early one morning. T h e y were no m o r e than
2 feet apart, and the officer a s s u m e d his bullet hit
t h e s u s p e c t ' s a b d o m e n and relaxed after shooting.
A c t u a l l y , it s t r u c k t h e c y l i n d e r of t h e r o b b e r ' s
r e v o l v e r , l e a v i n g h i m a b l e t o f l e e b e f o r e t h e be-
w i l d e r e d o f f i c e r c o u l d g e t off e f f e c t i v e f i r e . A n d even
if y o u r f i r s t s h o t h i t s , it m a y do l i t t l e m o r e than
just get the suspect's physical defense system
r e a c t i n g , e s p e c i a l l y if h e ' s h i g h o n drugs or i n s o m e
o t h e r a l t e r e d m e n t a l s t a t e . O f c o u r s e , y o u t r y tc
m a k e t h e f i r s t r o u n d c o u n t , b u t y o u s h o u l d not be
trying for t h e single, perfect s h o t . Instead, y o i
should be reacting, subconsciously, to this question
"How many rounds can I get into him before hi
kills me!" A s a minimum, i t ' s w i s e s t t o fire twc
s h o t s i n r a p i d s e q u e n c e ; t w o b u r s t s of t w o s h o t ;
each will deliver even m o r e incapacitation.

208
Unique series of photographs of a kid-
napper who barricaded himself in his
car with a hostage, then leaped out to
open fire on the police. Notice the
body's tendency to go back slightly,
then the upper torso moves forward as
the body falls to the ground. As these
moments were captured on film, the
offender was shot with multiple rounds
to the head and chest.
T h e u p p e r t o r s o is l i k e l y t o b e h i s b i g g e s t b o d y
region and t a k e longest for h i m t o m o v e , so a i m i n g
t h e r e o f f e r s y o u t h e b e s t c h a n c e of h i t t i n g a s w e l l
as i n c a p a c i t a t i n g h i m . Y o u w a n t t o l o o k d i r e c t l y at
t h e c e n t e r of h i s b o d y , at a b o u t a r m p i t l e v e l , h a l f w a y
between his breast nipples, where you w a n t the
bullets to hit. As they slam h o m e , he m a y m o v e
b a c k w a r d s i n r e a c t i o n t o t h e p a i n , t h r o w i n g h i m off
b a l a n c e for d e l i v e r i n g e f f e c t i v e r e t u r n f i r e . P e r h a p s
m o s t i m p o r t a n t , s h o t s to his c e n t e r m a s s are l i k e l y
to prove doubly devastating to his vital organs.
Going in, there's a good c h a n c e your bullets will
s h a t t e r o n e or m o r e b o n e s . S h a r p f r a g m e n t s of b o n e s
w i l l f l y o u t i n s i d e h i s b o d y at t h e s a m e v e l o c i t y
with which your bullets hit. T h i s internal "shrap-
n e l " will contribute to the impact and to the
s e v e r i t y of h i s w o u n d s a n d h i s r a p i d i n c a p a c i t a t i o n .

H o w e v e r m a n y s h o t s are n e c e s s a r y , y o u s h o u l d
keep shootingfast and a c c u r a t e l y u n t i l the sus-
p e c t c e a s e s b e i n g a t h r e a t . If h e ' s a r m e d a n d d e t e r -
m i n e d to shoot, every second h e ' s on his feet and
able to respond brings you closer to death. T r y to
c o u n t your s h o t s so y o u can a n t i c i p a t e t h e need to
r e l o a d , a n d m o v e b e h i n d c o v e r if y o u r a r e n o t
already there.

N o t e : If c e n t e r m a s s s h o t s h a v e n o e f f e c t o n
the suspect, he m a y be wearing body armor. M a n y
officers believe that bulletproof v e s t s can be sold
only t o l a w e n f o r c e m e n t personnel, but in fact n o
federal or state law prohibits t h e sale to a n y o n e
w i t h t h e m o n e y . U s e of b o d y a r m o r b y c r i m i n a l s
d a t e s b a c k t o t h e d a y s of J o h n D i l l i n g e r a n d B a b y -
Face Nelson. S o m e suspects today fashion their own
c h e s t p l a t e s o u t of f i b e r g l a s s b o a t r e p a i r k i t s ; o t h e r s
buy vests through military surplus stores. Where a
suspect appears armored, superior firepower m a y
s t i l l b r i n g h i m d o w n . In D e t r o i t , a g u n m a n w e a r i n g
b o d y a r m o r s h o t it o u t w i t h p o l i c e , w o u n d i n g o n e
officer. T h e suspect was finally killed by a volley
of . 3 0 c a l . c a r b i n e f i r e w h i c h p i e r c e d h i s h a n d g u n -
rated vest. W i t h c o n v e n t i o n a l weapons, consider
s h o o t i n g at t h e s u s p e c t ' s h e a d or, m o r e p r a c t i c a l l y ,
s h o o t i n g l o w . S h o t s at o r b e l o w t h e w a i s t c a n b e
f a t a l , as w i t n e s s e d b y t h e f a c t t h a t n e a r l y t e n per
c e n t of t h e o f f i c e r s k i l l e d i n a n a v e r a g e y e a r a r e s h o t
t h e r e . If n o t h i n g m o r e , y o u m a y b r e a k t h e s u s p e c t ' s
h i p s or p e l v i s or k n o c k h i s l e g s o u t f r o m u n d e r h i m .
In C a l i f o r n i a , a n a s s a i l a n t w h o k i l l e d t w o d e t e c t i v e s
with a .45 cal. s e m i - a u t o m a t i c carbine while he was
shielded by a bulletproof vest was finally cut down
by a sheriff's deputy w h o got i n t o position w h e r e
h e c o u l d fire at t h e s u s p e c t ' s b a c k . F r o m t h a t a n g l e ,
o n e b l a s t f r o m a s h o t g u n did t h e j o b .

210
Ricochet Shooting

In s o m e c a s e s , y o u m a y n o t h a v e t o f i r e d i r e c t l y
at a n a s s a i l a n t t o h i t h i m , b e c a u s e of t h e r i c o c h e t
or " b o u n c i n g b u l l e t " p h e n o m e n o n . A s w e ' v e s e e n
i n d i s c u s s i n g c o v e r , s l u g s c a n g l a n c e off h a r d s u r -
faces and cause serious injury. W h i l e y o u w a n t to
protect yourself from being w o u n d e d by s u c h fire,
i t ' s s o m e t h i n g y o u m a y be a b l e t o u s e t o y o u r a d v a n -
tage a g a i n s t a s u s p e c t . F o r e x a m p l e , r i c o c h e t i n g
y o u r s h o t s off a w a l l if h e ' s s h o o t i n g f r o m a d o o r w a y
f a r t h e r d o w n . . . o r off t h e p a v e m e n t u n d e r a c a r if
h e ' s b e h i n d i t . . . o r off a s i d e w a l k if y o u ' v e a l r e a d y
dropped h i m b u t h e ' s s t i l l f i r i n g at y o u f r o m a p r o n e
position m a y be the surest way to deliver bullets
that will finally stop the action.

Ricochet shooting woiks against any


hard surface. [ You are positioned on
the left. \

As you adjust your position while


maintaining cover, shoot to impact
the surface at less than a 45 angle.

The bullet will then flatten out and


travel between 1 and 8 inches off
the surface until impact with the
armed suspect.

211
I n e a c h of t h e s e c i r c u m s t a n c e s , t h e s u s p e c t i s
a difficult target. Y o u m a y be able to see only a
s m a l l p o r t i o n of h i m , l i k e h i s h e a d a n d s h o o t i n g a r m
s t i c k i n g o u t of t h e d o o r w a y or h i s l e g s u n d e r t h e
v e h i c l e . O r , if h e ' s c l o s e t o t h e g r o u n d or p r o n e d
out, his position m a y effectively m a k e his body
s m a l l e r . W i t h so little to a i m for, direct h i t s are
tough. R i c o c h e t shooting, for practical purposes,
e x p a n d s t h e t a r g e t . H i t t h e w a l l , t h e p a v e m e n t or
t h e s i d e w a l k at a n y p o i n t i n f r o n t of a n d i n l i n e
w i t h his body and t h e bouncing slugs will travel
t h e r e s t of t h e w a y t o h i m .
T h a t ' s b e c a u s e l e a d d e f l e c t s off a h a r d s u r f a c e
differently than does a rubber ball. A ball b o u n c e s
off at t h e s a m e a n g l e at w h i c h it i m p a c t s . B u t s l u g s
or b u c k s h o t t e n d t o f l a t t e n o u t f r o m t h e f o r c e of
h i t t i n g a n d t h e n fly i n a s l i g h t l y e r r a t i c m a n n e r at
a very low angle above the surface.
Y o u c a n s e e e v i d e n c e of t h i s at m o s t i n d o o r
f i r i n g r a n g e s . U s u a l l y as a b a c k s t o p t o t a r g e t s a r a n g e
u s e s h e a v y s t e e l a r m o r p l a t e , t i l t e d at a b o u t a 3 0 - t o
To deliver ricochet rounds, you use 60-degree angle. Bullets strike the plate and ricochet
the same instinct shooting grip.Notice d o w n i n t o s a n d or a b u l l e t t r a p . If y o u l o o k at t h e
the officer's position relative to cover. b o t t o m of t h e b a c k s t o p w h e r e t h e d e f l e c t e d r o u n d s
end up, you'll notice that they land close to the
s t e e l p l a t e . In o t h e r w o r d s , t h e i r a n g l e of d e f l e c t i o n
has b e e n very slight.
T h e s a m e h o l d s t r u e off h a r d s u r f a c e s l i k e y o u ' l l
encounter on the street. Occasionally, a f r e a k ' ' flyer''
behaves differently, b u t m o s t handgun bullets and
b u c k s h o t w i l l s k i m a l o n g f r o m t h e p o i n t of i n i t i a l
impact to w h e r e they finally c o n n e c t w i t h your
t a r g e t w i t h a d e f l e c t i o n of n o m o r e t h a n 1 t o 8 i n c h e s
off t h e s u r f a c e ( a s s u m i n g t h e r e ' s n o t s o m e d e f e c t
in the surface that interferes w i t h t h e flight). T h e
harder the surface, the less the deflection. B e c a u s e
t h e slug f l a t t e n s o u t , it t e n d s t o m a k e a m o r e d e v a s -
t a t i n g e n t r y w h e n it d o e s h i t t h e s u s p e c t , a l t h o u g h
it w i l l h a v e l o s t s o m e v e l o c i t y a f t e r i m p a c t i n g w i t h
the hard surface.
T o deliver ricochet rounds, you use the s a m e
i n s t i n c t s h o o t i n g grip a n d a i m t h a t y o u do f o r d i r e c t
shots. S o m e officers t h i n k t h e y get the best results
by a i m i n g for a spot o n t h e w a l l or ground about
t w o - t h i r d s of t h e w a y b e t w e e n t h e m a n d t h e a s s a i l -
a n t . H o w e v e r , t h e i d e a l a n g l e w i l l d e p e n d o n the
s u r f a c e a n d t h e t y p e a n d v e l o c i t y of t h e r o u n d s
you're using. Consequently, you'll want to practice
u s i n g y o u r g u n ( s ) a n d a m m u n i t i o n off a v a r i e t y of
surfaces to develop an approach t h a t ' s best for y o u .
F o r y o u r p r a c t i c e s e s s i o n s , y o u c a n u s e b a l l o o n s or
cardboard s i l h o u e t t e s to s i m u l a t e a r m e d suspects.

N o r m a l l y , w e t h i n k of r i c o c h e t s h o o t i n g w o r k -
ing off c o n c r e t e , a s p h a l t , b r i c k s o r o t h e r r o c k - h a r d ,

212
n o n p o r o u s s u r f a c e s . B u t it m a y a l s o w o r k off t u r f ,
flat p a c k e d s a n d , e v e n s t i l l w a t e r or i c e u n d e r c e r -
t a i n c o n d i t i o n s . T h e e f f e c t i v e r a n g e u s u a l l y is u p t o
2 5 yards or a b i t m o r e . If y o u t r y a n d b o u n c e b u l l e t s
into a suspect m u c h beyond that, results b e c o m e
e r r a t i c and t h e r i c o c h e t e f f e c t is of l i t t l e r e l i a b l e
value.
S o m e r a n g e m a s t e r s t h i n k r i c o c h e t s h o o t i n g is
o n l y a g i m m i c k . B u t a p p l i e d p r o p e r l y , it h a s a r e p u -
table place a m o n g your survival options. O c c a s i o n -
ally, w h e n there's an obstacle b e t w e e n you and the
suspect, bouncing bullets m a y allow you your only
s h o t at h i m . . . o r i n n o c e n t p e o p l e i n t h e v i c i n i t y m a y
m a k e d i r e c t s h o t s u n s a f e . O f c o u r s e , y o u s h o u l d not
c o n s i d e r r i c o c h e t s h o o t i n g a p r o p e r s u b s t i t u t e for
w e l l - a i m e d , d i r e c t fire i n all or e v e n m o s t a r m e d
encounters.
A n d y o u w a n t t o r e m e m b e r t h a t a s s a i l a n t s , as
w e l l as o f f i c e r s , s o m e t i m e s k n o w t h i s t a c t i c . T h a t ' s
o n e r e a s o n proper c o v e r is so i m p o r t a n t . In a s m a l l
m i d w e s t e r n t o w n , for e x a m p l e , a u n i f o r m e d offi-
cer approaching a liquor store w h e r e a burglar alarm
w a s ringing w a s confronted by t w o s u s p e c t s w h o
b o l t e d o u t of t h e f r o n t d o o r . T h e o f f i c e r d o v e t o
t h e p a v e m e n t and a s s u m e d a p r o n e p o s i t i o n , f r o m
w h i c h h e y e l l e d , " P o l i c e ! H a l t ! " O n e of t h e b u r g l a r s
fired at t h e c o n c r e t e 6 feet i n f r o n t of t h e o f f i c e r .
T h e slug r i c o c h e t e d a n d s l a m m e d i n t o t h e o f f i c e r ' s
s k u l l , j u s t b e l o w t h e b i l l of h i s h a t .
R i c o c h e t e d b u l l e t s c a n b o u n c e off w a l l s as w e l l
as p a v e m e n t . C o n s e q u e n t l y , y o u w a n t t o a v o i d
positioning yourself near any wall in s u c h a w a y
t h a t t h e s u r f a c e c a n b e u s e d for r i c o c h e t f i r e b y a
suspect against you.
S o m e t i m e s suspects' guns achieve this effect
s t r i c t l y b y a c c i d e n t . In a w e s t e r n c i t y , a d e t e c t i v e
ired at a f u g i t i v e w h o h a d d r a w n a s e m i - a u t o m a t i c
after b e i n g c o r n e r e d in a m o d e r n s t e e l - a n d - c o n c r e t e
building. T h e o f f i c e r ' s s h o t h i t t h e s u s p e c t , and h e
t u m b l e d b a c k w a r d . R e f l e x i v e l y , h e fired at t h e
i l t e d c o n c r e t e f l o o r s e v e r a l f e e t i n f r o n t of t h e
e t e c t i v e . T h e bullet r i c o c h e t e d up and severed an
artery in t h e o f f i c e r ' s t h i g h , c a u s i n g h i s d e a t h .
\gain, p r o p e r c o v e r in all p r o b a b i l i t y w o u l d h a v e
e f l e c t e d t h e b o u n c i n g b u l l e t a n d a s s u r e d t h e offi-
cer's s u r v i v a l .

