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The Problem - STOP SHOOTING US!
On Saturday night in New York City’s Times Square, police opened fire on a man who was walking erratically into oncoming traffic and, when approached by law enforcement, reached into his pocket as if he were grabbing a weapon. The officers fired three shots.
One hit a 54-year-old woman in the knee and another grazed a 35-year-old woman’s buttocks. None hit the suspect, whom police subsequently subdued with a taser.
Source: Time Magazine
Just last year, New York police injured nine onlookers in the course of responding to a murder suspect near the Empire State Building. As police chased the man through rush hour crowds, he fired at the cops; they returned 16 shots, hitting the man 10 times. That actually counted as accurate shooting for the NYPD.
New York City police officers fire their weapons far less often than they did a decade ago, a statistic that has dropped along with the crime rate. But when they do fire, even at an armed suspect, there is often no one returning fire at the officers. Officers hit their targets roughly 34 percent of the time.
When they fire at dogs, roughly 55 percent of shots hit home. Most of their targets are pit bulls, with a smattering of Rottweilers and German shepherds.
Source: New York Times
John C. Cerar, a retired deputy inspector who was the commander of the Police Department’s firearms training section from 1985 to 1994, said the accuracy rate is comparable to that of many other major police departments. In some cases, it is better.
In Los Angeles, which has 9,699 officers, the police fired 283 rounds in 2006, hitting their target 77 times, for a hit ratio of 27 percent, said Officer Ana Aguirre, a spokeswoman. Last year, they fired 264 rounds, hitting 76 times, for a 29 percent hit ratio, she said.
Firearms Training - How Much Works?How much works and how much is enough?
Members of Team Six are known as 'black' operatives - their missions are never spoken about, do not officially exist and often operate outside international laws.
The unit’s personnel reportedly fire an average of 2,500 to 3,000 rounds per week in training - which amounts to more than the entire U.S. Marine Corps per year.
Source: India's National Security Guards (NSG)
On an average, a commando fires 2000 rounds of live ammunition during practice sessions throughout the year. This is apart from the two months that units have to spend in alert status and for whom it's a daily stint at the range. "I did more firing in a week of alert status than in my entire 10-year stay in the Army," says an NSG Officer. On average a person fires close to 14,000 rounds over a period of two months in alert status. The target strike rate has to be above 85% for a person to remain in the force.
For example: during 2006, only 156 Officers out of the force of some 37,000, were involved in a firearm-discharge incident. And fewer than half of those incidents involved an Officer shooting at a human being. Most involved Officers shooting at dogs.
Also, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ): "of the 43.5 million persons who had contact with Police in 2005, an estimated 1.6% had force used or threatened against them, a rate that was nearly the same as in 2002 (1.5%)."
The rarity of incidents might be a reason for not doing much if anything about them administratively. However, for the participants, they are deadly serious and personal. And if one goes badly, it can become a public relations nightmare for an Agency.
Source: Results of the 2008 RAND Study
There also are semiannual firearm qualifications which include a two-part lecture, practice fire of 45 rounds of ammunition at stationary targets at 7-, 15-, and 25-yard distances, un-scored practice on a tactical pistol course, and qualification firing of 50 rounds at stationary targets at 7-, 15-, and 25-yard distances. A minimum of 39 hits is required to qualify (78 percent).
. . .
Per the report, the firearm-qualification program is less about making sure Officers can effectively use their pistols in real-life situations, than it is about meeting legal requirements and professional standards.
At a recent use-of-force class I was instructing for a Public Risk Management group, the topic of firearms training frequency came up. The discussion was prompted by the fact that during the latest round of FBI suspect interviews conducted for the third book in the Officer Assaulted and Murdered trilogy (“Violent Encounters”), it was revealed that those suspects believed that police officers trained between two and three times a week with their firearms. In reality, most police departments only train about two times a year, averaging less than 15 hours annually. In contrast to our frequency of training, those same suspects revealed that they practiced on average 23 times a year (or almost twice a month) with their handguns.
During a poll taken during this class which represented about a half dozen Florida law enforcement agencies, I asked how many train more than twice a year. No hands went up. When asked how many train or qualify with their duty guns only once a year. Everyone raised their hands. Hence, the genesis for this article.
. . .Twenty shots to kill a mental patient waving a pellet gun. Thirty-six shots from submachine guns to kill a small-time drug dealer. Sixteen shots to kill a drunken burglar who held a 12-year-old boy hostage-and killing the boy in the process.
Police say those incidents are an aberration. They say they really aren't shooting too much. They say they shoot only when they have to and Portland has become much more violent.
Portland police go 14 months between firearms qualification tests - longer than allowed by any of the major police departments queried by the Oregonian. Shortly after the January 16 accidental shooting of 12-year-old Nathan Thomas, the bureau said it would propose firearms qualification every six months, starting in July.
Solutions - What are Some Solutions?Well, never one to be a bitter bunny by pointing out problems without solutions? I do think I have a couple.
The HIGH Dollar ApproachIf University can be said to offer the pinnacle of learning for a given field of study, then firearms should have something like that, shouldn't it?
The LOW Dollar ApproachIndeed... Cost is a bitch in today's world. Brass, lead and other raw materials below that are not cheap. Raw materials of all kinds are, in fact, quite expensive.
The Camdex 2100 Series Loading Machine is speed adjustable to 4400 cycles per hour. The 2100 series will stop for and indicate on the touch screen control if any of ten faults have occurred. The 2100 Series features a total redesign of the control and monitoring system to enhance operator use and make fault correction fast and easy.
Gunsite was founded in 1976 by Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper, author, columnist, professor, WW II and Korean War combat veteran. Col. Cooper intended Gunsite to be the vehicle for spreading the Modern Technique of the Pistol, which he created during his years in Big Bear Lake, CA.
Ed Stock is a retired Agent with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), assigned to the DPS Special Operations Unit as a Bomb Technician and Weapons Instructor. He is a Federal and Arizona qualified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor and has taught classes to Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI, the US Army and several friendly foreign governments in both Firearms and Explosives. He has recently returned from serving in Iraq with the US Army. A Rangemaster for Gunsite since 1980, Ed is an instructor for Pistol, Rifle and Carbine.
Watcha all think?