NYPD Sergeant Hugh Barry did exactly what he was trained to do when he shot 66-year-old Deborah Danner.
That didn’t keep New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill and cowardly Bill de Blasio from attacking and betraying the NYPD, of course.
In a post entitled “A Crazy Woman With a Baseball Bat,” highly-regarded firearms instructor and active-duty police officer Greg Ellifritz laments that the moral cowardice of of cheapskate political elites have created a system where officers are actively dissuaded from going “hands on” with drunks and the mentally ill, and have forced officers to receive training that tells them they must resolve problems with either their guns, tasers, or chemical sprays. It’s a recipe for failure and death.
If that officer is anything like the average, he can’t physically fight his way out of a wet paper bag. He probably isn’t a brawny weight lifting stud because those folks are “too intimidating” to be hired. He hasn’t practiced with his pepper spray or Taser in a couple years. He’s done no integrative force on force training covering escalation and de-escalation using all of his weapons. The only recent training he’s had has been firing a few rounds out of his pistol.
Is it really a surprise that the officer shot the woman? It’s the only thing that he knew he could do successfully. If you were forced to choose between getting hit in the head with a baseball bat or shooting the attacker, which option would you select?
Until the public demands better training and a better selection process for hiring police officers, you’ll see more of the same. That means hiring officers who are physically capable of winning a street fight and then training them up to a high level of proficiency in both empty hand combatives and weapons usage.
But that won’t happen because physically capable officers scare liability-obsessed police administrators. Training to the desired level of proficiency is costly. It takes time and people get hurt. Departments don’t have the budget to pay for the training or the manpower to cover for an officer who is recovering from a training-related injury.
That makes training decisions very easy. Departments settle for the bare minimum training required by law and then hope an officer doesn’t screw up or get killed.
Unfortunately, officers are trained even less frequently in adequate hands-on techniques and baton use than they are tasers and chemical sprays. The only tool on their belt that most officers use even once or twice a year are the handguns they’re forced to shoot in qualifications from time to time.
NYPD Sgt. Barry shot Deborah Danner because that was precisely what he was trained to do in this circumstance, dishonest criticisms of this officer by Commissioner O’Neill and Mayor de Balsio be damned. You want to find who is at fault for Deborah Danner? Look at New York City Hall. They wanted to train Barry on the cheap, and then we he responded exactly to his training, they tried to blame him for the shortcomings they imposed upon him.
New York is hardly alone, of course.
We need search no farther than PCP abuser Parta Huff’s recent brawl with Chicago Police officers, Cook County deputies, and a random Good Samaritan to see a vivid account of just how inept officers are at handling physical confrontations.
The female officer knocked unconscious in this exchange and her portly partner clearly lacked any sort of hand-to-hand skills, and the two Cook County Sheriff’s deputies were worse than useless. The untrained civilian who jumped in clearly didn’t have any skills either, but he at least tried, instead of standing around like Deputy I-Don’t-Want-To-Break-A-Nail.
This scene wasn’t close to being contained until a plainclothes officer rushed in, ripped Huff out from under the pile, mounted him MMA-style, and helped restrain Huff until other (older?) officers who were willing to go head-on started beating Huff into compliance with punches and knee strikes.
The female officer was justified in using deadly force in this incident, but didn’t because she was terrified of the domestic terrorists of Black Lives Matter threatening her family if she shot and killed Huff. She intended to let herself die instead. She didn’t see any other options, and had no other skills or training to fall back on.
That’s incredibly messed up.
Wouldn’t the situation have been far better if instead of relying on an ineffective taser and firearms, that this female officer and her partner had some good jujitsu training and skills with a PR-24 baton?
Quite frankly, this situation might not have even devolved to the point of the female officer having to make the decision “do I let him kill me, or kill him?” if the officers involved were stronger, better trained, and more aggressive. Sadly, this isn’t a new development, and it isn’t going to go away as long as bleeding hearts call for unreasoning blind compassion over officer effectiveness.
We’re increasingly finding ourselves in situations where officers, suspects and innocent bystanders are getting injured or even killed because instead of forcefully taking a suspect down hard, putting him in custody and resolving the situation quickly, touchy-feely politicians and their pet commissions are ignorantly making things worse.
They’re forcing officers to be “nice,” when being nice is going to put lives at risk. They dystopian impotence of police in Demolition Man wasn’t supposed to be a goal.
“We’re police officers. We’re not trained to handle this kind of violence!” laments Rob Schneider’s San Angeles Police Department dispatcher.
It was meant to be funny, but who’s laughing now?