Muzzle Flash

W h e n y o u fire a s h o t , an i n c a n d e s c e n t b u r s t of
ight f l a r e s o u t of t h e s p a c e b e t w e e n t h e c y l i n d e r a n d
h e b a r r e l and a l s o f r o m t h e m u z z l e . T h i s s o - c a l l e d

213
" m u z z l e f l a s h " is c a u s e d b y t h e s u d d e n r e l e a s e of
h i g h e n e r g y g a s e o u s p o w d e r p a r t i c l e s as t h e b u l l e t
b l a s t s o u t of t h e c h a m b e r a n d e x i t s t h e e n d of t h e
barrel. Under adequate lighting conditions, you'll
h a r d l y n o t i c e i t . B u t i n t h e d a r k or i n d i m l i g h t , i t s
sudden, a c c e n t u a t e d vividness m a y seriously affect
your p r o f i c i e n c y , b o t h by startling y o u and by
briefly destroying your night vision.
B y anticipating m u z z l e flash and getting your-
self a c c u s t o m e d t o it t h r o u g h n i g h t - f i r i n g p r a c t i c e ,
it w i l l c o m e as l e s s of a d i s c o n c e r t i n g s u r p r i s e .
T h e n y o u ' l l be in a good position to u s e this phe-
n o m e n o n to your advantage.
If, for e x a m p l e , y o u ' r e u p a g a i n s t a n a r m e d
b u r g l a r i n s i d e a w a r e h o u s e w h e r e t h e l i g h t is s o bad
y o u c a n ' t see h i m , try t h r o w i n g s o m e t h i n g away
from w h e r e y o u ' r e standing to draw his fire. T h e n
w a t c h for t h e m u z z l e flash f r o m his gun t o position
h i m . For an instant, t h e flash w i l l partially sil
h o u e t t e h i m . A f t e r w a r d s , e v e n if y o u c a n n o l o n g e r
see h i m , you still m a y be able to hit h i m . Y o u wil
o n l y s h o o t , of c o u r s e , if y o u a r e p o s i t i v e of y o u r
i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of t h e s u s p e c t .
Muzzle flash during even daylight hours
S h o o t o n b o t h s i d e s of w h e r e y o u s a w t h e f l a s h
can be seen at a distance.
firing first just slightly to t h e right. B e c a u s e m o s t
people are right-handed, t h a t ' s w h e r e his center
m a s s is l i k e l i e s t t o b e , if h e h a s n ' t m o v e d s i n c e
f i r i n g . In t h e d a r k , w i t h o n l y m u z z l e f l a s h as a g u i d e
m o s t people tend to shoot high, so c o n s c i o u s l y keep
y o u r s h o t s l i g h t l y d o w n . A h i g h s h o t is w o r t h l e s s
b u t a l o w s h o t m i g h t at l e a s t p r o d u c e a n e f f e c t i v
ricochet.
R e m e m b e r , a smart suspect m a y try to use you
m u z z l e f l a s h t o h i s a d v a n t a g e . If y o u ' r e n o t i n a gooc
p r o t e c t e d p o s i t i o n , t r y t o m o v e t o o n e as s o o n as y o i
s h o o t . If n o c o v e r is a v a i l a b l e , at l e a s t t r y t o shi:
l o c a t i o n a f t e r e a c h s e r i e s of s h o t s t o t h w a r t h i
h i t t i n g y o u b y f i r i n g at y o u r f l a s h . A n u n t r a i n e d o
p o o r l y t r a i n e d s h o o t e r or o n e w h o d o e s n ' t p r a c
t i c e m u c h h a s a t e n d e n c y t o j e r k t h e trigger, a n
t h i s , in t u r n , s e n d s h i s s h o t s t o h i s l e f t . T h a t m a
well be the case with a suspect. So on the g o o
c h a n c e h e ' l l s h o o t t o y o u r r i g h t (his l e f t as h e f a c e
you| y o u ' r e p r o b a b l y s a f e s t t o m o v e t o y o u r l e f t a f t e
you fire. As y o u m o v e to cover, keep low to increas
t h e odds of h i s s h o o t i n g o v e r y o u .

Unpredictable Reactions

A m o n g t h e l e a s t p r e d i c t a b l e a s p e c t s of a gur
f i g h t are w h a t t h e r e a c t i o n s of y o u r s e l f or t h e su;

214
p e c t w i l l be if h i t . In e i t h e r c a s e , y o u r s u r v i v a l m a y
be d i r e c t l y a f f e c t e d . W h e r e t h e s u s p e c t is c o n c e r n e d ,
r o u n d s t h a t s h o u l d drop h i m m a y n o t ; h e m a y k e e p
goingfiring b a c k w i t h a s t a m i n a that defies
credibility. By contrast, you m a y s u c c u m b to a
relatively m i n o r wound that should be " s u r v i v -
a b l e , " u n l e s s y o u are prepared p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y f o r
t h e p h y s i c a l a n d e m o t i o n a l i m p a c t of b e i n g s h o t .
Medical researchers have established that
n e a r l y 20 per cent of the time, suspects who aie
shot will not be incapacitated by just one round,
e v e n t h o u g h t h e y are f a t a l l y w o u n d e d . T h e y ' r e
d e a d . . . t h e y j u s t d o n ' t k n o w i t ! S o m e 1 3 per c e n t
w i l l k e e p g o i n g up t o f i v e m i n u t e s ; n e a r l y 7 per
c e n t , e v e n l o n g e r . In P h i l a d e l p h i a , a n a s s a i l a n t w a s
s h o t s q u a r e in t h e h e a r t y e t h e m a n a g e d t o w a l k
d o w n a f l i g h t of s t a i r s and o p e n t w o d o o r s b e f o r e
h e c o l l a p s e d . In N e w Y o r k , a s u s p e c t h i t i n t h e
s t o m a c h , bladder and gallbladder ran t h r e e b l o c k s
before collapsing. Even m u l t i p l e shots will not
b r i n g d o w n s o m e s u s p e c t s . In L o s A n g e l e s , a n o t h e r
s u s p e c t k e p t f i r i n g t h r o u g h 20 hits, b e f o r e t h e 2 1 s t
f i n a l l y dropped h i m . In a n o t h e r c a s e , a s u s p e c t w a s
shot 33 times with 9 m m rounds before ceasing his
threatening movement. Even hits from multiple Liquor store robber who was shot 33
shotgun rounds have failed to i m m e d i a t e l y stop times with 9mm rounds before be-
some assailants. coming incapacitated.

215
T h e damage a suspect can inflict during this
s o - c a l l e d " a m b u l a t i o n a f t e r d e a t h " is s u b s t a n t i a l .
In a n a t t e m p t t o t h w a r t t h e r o b b e r y of a t a v e r n , a n
officer shot one suspect in the chest and s t o m a c h
a n d w a t c h e d h i m fall t o t h e f l o o r . A f t e r l y i n g m o -
t i o n l e s s for a few s e c o n d s , t h e robber, to t h e officer's
a s t o n i s h m e n t , scrambled b a c k to his feet, grabbed
the shotgun that had fallen from his hands and began
shooting again. He killed the officer i m m e d i a t e l y
a n d w o u n d e d s e v e r a l p a t r o n s of t h e b a r b e f o r e h e
f i n a l l y d i e d . D u r i n g a n o t h e r t a v e r n h o l d u p in
California, an off-duty sheriff's deputy w h o w a s a
patron in t h e place shot a suspect in t h e c h e s t , a
w o u n d that proved fatal e v e n t u a l l y . B u t in t h e
m e a n t i m e , t h e r o b b e r e n g a g e d t h e o f f i c e r i n a strug-
gle a n d m a n a g e d t o b e a t h i m t o d e a t h w i t h a s a w e d -
off r i f l e .

In still a n o t h e r case, an officer e m p t i e d h i s .38


r e v o l v e r at c o n t a c t d i s t a n c e i n t o t h e c h e s t of a s u s -
pect w h o w a s trying to shoot h i m after having
w o u n d e d his partner. T h e bullets broke several ribs
p e n e t r a t e d b o t h l u n g s a n d p u n c t u r e d e n o u g h blooc
vessels to produce massive internal bleeding. Yet
t h e s u s p e c t f e l l o n l y t e m p o r a r i l y a n d c a m e b a c k of:
the ground still clutching his 9 m m s e m i - a u t o m a t i c .
H e p o i n t e d it d i r e c t l y at t h e o f f i c e r t o r e s u m e t h e
gun b a t t l e . T h i s officer saved his life b e c a u s e h e w a s
a l e r t e n o u g h t o u s e s u r p r i s e . H e dropped h i s o w n
e m p t y gun and lunged for t h e revolver on t h e belt
of h i s w o u n d e d p a r t n e r . W i t h t h i s w e a p o n , h e s h o t
t h e s u s p e c t t h r o u g h t h e h e a d , d r o p p i n g h i m in-
stantly.

S o m e o f f i c e r s b l a m e t h e i r a m m u n i t i o n for s h o t
suspects n o t falling w h e n they should. I t ' s true that
i n e x p e r i m e n t a l t e s t i n g t h e k i n d s of r o u n d s u s e d b y
m a n y l a w e n f o r c e m e n t a g e n c i e s do n o t a l w a y s dis-
p l a y as m u c h " s t o p p i n g p o w e r " as s o m e o t h e r
c o m m e r c i a l l y available a m m u n i t i o n ; because they
f a i l t o " s p r e a d " or f l a t t e n o u t m u c h as t h e y t r a v e l
through tissue, s o m e traditional " p o l i c e " bullets
tend to penetrate too extensively, while not expand-
ing i n f l e s h a n d i n c a p a c i t a t i n g . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d ,
s i n g l e s h o t s of s t a n d a r d . 3 8 S p e c i a l h a n d g u n a m m u -
n i t i o n , like that carried by i n n u m e r a b l e officers,
have killed 350-pound bears, w h o s e weight and body
m a s s far e x c e e d t h o s e of m o s t s u s p e c t s .
T h e r e ' s probably less hard information available
a b o u t b u l l e t e f f e c t i v e n e s s a n d p o t e n t i a l o n the
h u m a n b o d y t h a n a b o u t a n y o t h e r f a c e t of b a l l i s t i c s .
E x p e r t s c a n m e a s u r e v e l o c i t y , r a n g e , t r a j e c t o r y anc
answer s o m e other questions about bullet perform
a n c e w i t h a h i g h d e g r e e of a c c u r a c y a n d profes-
s i o n a l i s m . B u t w h e n it c o m e s t o h o w a m a n oi
w o m a n w i l l r e a c t w h e n s h o t , t o o m a n y variables
are i n v o l v e d f o r pat a n s w e r s . T h e i d e a t h a t a
h e a v y " round like a .45 cal. bullet, will spin a
s u s p e c t a r o u n d a n d k n o c k h i m d o w n e v e n if i t
s t r i k e s h i m o n t h e t h u m b is p u r e m y t h . N o h a n d g u n
b u l l e t w i l l do t h a t . I n a d d i t i o n , y o u h a v e t o r e m e m -
ber t h a t w h i l e a larger, h e a v i e r b u l l e t m a y p e r f o r m
i t s i n t e n d e d t a s k m o r e e f f i c i e n t l y , it w i l l a l s o g i v e
you a harder recoil, louder m u z z l e blast and brighter
m u z z l e f l a s h a l l of w h i c h m a y a d v e r s e l y a f f e c t
your accuracy, the m o s t i m p o r t a n t factor in w h e t h e r
bullet does its job.
Multiple shots to the suspect's center mass are
your best hope of producing instant collapse,
whatever factory a m m u n i t i o n your department
s p e c i f i e s . H o w e v e r , no p a t t e r n of i n j u r y is guaran-
teed. S u s p e c t s w i t h i d e n t i c a l d a m a g e t o t h e s a m e
vital organs have responded radically differently.
Factors other than bullets' impact m a y temporarily
d o m i n a t e a n d the problem s e e m s to be getting
worse.
For i n s t a n c e , y o u ' r e m o r e l i k e l y t o d a y t h a n s a y
t e n y e a r s ago t o c o n f r o n t a n a s s a i l a n t w h o ' s j a c k e d
up o n drugs, i n c l u d i n g p o w e r f u l h a l l u c i n o g e n s a n d
P C P . T h e s e p e o p l e , a l o n g w i t h t h e s t e a d i l y pro-
l i f e r a t i n g n u m b e r of d r u n k s a n d p s y c h o s , v e r y o f t e n
fail t o r e a c t t o b u l l e t s l i k e t h e y " s h o u l d " . F r e -
q u e n t l y , t h e i r s e n s i t i v i t y t o p a i n is d u l l e d , a l l o w i n g
t h e m t o a b s o r b a n u n b e l i e v a b l e a m o u n t of i t . A t t h e
same t i m e their altered consciousness m a y i m b u e
them with enormous strength to keep going. Even
n o r m a l suspects m a y draw great staying power just
from the adrenalin and steroids that rush into their
bloodstream a u t o m a t i c a l l y during an alarmed state.
O n e a r g u m e n t for officers m a k i n g greater u s e
of t h e s h o t g u n in a r m e d c o n f r o n t a t i o n s is t h a t i t s
superior destructiveness will i n s t a n t l y bring down
t h e a s s a i l a n t i n a g r e a t e r p e r c e n t a g e of c a s e s . Y e t
some suspects have managed temporarily to with-
s t a n d b e i n g h i t e v e n w i t h a r i f l e d s l u g fired f r o m
12 ga. s h o t g u n , c o n s i d e r e d t h e u l t i m a t e i n p o w e r
n police weaponry.
T h e l e s s o n h e r e is c l e a r : a n y f i r e a r m y o u ' r e
sing m a y n o t do w h a t y o u t h i n k it w i l l . Don't bet
our life on a suspect reacting the way he's sup-
osed to when you shoot him. AND NEVER
S S U M E HE'LL R E A C T LIKE S U S P E C T S D O O N
E L E V I S I O N . B e prepared t o keep on firing until
e c e a s e s t o b e a t h r e a t , e v e n if y o u ' v e a l r e a d y h i t
im with ' 'fatal'' rounds.
J u s t as y o u p r e p a r e f o r t h e s u s p e c t ' s r e a c t i o n t o
e i n g s h o t , y o u w a n t t o p r e p a r e f o r y o u r o w n so y o u
o n ' t overreact. S o m e officers s e e m to be condi-
i o n e d t o b e l i e v e t h a t if t h e y a r e h i t d u r i n g a g u n f i g h t
hat a u t o m a t i c a l l y m e a n s they m u s t die. Police
s u r g e o n s t e l l of t h o s e w h o s i m p l y a b a n d o n t h e
fight and s u c c u m b to w o u n d s that are superficial
and should not have been fatal, like t h e Illinois
officer w h o fell d o w n and died after being shot in t h e
arm with one .22 cal. bullet. W h a t doctors call
" p s y c h o s o m a t i c d e a t h " t h a t is, sudden death in
w h i c h emotional states like hopelessness, help-
l e s s n e s s a n d f e e l i n g s of a b a n d o n m e n t a r e p r i m a r y
contributing factorsis being increasingly recog-
n i z e d as a s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t o r i n o f f i c e r k i l l i n g s .
T h e e f f e c t s of t r a u m a t i c s h o c k , s t r e s s a n d fear
w h e n y o u a r e s h o t c a n b e p r o f o u n d a n d c a n , of
c o u r s e , do s t r a n g e t h i n g s t o y o u r b o d y . N o t all a r e
within your ability to control. Nonetheless, a
positive mental attitude can have a remarkable
i n f l u e n c e o n y o u r s u r v i v a l . Because you axe shot,
even in a critical area, does not necessarily mean
you will die.
If y o u are h i t , t r y t o k e e p o n f i g h t i n g b a c k . A
s e n s e of p u r p o s e a n d a s t r o n g w i l l t o s u r v i v e w i l l
help you stay alive. W h e n the s m o k e clears and you
c a n a s s e s s t h e d a m a g e , y o u r w o u n d m a y n o t b e as
bad as y o u t h o u g h t p a r t i c u l a r l y if, b y s t i c k i n g w i t h
the e n c o u n t e r and marshalling the survival tactics
y o u ' v e trained to use, y o u are able to i n c a p a c i t a t e
the suspect and prevent h i m f r o m hitting y o u again.
D o n ' t f a l l i n t o t h e trap of a s s u m i n g t h a t b e c a u s e
y o u are h i t , t h e s u s p e c t w i l l s t o p s h o o t i n g . T r y i n g
t o p l a y p o s s u m or h o p i n g t h a t y o u ' l l b e l e f t f o r dead
or g i v e n m e r c y if y o u go d o w n a r e r i s k y g a m e s . In
f a c t , o n c e y o u fall a n d s t o p s h o o t i n g , t h e s u s p e c t is
m o r e l i k e l y t o t r y t o f i n i s h y o u off. T w o N e w Y o r k
C i t y incidents illustrate this point vividly. In one,
t w o patrolmen were shot from behind by two m e m -
b e r s of a b l a c k r e v o l u t i o n a r y g r o u p . A s o n e o f f i c e r
lay on his b a c k , wounded, h e raised h i s a r m s and
pleaded, " D o n ' t kill m e ! " T h e suspects shot h i m
1 3 t i m e s . In t h e s e c o n d c a s e , t w o o t h e r o f f i c e r s
f e l l w o u n d e d i n a n a m b u s h . T h e s u s p e c t s t h e n ap-
p r o a c h e d a n d d e l i b e r a t e l y s h o t t h e e y e s o u t of o n e
fallen officer and shot t h e other t w i c e in the genitals.
If y o u d o n ' t a l r e a d y h a v e y o u r f i r e a r m i n h a n d
w h e n y o u are w o u n d e d , y o u w a n t t o d r a w it i m m e d -
i a t e l y . Y o u s h o u l d p r a c t i c e so t h a t y o u c a n d r a w
your sidearm with either hand, from any position,
i n c l u d i n g l y i n g o n y o u r f a c e or b a c k .
N e v e r g i v e u p ! I n s t e a d , act t o s u r v i v e .

