AD Warning-Police Commission AD-Tactics [065-15]

SHORT STORY: Detectives A, Officers A and B observed a suspect holding a pistol out in an extended hand pointing in a westerly direction. The pistol moved backward twice as if being fired. Suspect ran and officers put out a backup on a shooting suspect and gave location and description. The detectives drove into an alley following the suspect at a distance of 15-20 yards. They momentarily lost sight of him and slowed their vehicle down. Suspect had scaled a fence and on the other side got stuck when his clothing got hung up in the fence.   As Officer A brought the vehicle to a stop, he advised Detective A and Officer B that the suspect had gone over the fence. He looked out his window and saw the suspects hand and a gun come over the fence and point at him. Officer A drew and fired twice through his passenger window, shattering it. Detective A exited the vehicle and ordered suspect to drop his gun. When he did not, Detective A fired 3 rounds and then saw the gun drop. Officer B put out a help call and the suspect was taken down from the fence and handcuffed. BOPC FINDING: AD Tactics: 1. Code Six. Detectives A and B did not advise Communications Division (CD) of their Code Six location.  The purpose of going Code Six is to advise CD and officers in the area of their location and the nature of the field investigation, should the incident escalate and necessitate the response of additional personnel. The BOPC determined that Detective A and B’s failure to ensure their personnel went Code Six was a substantial deviation without justification from approved Department tactical training. 2. Back Up / Help Call Detective A and Officers A and B requested Back-Up for a suspect that they knew was armed with a handgun and had likely just fired the weapon. Although officers are given discretion regarding the appropriate time to broadcast a request for additional resources based on the ongoing tactical situation, it would have been tactically advantageous for Officer B to broadcast a Help Call when he observed the suspect armed with a handgun in order to alert responding personnel of the seriousness of the incident. Based on the totality of the circumstances, the BOPC determined that Officer B’s actions did not substantially deviate from approved Department tactical training. 3. Pursuing Armed Suspects Detective A and Officers A and B pursued Subject 1, whom they knew was armed with a handgun. Containment of an armed suspect demands optimal situational awareness. The ability to maintain the tactical advantage rests on the ability of the officers to effectively communicate, thus ensuring a coordinated effort and successful resolution. In this case, Detective A and Officers A and B were in plainclothes in an unmarked vehicle when they observed Subject 1 armed with a handgun and began to follow him as he fled from the area. Although Officer B indicated that they were approximately 15 to 20 yards away from Subject 1 and that the officers indicated they were only tracking the suspect until they could establish a perimeter, in this circumstance it would have been more tactically prudent for the officers to hold their position and go into containment mode. It is the BOPC’s expectation that officers are decisive in their actions during a rapidly unfolding, life-threating situation while taking into consideration police work is inherently dangerous. In this case, the officers were attempting to minimize the continued threat to the public while dealing with a fleeing armed suspect. Based on the totality of the circumstances, the BOPC determined, that the actions of Detective A and Officers A and B were reasonable and not a substantial deviation from approved Department tactical training 4. Tactical Vehicle Deployment. Officer A stopped their police vehicle next to where he believed Subject 1 had climbed over the fence. Operational success is based on the ability of the officers to effectively plan and approach each incident in a safe manner, keeping officer safety in mind at all times. Officers when faced with an ongoing tactical situation must remain alert to improve their overall safety, by their ability to recognize an unsafe situation and work collectively to ensure a successful resolution. Officer A stopped the police vehicle where he last observed Subject 1 climbing over a fence with the intent of establishing a perimeter in order to contain the suspect. However, unbeknownst to Officer A, Subject 1’s pants had become caught on the top of fence thus preventing him from being able to touch the ground or get down off the fence. The BOPC was particularly critical of Detective A, the supervising officer, who was in the vehicle with Officer A. The BOPC concluded that Detective A had a responsibility to prevent Officer A from continuing to follow the armed suspect further into the alley. In this incident, it would have been tactically prudent for Officer A to stop the vehicle, further away from Subject 1’s last known whereabouts in order to prevent placing himself or his partners at a tactical disadvantage. · The BOPC additionally considered the following: 1. Target Selection – According to Officer A, as he engaged Subject 1 with his service pistol he fired his weapon at the gun Subject 1 was holding in his hand, instead of aiming at the largest target, as officers are trained. Holding Service Pistol in Right Hand and Hand-Held Radio in Left Hand – Officer B drew his service pistol in his right hand while holding his hand-held radio in his left hand. Officers are reminded the tactical disadvantage of having a service pistol in one hand and an additional piece of equipment in the other hand. The evaluation of tactics requires that consideration be given to the fact that officers are forced to make split-second decisions under very stressful and dynamic circumstances. Tactics are conceptual and intended to be flexible and incident specific, which requires that each incident be looked at objectively and that the tactics be evaluated based on the totality of the circumstances. In conducting an objective assessment of this incident, the BOPC found that the approval of a tactical plan without designated roles and responsibilities, coupled with the lack of sufficient supervisory oversight in the field by Detectives A and B as the incident unfolded was a substantial deviation without justification from approved Department tactical training, thus requiring a finding of Administrative Disapproval. Additionally, the BOPC found that Officers A and B’s tactics did not substantially deviate from deviate from approved Department tactical training.

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