Civilian’s Guide to Police Use of Deadly Force

Officer’s Guide to the Use of Deadly Force as Written By a Civilian

By An Anonymous Civilian, With Ken K. Gourdin

This Guide was inspired by comments at SLTrib.com in response to a report that the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office found that an officer’s use of deadly force against a knife-wielding subject was justified.  See here, last accessed today: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57472251-78/fairbourn-vincent-officer-police.html.csp.

While officers know that a basic rule of officer survival is that if a subject pulls a knife on you, you draw your gun on him, this guide was written by a civilian.  (Please note that the use of the word “suspect” is avoided in this guide because it is pejorative, and, therefore, may result in hurting someone’s feelings, and, thereby, may violate his rights).  These steps also should be followed if a subject pulls a gun on you.  The Number One rule of officer “survival” according to the civilian author of this guide is, “Never, ever, under any circumstances, use (or even threaten to use) deadly force.”

PLEASE NOTE – You may have to do any or all of the following while dodging the subject’s knife thrusts and/or after having been gravely wounded by the subject’s knife, but, alas, that is simply the price you (and your family) must pay in order for you to be a police officer.

1. Talk nicely to the knife-wielding subject: “Sir, put down the knife.”
2. In the exceedingly unlikely event that it didn’t work the first time, continue to talk nicely to the knife wielding subject: “Sir, PLEASE put down the knife.”
3. Continue to talk nicely to the knife-wielding subject: “Sir, PRETTY PLEASE, put down the knife.”
4. In the exceedingly unlikely (indeed, unfathomable) event that steps 1-3 didn’t work, continue to talk nicely, but with increasing firmness, to the knife-wielding subject: “Sir, PRETTY PLEASE, put down the knife – NOW!
5. If the subject does not comply, ever so slightly, escalate the threat of force: “Sir, if you do not put down the knife, PRETTY PLEASE, I will have to pepper-spray you.”
6. If the subject does not comply, carry out the threat you issued in Step 5.
7. If Step 6 fails to gain the subject’s compliance, ever so slightly, increase the threat of force: “Sir, if you do not put down the knife, PRETTY PLEASE, I will have to use a TASER on you.”
8. If the subject does not comply, carry out the threat you issued in Step 7.
9. If Step 8 fails to gain the subject’s compliance, ever so slightly, increase the threat of force: “Sir, if you do not put down the knife, PRETTY PLEASE, I will have to call a K-9 officer.”
10. While dodging the subject’s repeated knife thrusts, if the threat you issued in Step 9 fails to gain the subject’s compliance, carry out the threat you issued in Step 9.
11. Upon K-9 officer’s arrival, ever so slightly increase the threat of force: “Sir, if you do not put down the knife, PRETTY PLEASE, I will have the officer deploy the K-9.”
12. If the threat you issued in Step 11 does not gain the subject’s compliance, carry out the threat you issued in Step 11.
13. If Steps 1-12 fail to gain the subject’s compliance, return to Step 1 and repeat Steps 1-12.

Of course, unfortunately, some court, somewhere, likely will find that you violated the subject’s constitutional rights by taking Steps 6 through 12 (even though you followed the Number One Rule of Officer Survival According to a Civilian by not using deadly force), but again, that’s the price you must pay to be a law enforcement officerGOOD LUCK (AFTER ALL, YOU’RE GOING TO NEED IT IF YOU FOLLOW THIS GUIDE), AND BE SAFE OUT THERE!

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About kenngo1969

Just as others must breathe to live, I must write. I have been writing creatively almost ever since I learned to write, period! I have written fiction, book- and article-length nonfiction, award-winning poetry, news, sports, features, and op-eds. I hope, one day, to write some motivational nonfiction, a decent-selling novel, a stage play, and a screen play.
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