218
RELOADING
UNDER FIRE

B a s e d o n s t a t i s t i c s , it w o u l d s e e m t h a t r e l o a d i n g
is n o t a n i m p o r t a n t part of g u n f i g h t s . T h e average
c o n f r o n t a t i o n is o v e r b e f o r e e i t h e r s i d e f i r e s e v e n as
m a n y as t h r e e r o u n d s , and o n l y a b o u t f o u r per c e n t
of o f f i c e r s i n s h o o t - o u t s e v e r f i n d it n e c e s s a r y t o
reload under fire the closer t h e e n c o u n t e r , t h e less
;

the c h a n c e that reloading will b e c o m e a factor. For


g a m b l e r s , t h e s e odds m i g h t b e r e a s s u r i n g . B u t part
of c o n d i t i o n i n g y o u r s e l f for s u r v i v a l is l e a r n i n g t o
c o p e w i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n a l as w e l l as t h e c o m m o n -
place.
All the statistics belittling reloading w o n ' t help
y o u a b i t if, l i k e a n u n f o r t u n a t e m i n o r i t y of o f f i c e r s ,
you have to expend m o r e t h a n the " a v e r a g e "
n u m b e r of r o u n d s d u r i n g a l o n g f o o t c h a s e or a l l - o u t
f i r e f i g h t or a g a i n s t o n e or m o r e w e l l - p r o t e c t e d
assailantsand still face an adversary w h o ' s u n h i t
a n d firing b a c k w h e n t h e r e ' s n o t h i n g l e f t i n y o u r
o w n gun to shoot. W h e t h e r it's " s u p p o s e d to
h a p p e n " or n o t , w h e n it d o e s you're better off with
a sack full of rocks than standing there with an
empty gun.
T h e faster your recovery r a t e t h e speed w i t h
w h i c h y o u c a n r e p l e n i s h y o u r a m m u n i t i o n a n d get
b a c k o n t a r g e t t h e s t r o n g e r y o u r c h a n c e s of
emerging from the confrontation alive. For the
action doesn't c o m e to a halt w h i l e you reload;
i n d e e d , it m a y e s c a l a t e t o a n e w a n d m o r e d a n g e r o u s
level.
W h i l e y o u ' r e o u t of c o m m i s s i o n :
t h e s u s p e c t m a y c h a n g e l o c a t i o n s . If y o u ' r e dis-
tracted w i t h reloading, y o u m a y n o t be able to
find h i m i m m e d i a t e l y w h e n y o u ' r e ready to start
shooting again. And he m a y have m o v e d to a
vantage point where he can kill you with his
next round;
h e m a y r u s h y o u . In a s t r e e t b a t t l e w i t h a
burglar, an O h i o officer c r o u c h e d b e h i n d his
patrol car to reload. T h e suspect, w h o had been
n e a r t h e f r o n t of t h e car, r a n a r o u n d t h e side a n d
a t t a c k e d t h e officer f r o m t h e rear, s h o o t i n g h i m
in t h e head;
he m a y get a good " f r e e " shot e v e n w i t h o u t
moving. A Georgia patrolman approaching the
s c e n e of a d o m e s t i c d i s t u r b a n c e g o t i n t o a g u n -
fight w i t h a suspect w h o was a r m e d w i t h a .22
cal. rifle. T h e officer was away from his patrol
car w h e n the shooting started and was pinned
d o w n b y t h e s u s p e c t ' s f i r e s o h e c o u l d n ' t get
back. But w i t h his .38 cal. revolver he managed
t o k e e p t h e a s s a i l a n t s o off b a l a n c e t h a t h e
missed consistently, even w i t h his superior
w e a p o n . . . u n t i l the officer had to reload. In that
m o m e n t a r y pause, t h e suspect got t h e one good
shot he needed. H e killed the patrolman with a
bullet to the chest.

Efficient Recovery

T h e r e are w a y s t o reload that m i n i m i z e s u c h


risks while maximizing recovery efficiency. S o m e 0 1
the m e c h a n i c a l procedures vary, depending on the
t y p e of f i r e a r m y o u ' r e u s i n g . B u t r e g a r d l e s s of t h e
gun, t h e r e are certain survival principles regarding
reloading you will want to follow whenever
possible:
1. A s a g e n e r a l r u l e , try to reload during a
"tactical pause" or break in s h o o t i n g and especially
b e f o r e y o u a d v a n c e y o u r p o s i t i o n . E v e n if t h e
a m m u n i t i o n i n y o u r g u n is n o t a l l e x p e n d e d , c o n -
sider using any lapse to get your gun full again;
there m a y not be another opportunity, and it's better
t o c h o o s e y o u r r e l o a d i n g t i m e t h a n t o b e forcec
i n t o i t . S a y , f o r e x a m p l e , y o u s h o o t t w o or t h r e e
r o u n d s at a s u s p e c t , w h o t h e n r u n s i n t o a r e s i d e n c e
or s t o r e a n d s e i z e s h o s t a g e s . A f t e r y o u p o s i t i o n
y o u r s e l f t o w a i t f o r b a c k - u p , y o u w a n t t o r e l o a d sc
w h e n t h e a c t i o n r e s u m e s y o u r g u n is f u l l . D u r i n g i
p a u s e i n t h e s h o o t i n g , y o u c a n s l i p i n a n e w maga-
z i n e w i t h a s e m i - a u t o m a t i c . W i t h a r e v o l v e r , ejeci

220
all t h e c a r t r i d g e s i n y o u r g u n l i v e a n d e m p t y o n
t h e g r o u n d and load i n a l l f r e s h r o u n d s . If t h e r e is
n o t a c t i c a l p a u s e , s h o o t u n t i l y o u a r e o u t of a m m u -
nition, then reload i m m e d i a t e l y , w h e t h e r your
a d v e r s a r y is s t i l l s t a n d i n g or n o t . W h a t e v e r t h e
circumstances, dump your spent shell cases directly
on the ground; t h a t ' s fastest.
2. Communicate with your paitnei, if y o u
h a v e o n e . I d e a l l y , y o u w a n t t o a v o i d r u n n i n g o u t of
a m m u n i t i o n a n d b e i n g " d o w n " at t h e s a m e t i m e .
T h r o u g h prearranged signals, y o u m a y be able to
s w a p off o n r e l o a d i n g , p r o v i d e d , of c o u r s e , t h a t y o u
each c o u n t your shots and k n o w w h e r e you stand in
t e r m s of r e m a i n i n g r o u n d s . W i t h p r e p l a n n i n g , y o u
m a y e v e n b e a b l e t o c o n t h e s u s p e c t . If, b y p r a c t i c e d
a r r a n g e m e n t , y o u b o t h y e l l , " I ' m o u t ! " at t h e s a m e
t i m e , w h e n it i s n ' t t r u e , t h e s u s p e c t m a y t h i n k h e
has a free shot. H e m a y t h e n c o m e out in t h e open
to attack, allowing the hit y o u need to end the
confrontation.
3. Reload behind cover, or at l e a s t i n a c o n -
c e a l e d p o s i t i o n , e s p e c i a l l y if y o u r g u n is a r e v o l v e r .
A " w h e e l g u n " requires a longer recovery rate,
w h i c h m e a n s a longer period in w h i c h your assail-
a n t c a n s h o o t at y o u w i t h i m p u n i t y . Y o u n e e d a
good b a r r i c a d e t o s h i e l d y o u .
4. Reload by feel s o t h a t all t h e t i m e y o u ' r e
f i l l i n g u p y o u c a n keep your eyes on the suspect or
the suspect's location, not on your firearm. Any
m o v e h e is a b l e t o m a k e w i t h o u t y o u r s u r v e i l l a n c e
c a n o n l y w o r k t o y o u r d i s a d v a n t a g e . If y o u k e e p
your eyes focused on where you w a n t to hit h i m ,
y o u ' l l b e r e a d y t o s h o o t as s o o n as y o u h a v e l i v e
r o u n d s . A l s o , if y o u k e e p t h e e l b o w of y o u r g u n h a n d
t o u c h i n g y o u r s i d e , it w i l l h e l p y o u s e n s e e x a c t l y
where your gun is.
Swift, effective reloading requires that y o u
combine shrewd tactics with m a n u a l dexterity.
H e r e are s o m e of t h e t h i n g s y o u n e e d t o k n o w t o
p u l l it off, t a i l o r e d t o t h e t y p e of f i r e a r m o n w h i c h
y o u r life d e p e n d s .

Revolver

G e t t i n g f r e s h a m m u n i t i o n i n t o a r e v o l v e r is
more complicated and difficult than w i t h either a
s e m i - a u t o m a t i c or a s h o t g u n . T o fire y o u r l a s t s h o t
from a r e v o l v e r . . . d u m p your cases...fully reload and
fire a g a i n m a y t a k e y o u 10 s e c o n d s or m o r e , d e p e n d -
ing o n t h e t y p e of c a r t r i d g e c a r r i e r y o u u s e . W h i l e
y o u ' r e r e l o a d i n g , y o u r g u n is i n o p e r a b l e . W i t h t h e
cylinder swung open, it's e x t r e m e l y vulnerable to
dirt, m u d , s l u s h a n d o t h e r f o r e i g n o b j e c t s . . . a n d y o u
are literally defenseless. Y o u d o n ' t w a n t to p a n i c
w h e n f a c e d w i t h a r e l o a d i n g s i t u a t i o n . . . b u t y o u do
want to hurry.
T o u n l o a d , o p e n t h e c y l i n d e r as s o o n as y o u
d e c i d e t o r e l o a d , w h e t h e r or n o t y o u h a v e f i r e d y o u r
last round. Hold t h e gun in your w e a k h a n d w i t h
y o u r p a l m u n d e r t h e trigger g u a r d a n d c u r v e y o u r
t w o m i d d l e fingers around t h r o u g h t h e f r a m e so t h e y
rest on the cylinder. T h i s will keep the cylinder
f r o m c l o s i n g . N o w i n v e r t t h e g u n s o t h e b a r r e l is
s t r a i g h t u p . P l a c e y o u r t h u m b o n t h e t i p of t h e
ejector rod...trigger finger around the barrel...and
y o u r l i t t l e f i n g e r o v e r t h e h a m m e r or b e h i n d t h e
h a m m e r s p u r . T h i s g i v e s y o u a f i r m grip o n t h e
g u n e v e n if y o u t r i p or f a l l , y o u c a n r e t a i n i t .
;

W h i l e s t a b i l i z i n g t h e c y l i n d e r w i t h t h e t i p s of y o u r
m i d d l e fingers, rapidly eject t h e spent cases w i t h a
s i n g l e d o w n w a r d s t r o k e of t h e r o d . If y o u k e e p t h e
Unloading a revolver efficiently will gun vertical, the cases will eject cleanly without
make you feel confident about main- h a n g i n g u p or c a t c h i n g o n t h e g u n grip o n t h e i r
taining your gaze in the direction of
w a y o u t . Let all the brass fall directly onto the
the armed suspect.
ground. S o m e officers have been killed because
t h e y t o o k extra t i m e to c a t c h the ejected cases and
p u t t h e m i n t h e i r p o c k e t s , as t h e y ' d d o n e w h e n
shooting targets on the range. As you're moving
y o u r r e v o l v e r i n t o p o s i t i o n for e j e c t i n g t h e s p e n t
r o u n d s , y o u r s t r o n g h a n d s h o u l d b e r e a c h i n g for
fresh a m m u n i t i o n .

222
For r e l o a d i n g , y o u ' l l b e g e t t i n g y o u r f r e s h
a m m u n i t i o n f r o m o n e of t h r e e p r i m a r y t y p e s of
cartridge carrier: belt l o o p s . . . d u m p p o u c h e s . . . o r
speed l o a d e r s . E a c h h a s u n i q u e a d v a n t a g e s a n d
disadvantages that will influence your reloading
capability. T h e type you u s e will depend on the
f u n c t i o n a l t r a d e - o f f s y o u are w i l l i n g t o a c c e p t (or
that your d e p a r t m e n t is willing to a c c e p t for y o u ) .

If you use a vinyl speed strip, make


sure it is grasped properly for easy re-
moval. The speed strip will load two
cartridges at a time.
For speed, two cartridges at a time
should be activated from the cartridge
carrier by pushing them up from below.
Then grasp the cartridges by the primer
end.
R e l o a d i n g e i t h e r w i t h b e l t l o o p s or t h e d u m p
p o u c h r e q u i r e s n i m b l e f i n g e r s . L e a t h e r l o o p s pro-
vide dependable a c c e s s to additional a m m u n i t i o n ,
a n d t h e y a l l o w y o u a c h o i c e of h o w m a n y r o u n d s
to r e m o v e f r o m y o u r a m m u n i t i o n carrier for re-
loading. Loops m a y be hard to draw from, though,
w h e n y o u r f i n g e r s a r e s w e a t y , c o l d or t r e m b l i n g .
Y o u can m a k e the job easier by pushing the car-
t r i d g e s u p i n t h e l o o p s f r o m b e l o w as y o u r f i r s t
r e l o a d i n g s t e p . P u s h u p e v e r y o t h e r c a r t r i d g e , or
all six. Either way, w i t h practice, y o u can learn to
grasp t w o r o u n d s at a t i m e , r o c k t h e m u p a n d o u t
of t h e l o o p s t o g e t h e r a n d c h a m b e r t h e m s i m u l -
t a n e o u s l y . S t i l l , t h e r e ' s a l o t of r e p e t i t i v e b a c k - a n d -
f o r t h m o t i o n t o get t h e c y l i n d e r f u l l . A l s o b e l t
loops allow your a m m u n i t i o n to be exposed to the
w e a t h e r and e l e m e n t s . U n l e s s your cartridges are
c h a n g e d f r e q u e n t l y , a g r e e n c o r r o s i o n m a y b u i l d up
on the m e t a l , m a k i n g t h e m difficult to draw from
the loops.

224
W i t h the d u m p pouch, y o u get six bullets in
y o u r h a n d at o n c e , o f t e n f a c i n g d i v e r s e d i r e c t i o n s .
Y o u have to position t h e m properly before y o u can
l o a d . M o r e o v e r , a d u m p p o u c h is h a r d t o a c t i v a t e
properly should you be in a prone p o s i t i o n . Leather
loops m a y provide a m o r e dependable a c c e s s to
a d d i t i o n a l a m m u n i t i o n . T h e y a l l o w y o u a c h o i c e of
how m a n y rounds to remove. Also, with a dump
p o u c h , y o u ' l l p r o b a b l y n e e d 12 t o 1 4 s e c o n d s t o
r e l o a d . T a k i n g t w o at a t i m e f r o m b e l t l o o p s , y o u
c a n fill u p in a b o u t 10 s e c o n d s . B e c a u s e e v e r y s e c o n d
you take m e a n s more exposure to risk, it's essential
to shave t i m e w h e r e y o u can.

T o r e l o a d o n c e y o u h a v e o n e or m o r e l o o s e
r o u n d s , e i t h e r f r o m l o o p s or a p o u c h , r e a d y i n y o u r
f i n g e r s , r e t a i n t h e grip y o u h a d o n y o u r r e v o l v e r for
u n l o a d i n g a n d t i l t t h e m u z z l e t o w a r d t h e g r o u n d at
a b o u t a 4 5 - d e g r e e a n g l e . T h e p a l m of y o u r w e a k
hand should be cupped under the cylinder to c a t c h
a n y c a r t r i d g e s t h a t drop. W i t h t h e t h u m b a n d m i d d l e
finger of t h a t h a n d , grasp t h e c y l i n d e r . Y o u w a n t
your t h u m b and finger in adjacent grooves; that will
h e l p y o u judge w h e r e t h e c a r t r i d g e g o e s , s i n c e e a c h
cylinder opening lies b e t w e e n grooves. As y o u rotate
the cylinder w i t h t h u m b and finger, y o u load the
a m m u n i t i o n w i t h your strong hand. W h e n you're
finished, close the cylinder and r e s u m e your firing
position.
S o m e gunfight veterans insist that the fastest
c a r r i e r for f u l l y r e l o a d i n g a r e v o l v e r is t h e r o u n d
speed-loader, w h i c h holds six cartridges in position
for s i m u l t a n e o u s i n s e r t i o n i n t o a c y l i n d e r . W i t h
practice, a speed-loader can cut your recovery rate
t o t h r e e s e c o n d s or l e s s a l m o s t as f a s t as c h a n g i n g
m a g a z i n e s in a s e m i - a u t o m a t i c . Also, t h e advo-
c a t e s of s p e e d - l o a d e r s s a y , t h e s e d e v i c e s w i l l a l l o w
you to reload s m o o t h l y , w i t h m i n i m u m hand
m o v e m e n t , i n t h e d a r k . . . w h e n y o u a r e r u n n i n g or
c r a w l i n g . . . w i t h gloves o n . . . w h e n the w e a t h e r ' s so
cold you can't feel your fingers, m u c h less your
a m m u n i t i o n . C r i t i c s argue t h a t i t ' s d i f f i c u l t t o
reload w i t h a speed-loader w i t h o u t closely w a t c h i n g
w h a t y o u a r e d o i n g i n order t o l i n e up s i x c a r t r i d g e s
s i m u l t a n e o u s l y , especially in the fear and t e n s i o n
of a g u n f i g h t s i t u a t i o n . W i t h e x t e n s i v e p r a c t i c e ,
however, y o u can m a s t e r this t e c h n i q u e so your
eyes w o n ' t have to be diverted from w a t c h i n g the
s u s p e c t i n order t o w a t c h y o u r g u n . I t ' s n o m o r e
d i f f i c u l t t h a n l e a r n i n g t o t y p e w i t h o u t l o o k i n g at
t h e k e y s . L i k e o t h e r m e t h o d s of r e l o a d i n g , s p e e d -
l o a d e r s are g r a v i t y d e p e n d e n t . If y o u ' r e o n y o u r
back, they w o n ' t w o r k well. Y o u have to get into a
p o s i t i o n w h e r e y o u c a n p o i n t t h e m u z z l e of y o u r
gun down perpendicular, so t h e rounds w i l l feed
s t r a i g h t i n w h e n y o u p u s h or t w i s t t h e c a r t r i d g e
r e l e a s e . B e c a r e f u l n o t t o drop t h e l o a d e r as y o u
r e a c h f o r it w i t h y o u r s t r o n g h a n d . S o m e t y p e s w i l l
s p i l l t h e i r c a r t r i d g e s if d r o p p e d , f o r c i n g y o u t h e n t o
d r a w y o u r s p a r e r e v o l v e r or t o r e l o a d f r o m t h e
ground. Again, k n o w your e q u i p m e n t thoroughly
before y o u get i n t o a s i t u a t i o n w h e r e your life
d e p e n d s o n y o u r o p e r a t i n g it at t o p s p e e d . A l s o , t a k e
care n o t to activate the cartridge release before
you've fitted the bullet noses into the chambers.
T h i s h a s h a p p e n e d t o o f f i c e r s u n d e r s t r e s s or b y
a c c i d e n t w h e n t h e y s t u m b l e d o r f e l l i n p u r s u i t of
a s u s p e c t . T h e cartridges t h e n are lost, i n s t a n t l y .
O n c e t h e cartridges are in y o u r gun, t o s s t h e speed-
l o a d e r a s i d e . Y o u c a n r e c o v e r it l a t e r , a f t e r t h e
a c t i o n is o v e r ; d o n ' t t a k e t i m e u n d e r fire t o p u t it
i n y o u r p o c k e t or b a c k i n i t s c a r r y i n g c a s e .
W h a t e v e r t y p e of a m m u n i t i o n c a r r i e r y o u u s e ,
//you carry speed-loaders, use a double Y 'o u n n e e d t o r
s t r i c t l y by feel, n o t b y l o o k i n g
e l o a d

leather case and practice opening the down. Partly t h a t ' s to m a k e you proficient in t h e
snap for efficient removal. dark, w h e n y o u m a y have trouble seeing your gun,

226
h a n d s a n d a m m u n i t i o n a n d w h e n u s e of a f l a s h -
l i g h t for r e l o a d i n g w o u l d o n l y s i l h o u e t t e y o u as a
target. M o r e important, working by t o u c h alone
lets you keep your eyes on your assailant or his
l o c a t i o n at all t i m e s . T o f a c i l i t a t e t h i s c o n t i n u o u s
surveillance, you should face toward h i m through-
out your recovery period.
Y o u m a y w a n t to consider bringing your revolver
up t o e y e l e v e l w i t h y o u r e l b o w s t o u c h i n g y o u r s i d e ,
w h i l e you reload. T h i s allows you to see w h a t y o u ' r e
doing w h i l e still w a t c h i n g the s u s p e c t in your
peripheral vision. However, this position increases
t h e t i m e it t a k e s t o get n e w a m m u n i t i o n f r o m i t s
carrier to the cylinder and also increases the risk that
y o u ' l l drop s o m e e n r o u t e . If y o u ' r e practiced
e n o u g h , y o u ' r e b e t t e r off w i t h t h e g u n at b e l t l e v e l ,
as c l o s e t o t h e a m m u n i t i o n s o u r c e as y o u c a n g e t i t .
W h a t y o u r f i n g e r s are d o i n g s h o u l d b e a u t o m a t i c ; When cartridges are loaded, always
your m i n d and eyes should be free to c o n c e n t r a t e on make sure that the cylinder closes
the suspect(s) and the action you're facing. properly.
W h e r e y o u are u s i n g s o m e m e t h o d o t h e r t h a n
s p e e d - l o a d i n g , you may not want to reload a full
cylinder u n d e r c e r t a i n c i r c u m s t a n c e s . If y o u ' r e o u t
of a m m u n i t i o n b u t u n d e r f i r e . . . b e h i n d p o o r c o v e r . . .
or y o u r a s s a i l a n t is c o m i n g at y o u , y o u r s u r v i v a l
savvy m a y dictate that you q u i c k l y d u m p your
e m p t i e s . . . load only one to three fresh cartridges... and
g e t b a c k i n a c t i o n . Don't get cut down loading a
sixth round in your gun. T h a t ' s e x a c t l y w h a t h a p -
p e n e d t o a w e s t e r n h i g h w a y p a t r o l m a n ; j u s t as
he finished loading the last round, his assailant, w h o
h a d b e e n w a t c h i n g , s h o t h i m i n t h e h e a d . If h e ' d
l o a d e d o n l y t w o , c h a n c e s a r e he c o u l d h a v e b e e n
the one to surprise the suspect.
Proper technique for reloading a re-
volver one-handed.

228
W i t h p a r t i a l r e l o a d i n g , t h e p o s i t i o n of t h e
cylinder h o l e s you fill will be i m p o r t a n t . Ideally,
when you close the cylinder, you w a n t your a m m u -
n i t i o n p o s i t i o n e d so t h a t a live iound comes under
the hammer the first time y o u p u l l t h e trigger.
T h a t m e a n s you have to k n o w the direction in
which your cylinder rotates; otherwise you m a y
h a v e t o s t r o k e t h e trigger s e v e r a l t i m e s t o m o v e a
round into detonating position, and this can cost
you t i m e . S m i t h & Wesson cylinders rotate counter-
clockwise-, y o u w a n t t o load t h e s e h i g h o n t h e right
s i d e . C o l t c y l i n d e r s t u r n clockwise; load t h e m high
o n y o u r left. If y o u ' r e u s i n g a r e v o l v e r f r o m a n o t h e r
manufacturer, k n o w how your cylinder rotates.

Y o u c a n r e l o a d a r e v o l v e r o n e - h a n d e d . T h i s is
c o n v e n i e n t if o n e h a n d , a r m or s h o u l d e r h a s b e e n
d i s a b l e d b y h o s t i l e fire or s o m e o t h e r i n j u r y a n d a l s o
if y o u n e e d t o r e l o a d w h i l e d r i v i n g . Y o u a c t i v a t e t h e
c y l i n d e r l o c k and f o r c e t h e c y l i n d e r o p e n w i t h y o u r
good h a n d . S t i c k y o u r t h u m b t h r o u g h t h e f r a m e t o
k e e p t h e c y l i n d e r f r o m c l o s i n g a n d u s e y o u r trigger
finger t o p l u n g e t h e e j e c t o r d o w n a n d d u m p y o u r
e x p e n d e d r o u n d s . S t i c k t h e b a r r e l of t h e e m p t y g u n
i n t o y o u r w a i s t b a n d , w i t h t h e c y l i n d e r o p e n and
away from your body. T h e ejector rod should be
outside your belt to help hold your gun. Load w i t h
y o u r free or g o o d h a n d , c l o s e t h e c y l i n d e r a n d
you're set.
H e r e , t o o , t h e r e m a y be c i r c u m s t a n c e s i n w h i c h
one-handed reloading will surprise your adversary.
O n e o f f i c e r , for i n s t a n c e , e n t e r e d a w a r e h o u s e
during a n i g h t t i m e p r o w l e r c a l l a n d w a s i m m e d i a t e l y
fired u p o n b y an a s s a i l a n t p e r c h e d s o m e w h e r e u p
h i g h . Zigzagging b e t w e e n c r a t e s a n d p i l e s of m e r -
c h a n d i s e , h e f i n a l l y l o c a t e d t h e s h o o t e r , far u p in t h e
r a f t e r s . D i r e c t l y b e n e a t h h i m w a s a s t e e l ladder
l e a d i n g t o h i s l o c a t i o n . In t h e g l o o m t h e o f f i c e r
m a n a g e d t o r e a c h it w i t h o u t b e i n g s e e n , b u t in t h e
p r o c e s s h e s h o t h i s r e v o l v e r dry. O n t h e w a y u p t h e
ladder, h e s t u c k t h e g u n in h i s w a i s t b a n d , l o a d e d in
three cartridges and waited, hanging on a rung.
M o m e n t a r i l y he heard his assailant starting down
t h e ladder t o l o o k for h i m . T h e o f f i c e r fired t h r e e
r o u n d s w i t h deadly a c c u r a c y at t h e s t a r t l e d s u s p e c t
f r o m a d i s t a n c e of a b o u t 8 f e e t .

W h e n y o u ' r e a b l e t o c h o o s e y o u r l o c a t i o n for
r e l o a d i n g , try t o load o v e r an a r e a t h a t w i l l p r o v i d e
s o m e c u s h i o n for y o u r c a r t r i d g e s s h o u l d y o u drop
any. There have been instances where bullets have
e x p l o d e d f r o m t h e p r i m e r f a l l i n g o n hard or r o u g h
s u r f a c e s , l i k e c o n c r e t e or p e b b l e s .
A l s o , for s a f e t y r e a s o n s , keep your finger outside
the trigger guard at all t i m e s w h i l e u n l o a d i n g a n d
reloading.

229
Never reholster an e m p t y gun. W h e n the
s h o o t i n g is o v e r a n d y o u r e l o a d y o u r g u n t o r e t u r n
t o d u t y , b e s u r e y o u load the cylinder fully. O n t h e
range, y o u m a y load only five rounds to m a k e
scoring easier. O n duty, too, s o m e officers use a
f i v e - r o u n d l o a d so t h e y c a n c a r r y t h e g u n w i t h a n
empty chamber under the h a m m e r . Actually,
t h e r e ' s n o s a f e t y b e n e f i t t o t h i s if y o u r g u n ' s i n g o o d
w o r k i n g order, p l u s it r e d u c e s t h e n u m b e r of r o u n d s
y o u h a v e a v a i l a b l e in a s h o o t - o u t . O n e m i d w e s t e r n
d e t e c t i v e w h o h a b i t u a l l y loaded only five rounds in
a six-shot revolver was m a k i n g an entry in his n o t e -
b o o k in his u n m a r k e d car one night w h e n a suspect
suddenly appeared from b e t w e e n t w o buildings and
o r d e r e d h i m o u t of t h e car at t h e p o i n t of a . 3 8 c a l .
snub-nose. T h e officer complied and was forced to
lie on the ground w h i l e the offender w e n t through
his p o c k e t s , taking his m o n e y and his badge. Before
h e c o u l d grab t h e d e t e c t i v e ' s g u n , a w i t n e s s i n o n e
of t h e b u i l d i n g s k n o c k e d o n t h e w i n d o w , t h e r o b b e r
b e c a m e startled and ran. T h e officer chased h i m
d o w n t h e s t r e e t a n d fired f o u r s h o t s a l o n g t h e w a y ,
t h e n r a n i n t o a n a l l e y a f t e r h i m a n d fired h i s l a s t
r e m a i n i n g r o u n d . W i t h t h e n e x t trigger pull, t h e
firing pin c l i c k e d into the s i x t h e m p t y c y l i n d e r
hole. W i t h a " f r e e " shot, the assailant killed the
officer and fled in a waiting car.

Semi-Automatic
P r o b a b l y t h e f a s t e s t f i r e a r m t o r e l o a d f u l l y is a
semi-automatic.
For m a x i m u m s t r e a m l i n i n g , y o u w a n t t o a n t i c -
i p a t e r e l o a d i n g b e f o r e y o u r u n dry a n d d r a w a s p a r e
m a g a z i n e from your leather gear w i t h your w e a k
hand. Y o u can hold this magazine alongside your
w e a p o n w h i l e y o u r w e a k h a n d is i n t h e s u p p o r t
p o s i t i o n for firing. T h i s w i l l s o m e w h a t lessen t h e
support y o u ' r e able to give your grip, b u t y o u ' l l be
ready w i t h fresh a m m u n i t i o n the instant you dump
the old; y o u d o n ' t have to spend valuable seconds
r e a c h i n g for t h e r e p l a c e m e n t .
T o change magazines, depress the m a g a z i n e
release button on your semi-automatic with your
gun h a n d , w h i l e keeping t h e gun in shooting posi-
tion and your eyes o n the suspect. As the e m p t y
magazine falls out, bring the n e w one under the gun
with your weak hand without looking down. Your
forefinger should lie along the m a g a z i n e ' s front
edge, w i t h y o u r t h u m b at t h e b a c k t o g u i d e it i n t o
the magazine well. Seat the new magazine firmly
b y t a p p i n g it i n t o p l a c e w i t h t h e h e e l of y o u r w e a k
h a n d . Y o u d o n ' t n e e d t o s l a m it h a r d t o g e t it t o

230
l o c k ; i n f a c t , d o i n g so m a y d a m a g e t h e m a g a z i n e
and lead t o m a l f u n c t i o n s . If y o u ' v e c h a n g e d m a g a -
z i n e s b e f o r e s h o o t i n g dry, y o u a r e r e a d y t o r e s u m e
firing i m m e d i a t e l y u p o n t h e n e w m a g a z i n e b e i n g i n
p l a c e . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , if y o u s h o o t all y o u r
original rounds before changing, the slide will have
l o c k e d t o t h e rear a f t e r y o u fired y o u r l a s t c a r t r i d g e ,
s i g n a l i n g t h a t y o u r g u n is e m p t y . W i t h t h e n e w
magazine in place, y o u ' l l need to release the slide
w i t h t h e t h u m b of y o u r g u n h a n d a n d l e t it f l y The proper weak-hand placement of
foward into firing position before y o u s h o o t again. fresh magazine prior to speedloading
semi-automatic.

A n a d v a n t a g e of some s e m i - a u t o m a t i c s is t h a t
y o u c a n s t i l l fire e v e n w h i l e r e l o a d i n g . S o l o n g as t h e
slide r e m a i n s forward on a s e m i - a u t o m a t i c , a round
is c h a m b e r e d , e v e n t h o u g h y o u r e m o v e t h e m a g a -
zine. W i t h a C o l t .45 s e m i - a u t o m a t i c , for e x a m p l e ,
you can shoot that one round without any magazine
b e i n g in t h e w e l l . If y o u do, t h o u g h , y o u ' l l h a v e t o
manually chamber a n e w round when the n e w
m a g a z i n e is i n s e r t e d . N o t a l l s e m i - a u t o m a t i c s h a v e
t h i s f i r i n g f e a t u r e , however,- S m i t h & W e s s o n
models 39 and 59 and the Browning Hi-Power
9 m m , f o r e x a m p l e , do n o t . U n l e s s t h e m a g a z i n e
safety disconnect on these guns has been altered,
t h e y w i l l n o t fire w i t h o u t a m a g a z i n e in place even
t h o u g h t h e r e is a l i v e r o u n d i n t h e c h a m b e r . S o
know youi equipment.
It t a k e s l o n g e r t o l o a d a s e m i - a u t o m a t i c o n e -
h a n d e d , b u t it c a n b e d o n e , if, f o r e x a m p l e , o n e of
y o u r h a n d s is u s e l e s s b e c a u s e it h a s b e e n w o u n d e d .
A f t e r y o u drop t h e o l d m a g a z i n e , p l a c e t h e g u n
tightly b e t w e e n your k n e e s , angled so t h a t the
m u z z l e is p o i n t e d d o w n a n d a w a y f r o m y o u a n d t h e

Proper technique for reloading a semi-


automatic one-handed.

232
b u t t is u p a n d o u t i n f r o n t of y o u . I n s e r t t h e n e w
m a g a z i n e a n d tap i n i n t o p l a c e w i t h y o u r g o o d h a n d ,
t h e n grip t h e g u n w i t h t h a t s a m e h a n d a n d r e t u r n it
t o s h o o t i n g p o s i t i o n . W i t h a q u i c k p r e s s of t h e s l i d e
release, you're ready to go, having reloaded in about
f i v e s e c o n d s or l e s s .
N o t e : If, t o m a x i m i z e t h e s p e e d of r e l o a d i n g ,
y o u s i m p l y r e l e a s e t h e old m a g a z i n e a n d l e t it f a l l
t o t h e g r o u n d , do not l a t e r r e p l e n i s h it w i t h n e w
a m m u n i t i o n a n d r e t u r n it t o y o u r g u n or m a g a z i n e
carrier w i t h o u t careful inspection. Y o u w a n t to be
c e r t a i n t h a t t h e drop did n o t d e n t o r c r a c k t h e m a g a -
z i n e or b e n d i t s l i p s . S u c h d a m a g e c o u l d r e s u l t i n
f e e d i n g p r o b l e m s , if u n d e t e c t e d .

Shotgun
W h e n you take a shotgun into action you want
t o h a v e at l e a s t t e n r o u n d s a l o n g , c o u n t i n g t h o s e
already loaded in the gun plus extras. Y o u c a n carry
your spare a m m u n i t i o n in your w e a k - s i d e p o c k e t
b e c a u s e u n d e r fire y o u ' l l r e l o a d w i t h y o u r w e a k
hand. O r y o u can carry an " a m m o s l i n g " on t h e
s t o c k of t h e s h o t g u n s o y o u ' l l a l w a y s h a v e e x t r a s
whenever you have the gun.
C o u n t your shots. T h a t will help you anticipate
t h e n e e d t o r e l o a d . If p o s s i b l e , y o u w a n t t o a v o i d
s h o o t i n g t h e s h o t g u n dry. In m o m e n t s of t a c t i c a l
p a u s e , y o u c a n load f r e s h s h e l l s i n t o t h e m a g a z i n e
l o a d i n g port u n d e r n e a t h t h e g u n . Y o u c a n do t h i s
on t h e m o v e . . . w i t h t h e s h o t g u n i n t h e f i r i n g p o s i -
t i o n , r a t h e r t h a n s t r a i g h t u p o n y o u r h i p or c r a d l e d
i n y o u r w e a k h a n d as i n t h e c o n v e n t i o n a l l o a d i n g
m o d e . T h a t way, you d o n ' t have to m o v e the m u z z l e
off t h e s u s p e c t ' s p o s i t i o n .
Working by touch with your eyes concentrating
on the suspect, withdraw live cartridges from your
w e a k - s i d e p o c k e t or s l i n g o n e at a t i m e . A s y o u p u l l

An accessory like this ammunition


sling can be effective for speedloading
the shotgun but only if it's positioned on
the side nearest your body with the
shells stored primer-end up.

233
In speedloading a shotgun
with a side ejection port,
eject the last spent shell.
Now cup the first shell
in the curls of your
fingers.

Now reach under the re-


ceiver to the open ejection
port and insert the first
shell.

Then pull the slide for-


ward while you prepare to
insert additional rounds.
Your gaze remains in the
direction of the suspect's
location.

Additional shells are also


loaded by feel, from un-
derneath into the bottom
loading port.
a r o u n d o u t , f e e l for t h e b r a s s . Y o u w a n t t h e s h e l l
l y i n g a c r o s s t h e folds of y o u r f i n g e r s , w i t h t h e
p r i m e r e n d r e s t i n g a g a i n s t t h e i n s i d e of y o u r l i t t l e
f i n g e r . If n e c e s s a r y , t h i s a l l o w s y o u t o grasp t h e
foregrip of t h e s h o t g u n and fire w i t h o u t d r o p p i n g
the shell.
Bring each shell under the gun, up against the
f o r w a r d e n d of t h e trigger g u a r d , t h e n s l i d e it f o r w a r d
into the tube. U s e your t h u m b to push every shell
in u n t i l it is f i r m l y s e a t e d .
If y o u s h o u l d f i r e y o u r l a s t r o u n d b e f o r e r e -
loading, h e r e ' s a n o p t i o n for g e t t i n g b a c k i n t o a c t i o n
fast t h a t w i l l w o r k o n p o l i c e s h o t g u n s f e a t u r i n g a
side e j e c t i o n p o r t , s u c h as R e m i n g t o n , W i n c h e s t e r ,
Hi-Standard, Mossberg and S m i t h & W e s s o n . After
you shoot your last round, pull t h e slide b a c k to
e j e c t t h e s p e n t s h e l l b u t do not r u n t h e s l i d e for-
ward. T h i s leaves t h e side e j e c t i o n port open.
K e e p i n g t h e g u n i n t h e firing p o s i t i o n a n d w o r k i n g
by feel, bring your w e a k h a n d w i t h t h e first live
cartridge up under t h e s t o c k receiver and press t h e
shell into the open ejection port on t h e side. T h i s
w a y y o u are l o a d i n g d i r e c t l y i n t o t h e c h a m b e r . T h e n
m o v e t h e slide forward to rack t h e round in place,
and y o u c a n fire i m m e d i a t e l y . If y o u ' r e u n d e r a t t a c k ,
you can repeat this c y c l e : a d v a n c e . . . s h o o t . . . e j e c t . . .
r e l o a d o n e s h e l l , s o l o n g as y o u h a v e s p a r e a m m u -
nition. By loading four additional rounds into t h e
m a g a z i n e l o a d i n g port u n d e r n e a t h t h e g u n , y o u c a n
fill y o u r s h o t g u n w i t h five l i v e r o u n d s , so i n e f f e c t ,
y o u ' v e gained an extra shot. (With the b o t t o m -
loading I t h a c a b r a n d , w h i c h s o m e d e p a r t m e n t s u s e ,
y o u c a n ' t l o a d d i r e c t l y i n t o t h e side e j e c t i o n p o r t
b e c a u s e it d o e s n ' t h a v e o n e . B u t y o u c a n s t i l l g e t
live s h e l l s b a c k i n t o y o u r g u n w i t h o u t t a k i n g it o u t
of a c o m b a t p o s i t i o n b y l o a d i n g d i r e c t l y i n t o t h e
m a g a z i n e l o a d i n g p o r t , as w e ' v e d e s c r i b e d , as s o o n
as y o u s h o o t dry. T h e n r a c k t h e a c t i o n . T h e l a s t
s p e n t s h e l l w i l l e j e c t a n d as y o u m o v e t h e s l i d e for-
ward, a fresh round will c h a m b e r . )
R e m e m b e r , t h o u g h , if y o u l o s e c o u n t of y o u r
shots and u n w i t t i n g l y k i c k out the last shell and
t h e n run the slide forward on an e m p t y c h a m b e r
before reloading any shotgun, you'll have to pull the
trigger a n d dry fire o n c e or h i t t h e s l i d e r e l e a s e
button on s o m e models to be able to rack a live
round in place.

Back-Up Gun

T h e f a s t e s t r e l o a d is a s e c o n d g u n . W h i l e y o u ' r e
n o t r e q u i r e d t o carry a n a l t e r n a t e w e a p o n , a b o u t 5 0
per c e n t of all o f f i c e r s do. I t ' s g o o d i n s u r a n c e
provided you have practiced w i t h your back-up gun
to the point t h a t you h a v e the s a m e proficiency w i t h
it a s w i t h y o u r s e r v i c e f i r e a r m . S o m e o f f i c e r s s i m p l y
c a r r y a d u p l i c a t e of t h e i r p r i m a r y g u n . T h e f a c t t h a t
b o t h w e a p o n s m e c h a n i c a l l y o p e r a t e t h e s a m e aids
p r o f i c i e n c y ; t h e r e ' s n o n e e d t o s w i t c h t a c t i c s or
t h o u g h t p r o c e s s e s as y o u s w i t c h w e a p o n s . A l s o ,
t h e s a m e t y p e of a m m u n i t i o n w i l l fit b o t h w e a p o n s .
M o s t o f f i c e r s c a r r y f o u r - i n c h b a r r e l r e v o l v e r s as t h e i r
primary weapon and choose the two-inch snub-nose
as a b a c k - u p g u n .
T y p i c a l l y , a b a c k - u p g u n is u s e d w h e n y o u ' r e
o u t of a m m u n i t i o n o r d i s a r m e d . It c a n a l s o h e l p y o u
recover from a mechanical malfunction. Two
C h i c a g o o f f i c e r s r e s p o n d e d t o a c a l l of " s h o t s b e i n g
fired o n t h e s t r e e t , " a n d w h e n t h e y a r r i v e d t h e y
w e r e fired o n b y t h e s u s p e c t . T h e y t o o k c o v e r a n d
returned fire. B u t on one officer's second shot, his
.357 M a g n u m jammed. Later he learned that the
f i r i n g p i n w a s d e f e c t i v e , b u t at t h e m o m e n t t h e
malfunction caused h i m little concern. He holstered
the revolver...immediately drew a .45 cal. semi-
automatic from his second holster...and helped his
p a r t n e r q u i c k l y r e s o l v e t h e c o n f r o n t a t i o n . In a n o t h e r
instance, an officer approaching a grocery store
w h e r e a robbery w a s in progress reached for his
service revolverand discovered his holster was
e m p t y . A defect in t h e holster had allowed t h e gun
t o slip o u t u n n o t i c e d w h i l e t h e o f f i c e r w a s s t i l l i n
h i s p a t r o l c a r , a n d it n o w lay y a r d s b e y o n d h i s r e a c h
b e t w e e n t h e s e a t a n d t h e d o o r of t h e v e h i c l e . B e -
cause he carried a second gun, a snub-nose .38, he
w a s a b l e t o d r a w it f r o m i t s h o l s t e r a n d p r o c e e d
w i t h h i s approach, w h e r e h i s life o t h e r w i s e m i g h t
have been in considerable jeopardy.
N o t t o b e o v e r l o o k e d is t h e p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t a
b a c k - u p g u n c a n g i v e y o u o n e m o r e edge i n u s i n g
surprise against a suspect. M o r e than once a suspect
w h o thought an officer was reloading has decided to
j u m p h i m . B u t i n s t e a d of r u s h i n g a d e f e n s e l e s s m a n ,
the suspect has rushed toward a back-up gun, w h i c h
dropped h i m t h e n and there.

236
FINAL APPROACH

T h e shooting's over...the s m o k e has cleared...


y o u r a s s a i l a n t is d o w n or s e e m s r e a d y t o s u r r e n d e r .
Don't ielax! Y o u ' r e e n t e r i n g o n e of t h e m o s t dan-
g e r o u s p h a s e s of a n a r m e d e n c o u n t e r .
Even in i n c i d e n t s w h e r e there h a s b e e n n o
s h o o t i n g o r e v e n a n y e v i d e n c e of f i r e a r m s u p t o
n o w y o u r f i n a l a p p r o a c h for a n a r r e s t is f r a u g h t
w i t h h a z a r d . Y e a r a f t e r y e a r , t h e g r e a t e s t n u m b e r of
officers are killed during t h e period w h e n t h e y are
m o v i n g in and trying to take a suspect into custody,
r e g a r d l e s s of w h a t h a s g o n e b e f o r e .
A s m a l l s a m p l i n g s h o w s j u s t a f e w of t h e m a n y
w a y s in w h i c h t h i n g s c a n go w r o n g :
After a gun battle w i t h a suspect w h o ' d shot a
w o m a n , o f f i c e r s k i c k e d o p e n t h e d o o r of t h e b e d -
r o o m f r o m w h i c h h e ' d been firing and found h i m
lying on the floor, apparently dead. T h e y relaxed
and h o l s t e r e d t h e i r g u n s as t h e y w a l k e d t o w a r d h i m .
Suddenly he rolled over and c a m e up w i t h a revolver
in his hand. H e shot t w o officers before t h e others
got b a c k o n t a r g e t . . . A t a n e m o t i o n - p a c k e d s h o o t i n g
scene, where an officer had just shot an assailant, a
back-up officer ran up to the body and grabbed the
suspect's .45 cal. s e m i - a u t o m a t i c , w h i c h was lying
by his side. " I ' v e got t h e gun! I t ' s all right n o w ! "
he y e l l e d t h e n , in his stress and e x c i t e m e n t , h e
i n e x p l i c a b l y t u r n e d i n t h e d i r e c t i o n of o t h e r o f f i c e r s
and l e t l o o s e t w o s h o t s . . . I n N o r t h C a r o l i n a , a s m a l l
town police chief arrested a m a n w h o m h e ' d found
in a suspicious car w i t h a sawed-off s h o t g u n .
Having recovered one weapon, the chief didn't
b o t h e r t o l o o k for o t h e r s . T h e s u s p e c t h a d a s e c o n d
g u n c o n c e a l e d i n h i s c l o t h i n g . H e d r e w it a n d f a t a l l y
w o u n d e d t h e chief in t h e s h o u l d e r . . . A state trooper
successfully apprehended three jailbreakers single-
h a n d e d i n A r k a n s a s a n d h a n d c u f f e d t h e m as t h e y
lay docilely face-down o n the ground. H i s t e c h n i q u e
for handcuffing m u l t i p l e s u s p e c t s w a s improper
t h o u g h , a n d as h e w a s g e t t i n g t h e p r i s o n e r s t o
their feet, o n e m a n a g e d to draw a .357 M a g n u m
and s h o o t the trooper dead...In W a s h i n g t o n state, a
young p a t r o l m a n was placing a m a n under arrest in
connection with a disturbance complaint when the
suspect unexpectedly started to struggle. H e grabbed
t h e o f f i c e r ' s s e r v i c e r e v o l v e r a n d fired f i v e f a t a l
s h o t s i n t o h i m at c l o s e r a n g e . . . U n d e r c o v e r o f f i c e r s
in A t l a n t a ordered three teenagers up against a van
after spotting t h e m breaking into autos. T h e y
a p p e a r e d t o b e u n a r m e d , b u t as t h e o f f i c e r s ap-
p r o a c h e d , o n e of t h e s u s p e c t s w h i p p e d o u t a h i d d e n
handgun and sent a fatal shot blasting into one
officer's head...In T e x a s , a sheriff's deputy arrested
a teenager for burglarizing a service s t a t i o n , but
failed to search h i m thoroughly before placing h i m
in a patrol car. Enroute to the sheriff's office, the
suspect drew a . 2 2 cal. handgun, s h o t t h e deputy in
t h e head and chest, t h e n fled in h i s patrol car...
E l s e w h e r e in t h e s o u t h w e s t , a p a t r o l m a n was trying
to arrest a m a n on an outstanding traffic warrant.
As he concentrated on this suspect, a second subject
w h o m he hadn't seen rushed h i m from behind,
k n o c k e d h i m to t h e ground and shot h i m fatally in
the chest.

S o m e t i m e s a final approach snafu escalates on a


g i a n t s c a l e . In a w e s t c o a s t u n i v e r s i t y t o w n , a
middle-aged sergeant was trying to handcuff a
prowler he'd arrested w h e n the suspect started to
scuffle. Before the incident finally ended, the
suspect: grabbed the sergeant's .38 cal. service
revolver...killed h i m with a shot to the head...
was attacked w i t h a hand axe by a civilian w i t n e s s . . .
shot and wounded the citizen...ran into a nearby
residence, where he took two persons hostage...shot
a n d k i l l e d o n e of t h e h o s t a g e s , a f o u r - y e a r - o l d g i r l . . .
and was eventually killed h i m s e l f hours after the
e p i s o d e s t a r t e d , b y o n e of t h e o f f i c e r s w h o sur-
rounded the residence.
M u c h of t h e h a z a r d of a f i n a l a p p r o a c h , of
c o u r s e , is b u i l t i n . If y o u h a v e n ' t b e e n c l o s e t o t h e
suspect before, the final approach forces you there.
T h e c l o s e r y o u c o m e , t h e g r e a t e r y o u r c h a n c e of,
b e i n g i n j u r e d or k i l l e d . O n c e y o u m o v e w i t h i n a r m ' s
length, y o u ' r e in t h e zone w h e r e t h e m o s t trouble
o c c u r s a n d the m o s t officers die. Y o u ' r e under
p r e s s u r e , t o o , t o g e t t h e i n c i d e n t c o n c l u d e d ; if
y o u ' v e b e e n s h o t at b y t h e s u s p e c t a l r e a d y , y o u
naturally w a n t to bring h i m fully under control
b e f o r e h e c a n a t t a c k again, a n d if h e h a s n ' t y e t
p r e s e n t e d t h r e a t s of v i o l e n c e , y o u w a n t t o r e s t r a i n
h i m before he gets the idea to. T h e r e ' s m u c h to
dodisarm, handcuff, search, transport, perhaps
deactivate dangerous weapons, deal w i t h hostile
crowds, preserve evidence. It's easy to get distracted.
A n d if y o u h a v e m o r e t h a n o n e s u s p e c t t o d e a l w i t h ,
your responsibilities, stressand risksare m u l -
tiplied.
As w i t h y o u r i n i t i a l a p p r o a c h t o t h e s c e n e , t h e
f i r s t r u l e for s u r v i v i n g y o u r f i n a l a p p r o a c h i s : do
not rush...don't be in a hurry to put your gun
a w a y . . . t a k e your t i m e . T h e action m a y not be over
y e t , a n d y o u r g u n w i l l o n l y s e r v e y o u b e s t if i t ' s i n
your hand. Speed breeds carelessness and the inad-
v e r t e n t o v e r l o o k i n g of l i f e s a v i n g d e t a i l s .

In this photograph stands an unhand-


cuffed suspect who surrendered to police
after he abducted his wife at gunpoint
and assaulted a hospital therapist during
the abduction. A search later revealed
one . 12ga. shotgun and two semi-
automatic pistols in his house. Which
one is the offender!

239
If a s u s p e c t a p p e a r s t o b e s u b m i t t i n g , d o n ' t
a s s u m e t h a t h e i s . A p p e a r a n c e s c a n b e f a t a l l y de-
c e p t i v e . A n officer sent to stop a bar b r a w l in
P h i l a d e l p h i a p o s i t i o n e d h i m s e l f o u t s i d e a n d or-
dered t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s t o c o m e o u t a n d s u r r e n d e r .
O n e m a n , wearing a w h i t e apron, emerged w i t h his
hands behind his head. He looked compliant, but
w h a t t h e o f f i c e r c o u l d n ' t s e e w h e n l o o k i n g at t h e
m a n h e a d - o n w a s t h a t i n o n e of h i s h a n d s t h e
suspect held a .45 cal. s e m i - a u t o m a t i c . A noise
distracted the officer m o m e n t a r i l y . T h e suspect
w h i p p e d h i s h a n d d o w n f r o m b e h i n d h i s h e a d , fired
and hit the officer squarely.
A s u s p e c t ' s h a n d s , as a l w a y s , s h o u l d b e t h e
f o c u s of y o u r a t t e n t i o n , e s p e c i a l l y t h o s e y o u c a n ' t
s e e . S o m e o f f i c e r s as t h e y g e t c l o s e t e n d t o l o o k
i n t o a s u s p e c t ' s e y e s . His eyes can't kill you, but
his hands might. K e e p t r a c k of w h a t t h e y ' r e d o i n g .

R e m e m b e r , any arrest, e v e n for t h e m o s t insig-


n i f i c a n t o f f e n s e , s h o u l d b e r e g a r d e d as a p o t e n t i a l l y
dangerous situation. An offender you're approaching
b e c a u s e of a m i n o r c r i m e m a y b e w a n t e d f o r a
s e r i o u s o f f e n s e e l s e w h e r e , or h e m a y b e m e n t a l l y
u n s t a b l e and unpredictable.
T h e r e are a v a r i e t y of t a c t i c a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s
y o u s h o u l d b e c o n s c i o u s of as y o u m o v e i n . If y o u ' v e
g o t t e n t h i s far w i t h o u t g e t t i n g s h o t , t h e r i g h t p r o c e -
dures n o w can s u c c e s s f u l l y carry y o u over this last
t r i c k y a n d p e r i l o u s h u m p . F o r t h e r e m a i n d e r of t h i s
chapter, w e ' l l assume there has been an armed con-
f r o n t a t i o n or t h a t y o u ' v e s e e n a w e a p o n , s o y o u
know t h e s u s p e c t y o u ' r e a p p r o a c h i n g is d a n g e r o u s .
H o w e v e r , m a n y of t h e s a m e p r i n c i p l e s w i l l apply i n
situations that s e e m nonviolent, also.

Disarming

Before you m o v e out from behind cover, you


w a n t y o u r a s s a i l a n t d i s a r m e d of a n y v i s i b l e w e a p -
o n s . If y o u ' v e s h o t h i m , h e m a y h a v e dropped h i s
gun already. O t h e r w i s e , he m a y respond to verbal
c o m m a n d s . As a first step, y o u w a n t h i m t o put his
trigger f i n g e r o u t s i d e t h e t r i g g e r g u a r d . T h e n y o u
want h i m to release his hold on the gun.
O f t e n s u s p e c t s are r e l u c t a n t t o drop a g u n o n a
h a r d s u r f a c e , e s p e c i a l l y if t h e y ' v e p a i d f o r it r a t h e r
than stolen it. T h i s w i l l certainly be true w h e r e the
" s u s p e c t " r e a l l y is a n o f f - d u t y or p l a i n c l o t h e s
o f f i c e r . A l s o , s o m e f i r e a r m s , n o t a b l y s h o t g u n s and
c e r t a i n s e m i - a u t o m a t i c s , m a y d i s c h a r g e if d r o p p e d ,
e x p o s i n g y o u t o t h e r i s k of a n u n i n t e n t i o n a l h i t .
S o y o u m a y do b e s t if y o u o r d e r y o u r a s s a i l a n t t o

240
lay d o w n h i s g u n very slowly. In P h o e n i x , p o l i c e
t r i e d , u n s u c c e s s f u l l y , t o get a b a r r i c a d e d m e n t a l
p a t i e n t t o drop h i s r i f l e o u t of a w i n d o w . H e ' d j u s t
b o u g h t it a n d w a s c o n c e r n e d a b o u t g e t t i n g it s c u f f e d
u p . H e f i n a l l y did agree t o w r a p t h e g u n i n a t o w e l
and p u t it o u t s i d e h i s door.
O n c e the suspect relinquishes his gun, have
h i m (and a n y o t h e r s u s p e c t s ) t a k e at l e a s t t h r e e s t e p s
a w a y f r o m it so it is o u t of r e a c h . ( T h i s a p p l i e s ,
i n c i d e n t a l l y , e v e n w h e r e t h e s u s p e c t ' s w e a p o n is n o t
a firearm. T w o Illinois officers spotted a m a n
walking down a ghetto street with a seven-inch
b u t c h e r knife in his hand. Four t i m e s they ordered
h i m t o drop i t . F i n a l l y , h e s t u c k it i n a w a l l b e h i n d
h i m . T h e officers, however, neglected to have h i m
m o v e a w a y , and w h e n t h e y g o t c l o s e h e g r a b b e d t h e
k n i f e a n d t r i e d t o a t t a c k t h e m . In t h i s c a s e , t h e
suspect was shot; had his weapon been a gun, t h e
o u t c o m e might have been m u c h different.)
O n issuing c o m m a n d s to the suspect, speak
s l o w l y a n d in s h o r t p h r a s e s so t h e r e w i l l b e n o
doubt that he understands your i n t e n t i o n s . Under
no circumstances should you leave cover to accept
a gun directly from a suspect.

Incapacitation

A s u s p e c t is s a f e s t for y o u t o a p p r o a c h if h e ' s i n
a p o s i t i o n t h a t m a k e s it d i f f i c u l t f o r h i m t o strug-
g l e . . . try t o grab y o u r f i r e a r m . . . o r t o r e a c h a h i d d e n
g u n . If h e ' s l u c i d e n o u g h t o u n d e r s t a n d a n d f o l l o w
orders and a b l e t o m o v e , y o u c a n get h i m s i t u a t e d
before y o u s t a r t t o w a r d h i m . If y o u ' r e w o r k i n g w i t h
a p a r t n e r o r b a c k - u p , o n l y o n e of y o u s h o u l d g i v e t h e
o r d e r s . T e l l t h e s u s p e c t f i r s t , in summary, what
NOU are g o i n g t o w a n t h i m t o do, b u t m a k e c l e a r
p e is n o t t o m o v e u n t i l y o u g i v e t h e c o m m a n d a n d
t h e n do specifically w h a t y o u s a y and no more.
Let h i m k n o w t h a t if h e d i s o b e y s , y o u ' l l b e f o r c e d
:o t a k e " a p p r o p r i a t e a c t i o n . "
T h e r e are s e v e r a l p o s i t i o n s in w h i c h a s u s p e c t ' s
capacity t o m o v e w i l l be l i m i t e d . T h e t r a d i t i o n a l
a c t i c is t o u s e a w a l l or o t h e r v e r t i c a l s u r f a c e , l i k e
h e side of a v a n . If y o u u s e t h i s a p p r o a c h , c h o o s e a
;pot a w a y f r o m w i n d o w s . T h e s u s p e c t m a y t r y t o
;scape b y p l u n g i n g t h r o u g h a w i n d o w or t h e g l a s s
nay reflect your m o v e m e n t s behind h i m . W i t h the
u s p e c t f a c i n g t h e w a l l , order h i m t o s p r e a d h i s
i n g e r s and p l a c e h i s h a n d s a g a i n s t t h e s u r f a c e a b o u t
t t o 4 f e e t a p a r t . T h e n h a v e h i m spread h i s l e g s
nd m o v e h i s f e e t b a c k 4 t o 5 f e e t f r o m t h e w a l l .
Searches should focus on controlling
the hands. Yet with this position, con-
sider the possibilities for the suspect
to kick your groin, grab your hand or
tell the suspect next to him to assault
you or disarm you.

242
T h i s s l a n t s h i s b o d y at a b o u t a 4 5 - d e g r e e a n g l e f r o m
the wall, hampering q u i c k m o v e m e n t on his part.
If y o u ' r e o u t i n t h e o p e n , y o u c a n h a v e t h e s u s -
pect kneel, facing away from you, w i t h his fingers
intertwined behind his n e c k or head. His right a n k l e
should be crossed over his left. Again, this h a m p e r s
a n y a b r u p t , m a j o r m o v e m e n t , a n d , as w e ' l l s e e , g e t s
h i m in a position w h e r e you can c o n t r o l h i m during
y o u r h a n d c u f f i n g a n d s e a r c h . If y o u n o t i c e a g u n
s t u c k in t h e s u s p e c t ' s w a i s t b a n d w h i l e m a n e u v e r i n g
him into this position, it's imperative that he not
be allowed to m o v e his hands from b e h i n d his n e c k .
If h e ' s a t h r e e - t i m e l o s e r , l o o k i n g at a l o n g p r i s o n
t e r m or t h e d e a t h p e n a l t y , h e m a y t r y t o go for t h e
g u n a n d t a k e y o u o u t e v e n w i t h t h e odds h e a v i l y
against h i m . F r o m the kneeling position, tell h i m to
fall f o r w a r d w i t h o u t t a k i n g h i s h a n d s d o w n . E v e n
if it k n o c k s h i s t e e t h o u t , t h i s m a y b e t h e s a f e s t
p o s i t i o n for y o u .
Probably the all-around best position for
t e m p o r a r i l y i n c a p a c i t a t i n g a s u s p e c t is t o h a v e h i m
p r o n e o u t . If h e ' s a g a i n s t a w a l l , h e m a y t r y t o s p i n
off, or if h e ' s k n e e l i n g , h e c a n s t i l l r e a c h for a h i d d e n
gun. Prone, h e has the least o p p o r t u n i t y for m o v e -
m e n t . Order h i m face down on the ground, arms
outstretched straight from his body, w i t h his palms
turned up. Y o u want his head away from your
i n t e n d e d r o u t e of a p p r o a c h . T r y t o g e t h i s h e a d
t u r n e d s o h i s v i s i o n is f u l l y b l o c k e d l i k e l o o k i n g
i n t o a t i r e , r a t h e r t h a n o u t at t h e p e r i m e t e r of a c t i o n .
T o the extent possible, you don't want h i m to k n o w
w h a t y o u are d o i n g . . . y o u d o n ' t g i v e h i m a n y s l a c k
he might use against you.

Approach Position

A s y o u m o v e in c l o s e , y o u w a n t t o s h i f t y o u r
g u n o u t of t h e t w o - h a n d , i n s t i n c t s h o o t i n g h o l d . F o r
c l o s e p r o x i m i t y , a g u n o u t at y o u r a r m ' s l e n g t h is a n
o p e n i n v i t a t i o n for a s u s p e c t t o t r y t o grab or k i c k
it and d i s a r m y o u .
A s y o u get w i t h i n 1 0 o r 6 f e e t of t h e s u s p e c t ,
you should pull the gun b a c k in your shooting hand
a n d " l o c k " it i n j u s t a b o v e y o u r h i p . Y o u r e l b o w w i l l
be b e n t a n d t h e h e e l of y o u r h a n d t o u c h i n g y o u r side
b e t w e e n y o u r l o w e r rib a n d t h e t o p of y o u r h i p b o n e
or g u n b e l t . O n l y t h e g u n ' s m u z z l e s h o u l d e x t e n d
o u t b e y o n d y o u r s t o m a c h . In t h i s p o s i t i o n , y o u c a n
s t i l l fire a h e a d at c l o s e r a n g e o r p i v o t t o e n g a g e
s e v e r a l s u s p e c t s and b e r e a s o n a b l y c e r t a i n of h i t t i n g
t h e m in a n e f f e c t i v e s p o t . A l s o , t h i s p o s i t i o n l e a v e s
y o u a h a n d f r e e t o c o n t a c t t h e s u s p e c t or s h o v e h i m
b a c k if h e l u n g e s for y o u . Y o u c a n a d v a n c e w i t h t h i s
hand up and ready, holding your handcuffs, w h i c h
you t a k e from their carrier on your w e a k h a n d side.
N o t e : T h i s h i p or " c l o s e c o m b a t " p o s i t i o n for
y o u r g u n s h o u l d b e u s e d only d u r i n g t h e f i n a l ap-
p r o a c h p e r i o d a n d not as a s u b s t i t u t e f o r t h e i n s t i n c t
s h o o t i n g p o s i t i o n s m o r e a p p r o p r i a t e for o t h e r
distances.
T r y to approach so t h e suspect c a n n o t observe
your m o v e m e n t s w i t h o u t turning and looking to
find you. Order h i m to turn his face away f r o m you.
If h e t r i e s t o l o o k , i n s t r u c t h i m f i r m l y n o t t o do s o .
If h e ' s d o w n , a p p r o a c h f r o m h i s f e e t ; i t ' l l b e h a r d e r
for h i m t o s e e y o u , a n d y o u ' l l h a v e s l i g h t l y l o n g e r
t o r e a c t if h e t r i e s t o a t t a c k . B e e x t r e m e l y c a u t i o u s
if h e h a s f a l l e n w i t h h i s g u n s t i l l i n h i s h a n d or
w i t h i n r e a c h . He may be faking death or serious
injury.
A suspect wanted in three homicides If p o s s i b l e , a p p r o a c h f r o m a n a n g l e t h a t l e t s y o u
is approached by an officer making body t a k e a d v a n t a g e of a v a i l a b l e c o v e r a n d t h a t w i l l g i v e
contact with a shotgun. Maintaining y o u a c l e a r f i e l d of f i r e , w i t h o u t e n d a n g e r i n g i n n o -
a safe distance from any suspect avoids c e n t c i v i l i a n s or f e l l o w o f f i c e r s . If y o u h a v e t o s h o o t ,
the possibility of your being assaulted
you w a n t to concern yourself only w i t h hitting the
or disarmed by a suspect who knows
you 're within range to receive a kick suspect and protecting yourself.
or grab the barrel of your firearm.

244
Always make it a rule to approach any
suspect so he can't see your approach.
A s u s p e c t m a y try t o t a l k t o y o u , t o e x p l a i n h i s How would you approach this armed
a c t i o n s . . . h e a p on abuse...plead for a b r e a k . . . o r ask suspect!
q u e s t i o n s . T e l l h i m t o shut up-, r e f u s e a n y r e q u e s t
he m a k e s . C h a t t e r will tend to relax or distract you.
Y o u w a n t no unnecessary conversation u n t i l after
he has been secured and searched.
A b o v e all, S T A Y A L E R T . T h e s u s p e c t m a y h a v e
a h i d d e n g u n y o u h a v e n ' t s e e n . Do not take a verbal
surrender at face value, n o m a t t e r h o w s i n c e r e it
s o u n d s or h o w b a d l y w o u n d e d y o u r a s s a i l a n t m a y
seem to be.

Handcuffing
W h e n y o u h a v e a p a r t n e r or w o r k a n a p p r o a c h
w i t h a b a c k - u p o f f i c e r , h e c o v e r s y o u as y o u m o v e
in, u s i n g a n i n s t i n c t s h o o t i n g h o l d o n h i s g u n a n d
m a k i n g s u r e n e i t h e r of y o u is i n a c r o s s - f i r e p o s i t i o n .
Y o u give the orders and your partner r e m a i n s quiet,
e x c e p t t o w a r n y o u of d a n g e r . E v e n t h o u g h h e is
covering, y o u keep your gun out, in t h e close
quarters position, until you m a k e physical c o n t a c t
w i t h t h e suspect and bring h i s h a n d under c o n t r o l
for h a n d c u f f i n g . In n u m e r o u s c a s e s , o f f i c e r s h a v e
been shot during a final approach, despite t h e pres-
e n c e of a p a r t n e r . T h e y t h i n k t h a t w i t h h i m p r o -

245
v i d i n g c o v e r , h e ' l l do w h a t n e e d s t o b e d o n e a n d
drop t h e i r o w n g u a r d .
If y o u ' r e a l o n e , y o u ' l l a l s o w a n t y o u r g u n d r a w n
u n t i l t i m e t o c u f f . Y o u w a n t it r e a d y t o f i r e , d o u b l e -
action...not cocked. Y o u ' v e possibly seen officers
at l e a s t t h e t e l e v i s i o n a c t o r s w h o d o n ' t k n o w t o o
m u c h a b o u t g u n s p l a c e t h e m u z z l e of a c o c k e d
g u n a g a i n s t t h e h e a d of a s u s p e c t w h i l e t h e y b r i n g
h i m u n d e r c o n t r o l . T h i s is a h i g h l y d a n g e r o u s t a c t i c .
A gun close to a suspect's body m a y encourage h i m
t o t r y t o grab i t . M o r e o v e r , a c o c k e d f i r e a r m r e q u i r e s
o n l y a f r a c t i o n of n o r m a l t r i g g e r p u l l t o s h o o t ; if t h e
s u s p e c t m o v e s or y o u s l i p , y o u c o u l d e a s i l y f i r e a n d
k i l l h i m u n i n t e n t i o n a l l y . In o n e m i d w e s t e r n c o m -
m u n i t y , a narcotics investigator w h o allegedly
used this tactic shot reflexively w h e n a suspect
b u t t e d b a c k w a r d s and hit h i m in t h e groin. T h e
round fatally wounded the suspect. At this writing,
t h e o f f i c e r a n d h i s p a r t n e r a r e f a c i n g a l a w s u i t of
nearly $1 million, brought by the v i c t i m ' s family,
c h a r g i n g e x c e s s i v e u s e of f o r c e a n d w r o n g f u l d e a t h .
S o m e t i m e s it's the officer w h o ends up shot. In the
s t r e s s of t h e m o m e n t , y o u m a y u n w i t t i n g l y r e t u r n
your gun to its holster cocked, where a hard blow
or c a r e l e s s d r a w c a n c a u s e it t o f i r e .
W h e n it is t i m e t o r e h o l s t e r y o u r s i d e a r m , do
s o w i t h o u t l o o k i n g d o w n at y o u r g u n , s o y o u c a n

Putting a cocked revolver to the head


of an arrestee like this purse snatch
suspect increases your risk. You also
want to avoid placing your firearm in
reach of the suspect.

246
keep your eyes and attention fully on the suspect.
R e f a s t e n t h e r e s t r a i n i n g s t r a p a n d remain aware of
your gun, e v e n t h o u g h i t ' s n o l o n g e r i n y o u r h a n d .
A L W A Y S k e e p y o u r g u n side t u r n e d a w a y f r o m t h e
s u s p e c t t o safeguard y o u r f i r e a r m .
W h e n y o u ' r e alone and have your shotgun that
you've taken into the confrontation, you'll be able
t o s l i n g it o v e r y o u r s h o u l d e r if it h a s a s t r a p , t h u s
k e e p i n g it o n y o u r b a c k a n d o u t of y o u r w a y . W h e r e
t h i s is n o t p o s s i b l e , y o u r s a f e s t o p t i o n is t o u n l o a d
t h e s h o t g u n . . . m o v e t h e slide t o t h e o p e n p o s i t i o n . . .
p u t t h e s a f e t y o n . . . a n d lay t h e g u n d o w n w h e r e it
c a n ' t be d i s t u r b e d , w h i l e y o u h a n d l e y o u r a d v e r s a r y .
If b y s t a n d e r s or o t h e r f a c t o r s m a k e t h a t i m p r a c t i c a l ,
y o u r b e s t b e t p r o b a b l y is j u s t t o k e e p y o u r a s s a i l a n t
covered and under control until back-up help
arrives.
T h e s u s p e c t w h o ' s d o w n , e i t h e r d e a d or i n j u r e d ,
s h o u l d be a p p r o a c h e d w i t h t h e a s s u m p t i o n h e ' s
still alive and dangerous. Y o u and your partner When you and your back-up assume an
"L" or right-angle position to a suspect,
should consider approaching h i m simultaneously,
you minimize the possibility of a cross-
guns drawn, because w i t h a suspect in this position, fire situation. You 're also making it
i t ' s h a r d w i t h o n l y o n e of t h e o f f i c e r s a p p r o a c h i n g difficult for the suspect to shoot both
of you.
While a back-up officer provides cover,
you approach the incapacitated suspect
from a safe angle.

You step on his wrist to prevent any


arm or hand movement which could
result in a discharge.

248
t o a v o i d a c r o s s - f i r e s i t u a t i o n . Y o u w a n t t o c o m e at
h i m in a n " L " p o s i t i o n o n e of y o u a p p r o a c h i n g
from his feet, one from his side. W i t h this deploy-
m e n t , e a c h of y o u c a n s h o o t w i t h o u t h i t t i n g t h e
o t h e r . If y o u r a s s a i l a n t h a s h i s g u n s t i l l i n h i s h a n d ,
o n e of y o u s h o u l d w a l k u p o n t h e s i d e w h e r e t h e
g u n i s , b u t n e v e r a p p r o a c h or s t a n d s o t h e m u z z l e
is p o i n t i n g at y o u . W h e n y o u r e a c h h i s s i d e , s t e p o n
h i s w r i s t h a r d t o p r e v e n t a n y a r m or h a n d m o v e m e n t
that would enable h i m to shoot. U s e your foot
n e a r e s t h i s b o d y for b e s t b a l a n c e . H o l s t e r y o u r g u n
w i t h o u t dropping y o u r e y e s f r o m t h e s u s p e c t . M a k e
c e r t a i n h i s g u n is u n c o c k e d . T h e n u s e b o t h y o u r
h a n d s t o t w i s t it o u t of h i s f i n g e r s . C l a m p y o u r
s t r o n g h a n d o v e r t h e c y l i n d e r or s l i d e t o c o n t r o l t h e
gun while s i m u l t a n e o u s l y pulling his finger away
f r o m it w i t h y o u r w e a k h a n d . O n c e h e ' s s a f e l y dis-
armed, handcuff h i m behind his back, search h i m
t h o r o u g h l y for o t h e r g u n s , u n l o a d t h e s u s p e c t ' s
w e a p o n ) s ) a n d t h e n c h e c k for v i t a l s i g n s .
W i t h a s u s p e c t w h o ' s k n e e l i n g or a g a i n s t a w a l l ,
you can approach alone with your partner covering
in the " L " position. Y o u w a n t to use your feet in

After securing the suspect's firearm,


you now step backward while main-
taining a visual on the suspect's hands.

249
m a k i n g p h y s i c a l c o n t a c t . If h e ' s s p r e a d a g a i n s t a
wall, first place your non-gun hand b e t w e e n his
shoulder blades and press down slightly. T h i s puts
additional pressure on the suspect and allows you
t o f e e l a n y a t t e m p t h e m i g h t m a k e t o p u s h off t h e
w a l l a n d t u r n o n y o u . O n c e y o u r h a n d is i n p l a c e ,
t h e t r a d i t i o n a l a p p r o a c h is t o h o o k y o u r r i g h t f o o t
t o t h e i n s i d e of h i s r i g h t o n e w h i l e y o u t a k e c o n t r o l
of h i s r i g h t h a n d . S h o u l d h e t r y t o p u s h b a c k f r o m
In a wall search you want to keep the the wall, you can shove down hard b e t w e e n his
suspect off balance with his feet spread shoulder blades, forcing his head into the wall, then
wide apart with his body angled sharply q u i c k l y slide your hand d o w n to h i s w a i s t b a n d and
to the wall.
pull b a c k hard, while s i m u l t a n e o u s l y k i c k i n g his
leg o u t f r o m u n d e r h i m .

After handcuffing, the suspect's head


position against the wall plus his body
angle give you control in moving him
away at your command.

Keep your sidearm in the close quarters


position. Some departments also recom-
mend the suspect's head be turned away
from the side being searched, with his
palms turned out.

250
1

One kneeling arrest position begins As you maintain your aim at the sus-
with the suspect's gun placed on the pect's center mass, you continue to use
ground with the suspect having taken precise commands to maintain suspect
three steps away from the gun. The control by his assuming the kneeling
suspect's fingers are interlaced against position.
the back of his head as you maintain
cover at the rear of the vehicle.

Commanding the suspect to spread his You now grasp the suspect's interlaced
legs as far apart as possible will keep fingers with your weak hand while
him off balance. The fingers are still simultaneously using your gun hand
kept interlaced at the back of the to push him forward. This has the
suspect's head. effect of bowing his back and keeping
him off balance.

251
Have the suspect cross his ankles then Handcuff the suspect's right hand first.
stride youifoot forward in front of his Place three fingers inside the handcuff
left knee and apply pressure against his ring and hold it as the suspect's left wrist
hip with your knee. is brought behind his back.

The right arm is now brought down and The suspect's left hand is handcuffed
around as you maintain pressure against while you hold his left hand at the
the suspect's hip. wrist.

252
The suspect is now put at a further The suspect's legs are also searched for
disadvantage by moving his head to weapons as you maintain control of the
the ground while kneeling. A search suspect's hands,
can now be safely continued for wea-
pons.

While keeping your leading foot against Movemen t to your patrol car can be
his knee, use your weak hand to grasp achieved by using the wrist-lock on the
his left arm. Your strong hand now holds suspect's right hand. He is now ready
onto his left hand as you begin to bring to transport safely,
him to a standing position.

253
In starting a prone arrest position, issue The suspect is then commanded to his
commands from behind cover. Com- knees and told to spread his legs far
mand him to interlace his fingers behind apart.

With his arms out, palms up, order him Raise his wrist as you push in on the
to cross his legs and face away from your back of his hand with your thumb and
approach. pull up with your fingers.

254
255
8

At this point you can easily cuff the


other hand by raising it first, then cuf-
fing. You now resecure the wrist by
reapplying the wrist-lock.

You now assist the suspect in safely


rising to his feet. You do so by placing
your left hand on his left arm and your
right hand on his right arm. As you pull
up, you twist him into a sitting position.

256
If h e ' s k n e e l i n g , o n e a p p r o a c h is t o c o m e f r o m
behind and place your left foot b e t w e e n h i s crossed
a n k l e s as y o u s i m u l t a n e o u s l y grasp t h e t o p t h r e e
f i n g e r s of o n e ' o f h i s i n t e r l o c k e d h a n d s . P u l l h i m
b a c k w a r d s w i t h t h e s m a l l of h i s b a c k r e s t i n g a g a i n s t
y o u r k n e e s o h e is off b a l a n c e . T h e n , w i t h y o u r s h i n
p r e s s i n g a g a i n s t h i s t o p a n k l e , s l i d e t h e a n k l e for-
ward until it's in t h e h o l l o w b e h i n d his left k n e e .
T h i s position, w h i c h has been tested against black
belt karate experts, allows you to keep both feet on
t h e g r o u n d and c h a n g e s h i s c e n t e r of g r a v i t y s o h e is
t h o r o u g h l y off b a l a n c e for m o v i n g . ( Y o u c a n p u t
h i m m o r e off b a l a n c e b y p u l l i n g b a c k s l i g h t l y as
y o u grip h i s f i n g e r s . )
T h e r e are t w o v a r i a t i o n s of t h i s t a c t i c : 1) s t a n d
w i t h y o u r l e f t f o o t o n t o p of h i s c r o s s e d a n k l e s . If
he resists, you can j a m your foot d o w n hard and
e i t h e r b r e a k h i s a n k l e ( s ) or at l e a s t i n f l i c t c o n s i d -
erable pain. T h i s position, however, tends to put
y o u off b a l a n c e a n d s u s c e p t i b l e t o f a l l i n g ; 2) s t i c k
t h e f r o n t of y o u r f o o t u n d e r h i s a n k l e s as t h e y a r e
c r o s s e d b e h i n d h i m . If h e m o v e s , l i f t y o u r f o o t
sharply, and h e ' l l pitch forward o n t o h i s face.
As y o u slide your foot i n t o w h a t e v e r position
y o u d e c i d e is a p p r o p r i a t e , q u i c k l y h a n d c u f f t h e
suspect's right wrist. U n l e s s you k n o w h i m to be
l e f t - h a n d e d , h i s r i g h t is c u f f e d f i r s t b e c a u s e t h e
c h a n c e is 9 0 per c e n t t h a t i t ' s h i s s t r o n g h a n d . B r i n g
it a r o u n d b e h i n d h i s b a c k . Y o u w a n t t o h a v e h i s
arm and wrist under c o n t r o l so y o u c a n inflict pain,
if n e c e s s a r y , s h o u l d h e s t r u g g l e or r e s i s t . T h e n in-
struct h i m to bring his other hand b e h i n d h i m . Y o u
c a n s t e a d y h i m if h e ' s k n e e l i n g ; if h e ' s a g a i n s t a
w a l l , h e c a n s u p p o r t h i s w e i g h t w i t h t h e t o p of h i s
h e a d . You want to cuff a suspect's hands behind
him only. It t h e y ' r e i n f r o n t , i t ' s t o o e a s y f o r h i m t o
grab for y o u r g u n or t o s w i n g h i s m a n a c l e d f i s t s

257
a s a p o w e r f u l w e a p o n i n a n d of t h e m s e l v e s . If
p o s s i b l e , s l i p t h e f r e e e n d of t h e c u f f s t h r o u g h h i s
belt before cuffing h i s left h a n d . T h i s w i l l further
restrict his m o v e m e n t s and prevent h i m f r o m step-
ping t h r o u g h h i s a r m s t o b r i n g h i s h a n d s t o t h e f r o n t
of h i s b o d y . C u f f h i m s o b o t h h i s p a l m s a r e f a c i n g
out, the fronts of his wrists against each other. And
be sure to double-lock the cuffs.

Vour opportunity to maintain suspect


control is diminished when handcuffing
righ t hand to left hand or left hand to
left hand with an officer sandwiched in
the middle.

258
O n rare o c c a s i o n s , you m a y n e e d to handcuff
a d e f o r m e d or i n j u r e d i n d i v i d u a l w h o c a n ' t b r i n g
his hands behind his b a c k . Here you can reduce the
r i s k s of f r o n t c u f f i n g s o m e w h a t b y t u r n i n g h i s b e l t
so t h e b u c k l e is i n t h e r e a r . T h e n p a s s t h e c u f f s
t h r o u g h t h e f r o n t of t h e b e l t a n d c u f f h i m w i t h h i s
palms out. T h i s keeps his arms close to his body
and lessens his ability to a t t a c k .
W h e n you have several suspects to handle,
your options m a y include:
Handcuffing two prisoners with one pair of
cuffs. W i t h t h e s u s p e c t s side b y s i d e , order t h e o n e
on the right to bring his right hand b e h i n d h i s b a c k .
T u r n h i s p a l m o u t a n d a t t a c h t h e cuff, t h e n p a s s t h e
free e n d of t h e h a n d c u f f s t h r o u g h h i s b e l t . N o w h a v e
the second suspect bring his right a r m to t h e rear.
Attach the cuff to his right wrist. T h i s leaves both
prisoners in a s o m e w h a t a w k w a r d position, less-
e n i n g t h e c h a n c e of t h e i r r u n n i n g or c o o r d i n a t i n g
a r m m o v e m e n t . A l t h o u g h it v i o l a t e s t h e g e n e r a l
rule about front cuffing, an acceptable alternative
w h e r e o n l y o n e s e t of c u f f s is a v a i l a b l e is t o c u f f
b o t h p r i s o n e r s ' r i g h t w r i s t s t o g e t h e r i n f r o n t of t h e i r
b o d i e s . T h i s , t o o , is a w k w a r d e n o u g h t o h a m p e r
e x t r e m e m o v e m e n t . Never handcuff two suspects
r i g h t h a n d t o l e f t h a n d . T h i s affords t h e m t o o m u c h
f r e e d o m of m o v e m e n t . ( S o m e o f f i c e r s c a r r y t w o s e t s
of c u f f s , w h i c h m a k e s h a n d c u f f i n g t w o p r i s o n e r s
l e s s of a p r o b l e m . )

Handcuffing two prisoners with two pairs of


cuffs. C u f f the first suspect w i t h h i s hands b e h i n d
his back, palms out. T h e n have the second suspect
interlock his right arm through the o t h e r ' s left arm
before you handcuff h i m in the usual palms-out
manner.
Handcuffing three prisoners with two pairs of
cuffs. T h e first s u s p e c t is c u f f e d t o t h e r e a r , p a l m s
o u t . T h e r i g h t a r m of t h e s e c o n d s u s p e c t is t h e n
i n t e r l o c k e d t h r o u g h h i s left a r m . N o w u s e y o u r
s e c o n d s e t of c u f f s t o h a n d c u f f t h e w r i s t of t h i s
i n t e r l o c k e d a r m t o t h e w r i s t of t h e t h i r d s u s p e c t ' s
right arm. W h e n t h e y ' r e l o c k e d together, all t h e
suspects should be facing in t h e s a m e direction.
Handcuffing four prisoners with two pairs of
cuffs. T h i s p r o c e d u r e is a n extremely risky one
b e c a u s e of y o u r n e c e s s a r y c l o s e p r o x i m i t y t o a l l
f o u r s u s p e c t s . Y o u s h o u l d n o t a t t e m p t it u n l e s s y o u
have a partner w h o can cover you. Y o u should be
u n a r m e d , and the suspects, in this case, should be
searched before you start t h e cuffing. P o s i t i o n t h e
first t w o s u s p e c t s s o t h e y are f a c i n g e a c h o t h e r , a n d
h a n d c u f f t h e i r r i g h t w r i s t s t o g e t h e r w i t h t h e first
s e t of c u f f s . T h i n k of t h e s e t w o s u s p e c t s as t h e
l a t e r a l p o i n t s of a f o u r - p o i n t e d s t a r . T h e o t h e r t w o
s u s p e c t s w i l l b e p o s i t i o n e d as if t h e y are t h e o t h e r
t w o p o i n t s . W i t h y o u r s e c o n d s e t of c u f f s , f i r s t
c u f f t h e r i g h t w r i s t of s u s p e c t n u m b e r t h r e e . N o w
p l a c e t h e r e m a i n i n g c u f f a r o u n d t h e l i n k s of t h e f i r s t
s e t of c u f f s a n d l o c k t h e s e l i n k s i n s i d e t h e cuff,
a l o n g w i t h t h e r i g h t w r i s t of s u s p e c t n u m b e r f o u r .
B e c a u s e of t h e d i f f i c u l t y t h e y ' l l h a v e i n m o v i n g ,
i t ' s h a r d t o t r a n s p o r t s u s p e c t s w h o are h a n d c u f f e d
in t h i s f a s h i o n . T h i s m a n n e r of c u f f i n g is u s u a l l y
p r a c t i c a l o n l y as a h o l d i n g p r o c e d u r e .
R e m e m b e r that your survival from this point
on m a y depend heavily on your getting your assail-
ant handcuffed firmly. W i t h female prisoners,
e s p e c i a l l y , o f f i c e r s o f t e n l e a v e c u f f s t o o l o o s e so as
n o t t o c a u s e p a i n or d i s c o m f o r t , t h e r e b y e n a b l i n g
t h e s u s p e c t s t o s l i p o u t of t h e c u f f s e n t i r e l y or t o
m o r e easily step through their a r m s and bring the
cuffs out front. S o m e officers, foolishly, are reluc-
t a n t t o h a n d c u f f f e m a l e s u s p e c t s at a l l . In e a c h c a s e ,
cuffs not only should be squeezed snug but should
a l s o b e d o u b l e - l o c k e d . O n c e t h e c u f f s are o n ,
squeeze the s u s p e c t ' s fingers together to m a k e sure
h i s h a n d is n o t s m a l l e n o u g h t o a l l o w h i m t o slip
through the handcuffs.
R e g a r d l e s s of h o w c o o p e r a t i v e h e or s h e m a y
s e e m t o b e , never handcuff a prisoner to yourself.
B e s i d e s t h e o b v i o u s r i s k of h i s t r y i n g t o o v e r p o w e r
y o u , h e m a y d e c i d e t o l e a p i n f r o n t of a c a r o r off a
r o o f , m a k i n g y o u a n i n v o l u n t a r y v i c t i m of h i s
suicide attempt.

Searching for Firearms

M o s t often, a suspect canand shouldbe


s e a r c h e d at t h e l o c a t i o n w h e r e y o u a r r e s t h i m , a f t e r
h e is c u f f e d a n d i n c a p a c i t a t e d as m u c h as p o s s i b l e .
S o m e t i m e s , h o w e v e r , especially in c o n c e n t r a t e d
u r b a n a r e a s , h o s t i l e c r o w d s m a y t r y t o r e l e a s e or
t h r e a t e n y o u r p r i s o n e r a n d it s e e m s d e s i r a b l e t o g e t
a w a y f r o m t h e s c e n e a s q u i c k l y as p o s s i b l e . In t h o s e
c i r c u m s t a n c e s , officers m a y place the handcuffed
suspect in t h e patrol car and search h i m thoroughly
w h i l e driving away. Even then, h o w e v e r , y o u should
perform a cursory search before placing h i m in t h e
c a r . Y o u c a n p a t d o w n h i s b e l t a r e a , for e x a m p l e ,
while walking h i m toward the car. T o c o n t i n u e the
s e a r c h i n t h e car, h a v e t h e s u s p e c t s i t i n t h e b a c k
seat on t h e passenger side, w i t h one officer seated
next to h i m directly behind the driver-officer.
T h i s t e c h n i q u e h a s s o m e o b v i o u s h a z a r d s and
l i m i t a t i o n s . W h e r e p o s s i b l e , a b e t t e r a l t e r n a t i v e is

260
t o c a l l for s u f f i c i e n t b a c k - u p t o c o n t a i n a n d c o n t r o l
the crowd w h i l e search procedures are c o n d u c t e d
at t h e s c e n e .

W h e n y o u s e a r c h t h e s u s p e c t , y o u ' l l of c o u r s e
w a n t to confiscate anything he m i g h t be able to use
t o p i c k t h e l o c k of y o u r h a n d c u f f s . A b o b b y p i n or
a s m a l l s t r i p of b r a s s f r o m a w o o d e n r u l e r c a n b e
used to disengage the t e e t h in the ratchet, and the
i n k cartridges from s o m e ballpoint pens are a l m o s t
identical to handcuff keys. S o m e suspects keep an
actual k e y hidden on their persons, under a bandaid,
i n t h e w a i s t b a n d of t h e i r p a n t s or i n s i d e a b e l t , for
example.
Y o u r p r i m a r y c o n c e r n , h o w e v e r , is f i n d i n g
weapons. Because your assailant has displayed one
gun or y o u ' v e r e c o v e r e d o n e e a r l y i n y o u r s e a r c h
does not m e a n t h a t ' s all h e h a s . D u r i n g a f i n a l ap-
p r o a c h at a drug s t o r e w h e r e p o l i c e h a d i n t e r r u p t e d
a robbery, a p a t r o l m a n in Indiana s u c c e s s f u l l y used
a verbal challenge to disarm a suspect w h o w a s
holding a revolver in h i s h a n d . B u t t h e officer neg-
l e c t e d t o s e a r c h for an a d d i t i o n a l w e a p o n . M o m e n t s
l a t e r , t h e s u s p e c t w h i p p e d a . 3 5 7 M a g n u m o u t of
his w a i s t b a n d and shot t h e officer in t h e head.
S o m e t i m e s a s u s p e c t ' s m o s t d a n g e r o u s w e a p o n is
his second one. During a domestic disturbance in
T e x a s , a d e t e c t i v e t o o k a large B o w i e k n i f e f r o m a
m a n w h o l a t e r , as t h e i n c i d e n t a p p e a r e d t o b e w i n d -
ing d o w n , p r o d u c e d a . 4 5 c a l . s e m i - a u t o m a t i c a n d
s h o t t h e d e t e c t i v e i n t h e b a c k . If y o u s e e or f i n d o n e
w e a p o n , don't omit o r cut shoit youi search. Your
suspect m a y have twoor three. Often assailants
carry m u l t i p l e w e a p o n s on t h e a s s u m p t i o n that an
officer w o n ' t find t h e m all.
Y o u r search should be s y s t e m a t i c , so y o u cover
his entire body from his head to his t o e s . A good
p l a c e t o l o o k f i r s t is a r o u n d t h e s u s p e c t ' s m i d r i f f .
M a n y people w h o carry guns illegally m i m i c w h a t
t h e y see o n t e l e v i s i o n or i n t h e m o v i e s . T h e y d o n ' t
w e a r a h o l s t e r b e l t e d t o t h e s i d e or c a r r y t h e g u n i n
t h e s m a l l of t h e b a c k , b u t s t u c k i n t h e i r w a i s t b a n d
c l o s e t o t h e f r o n t of t h e i r b o d y . O f t e n t h e y h a v e it
in t h e c r o s s - d r a w p o s i t i o n , b e l i e v i n g ( e r r o n e o u s l y )
t h a t t h i s is q u i c k e r a n d m o r e i m p r e s s i v e . A s o n e
o b s e r v e r h a s n o t e d , " M o s t of t h e s e p e o p l e a r e i n
t h e r a n k s of t h e l o s e r s . " B u t if y o u r s e a r c h is
slipshod, they can quickly m a k e you a loser, too.
A f t e r c h e c k i n g t h e w a i s t a r e a , go t o t h e t o p of
h i s h e a d a n d c h e c k all a r e a s d o w n t o h i s t o e s . W o r k
from top to b o t t o m , right to l e f t a n d m a i n t a i n t h e
s a m e s e a r c h s y s t e m o n each s u s p e c