National Protest and 'disband the cops' discussion (please review page 1)

Blizzard

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As we continue to see with these "protests", it's become incredibly clear there isn't any police shooting involving a black person that these "activists" would ever find acceptable.

As has been stated here in numerous posts, facts no longer matter. Logic, reason, and personal accountability are not factors either.
 

Locksteady

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What de-escalation are they supposed to do here? They retreat, concede territory, and he continues to not follow orders, he then starts walking straight at the officer with the knife in his hand.
The obvious question for me was why didn't either officer on site even attempt using any non-lethal incapacitating tools like Tasers first in the lead-up to his charge while the cars still occluded his path?

The answer, it turns out, wasn't "we couldn't take the chance with this violent knife-wielding felon":
[Police Commissioner] Outlaw has said the officers involved in the shooting did not have Tasers, which deliver an electric shock that temporarily stuns the target.

Approximately a third of the police force of 2,301 officers have completed proper training to carry Tasers and are required to carry them on duty, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
A problem that increased and targeted funding would help resolve, and the two officers cannot be blamed for not first using what they weren't even issued.

Fortunately...
Philadelphia legislators pledged to boost police department funding to ensure every officer is equipped with a Taser following the fatal police shooting of a Black man this week.

On Wednesday, Council President Darrell Clarke committed to immediately transferring as much as $9.5 million for the purchase of the non-lethal weapons, although the exact amount needed to outfit the entire force with Tasers remained unclear.

“If the police say we need some additional money to accelerate the purchase of Tasers, that’s a simple ask,” Clarke said while flanked by a handful of members of City Council outside City Hall.
A great example for other cities to follow.

City Council looks to boost police funding to purchase Tasers
 

policemedic

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The obvious question for me was why didn't either officer on site even attempt using any non-lethal incapacitating tools like Tasers first in the lead-up to his charge while the cars still occluded his path?

Why is that an obvious question? Have you ever attempted to disarm a knife-wielding attacker using non-lethal means?

By the way, the Taser issue is a red herring.
 

Locksteady

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Why is that an obvious question?
Do you mean, why is that an obvious question for me? If so, that is because I would expect non-lethal incapacitating measures to be sought out and applied in lieu of applying lethal measures, when possible and feasible.
Have you ever attempted to disarm a knife-wielding attacker using non-lethal means?
Yes.
By the way, the Taser issue is a red herring.
It's not evident the Philadelphia Police Department feels the same.
 

policemedic

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Do you mean, why is that an obvious question for me? If so, that is because I would expect non-lethal incapacitating measures to be sought out and applied in lieu of applying lethal measures, when possible and feasible.

Yes.

It's not evident the Philadelphia Police Department feels the same.

I agree that less-lethal should be used when appropriate. This was not one of those instances.

If you’ve been attacked with a knife—for real, not training–and successfully disarmed the bad guy without getting cut yourself, you’re among very few who have done so. I’ve trained in Filipino martial arts since I was 13, and the take away from knife defense is expect to get cut. I am not paid enough to get cut. Police officers are not expected to take unreasonable risks, and I would never advise one of my officers to attempt a disarm except in extremis.

I will say it again for clarity. The Taser issue is a red herring, and any responses on Tasers from PPD brass that indicate otherwise are geared towards public relations.
 

Locksteady

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Thanks for your experienced feedback and response.
I agree that less-lethal should be used when appropriate. This was not one of those instances.
I'm not sure if that is a consensus conclusion, nor that at no point prior to the last-minute rush that a Taser would have been inappropriate while Wallace was repeatedly ignoring their orders to drop the knife.

Since no attempt occurred, the 'obvious' question for me as a non-LEO instead of assuming anything was to ask, "Why didn't they attempt non-lethal force first?"

I haven't heard anything from the officers involved, but the request from the Philadelphia Police Department for funding for Tasers and training doesn't suggest to me that they are committed to the idea that there was no point where non-lethal tools like Tasers were appropriate in that scenario.
If you’ve been attacked with a knife—for real, not training–and successfully disarmed the bad guy without getting cut yourself, you’re among very few who have done so.
At no point was I successful in disarming the knife.
I’ve trained in Filipino martial arts since I was 13, and the take away from knife defense is expect to get cut.
Ah, so they probably started you on weapons early aside from the more traditional route. Yes, ideally on the outer limbs as an expected 'take' in the process of disarming or disabling them. Rarely works as smoothly 'off-set'.
I am not paid enough to get cut. Police officers are not expected to take unreasonable risks, and I would never advise one of my officers to attempt a disarm except in extremis.
I have nothing but agreement here.
I will say it again for clarity. The Taser issue is a red herring, and any responses on Tasers from PPD brass that indicate otherwise are geared towards public relations.
I see, and that makes sense that it could be the case.

However, the fact that they've been working on trying to fill the Department with Tasers and training for non-lethal intervention methods for at least a decade would indicate that this is less of a reactive red herring PR tactic and more like the crescendo of a several-years-long effort to resolve an ongoing problem that now is actually being taken seriously and corrected with funding thanks to the media magnitude of the shooting.

There is no reason that 2/3 of a responding police force should remain unequipped with non-lethal alternatives of incapacitation, and I see only positives from procuring funding for the Philadelphia PD to outfit its force with non-lethal response options.
 
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Blizzard

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Locksteady said:
There is no reason that 2/3 of a responding police force should remain unequipped with non-lethal alternatives of incapacitation, and I see only positives from procuring funding for the Philadelphia PD to outfit its force with non-lethal response options.
....and that brings the argument full circle.

No reason, except the department doesn't have the funding or support from elected officials to make these purchases.

These purchases require significant cash outlays. Which is more important, body cam or taser? How about officer training programs, where is that in the mix? Then of course, there's the actual manpower needs. These decisions make the issue very political. It also puts culpability at the feet of the officials, but they'll never take ownership of it.

On a separate note, I don't live in Philadelphia but maybe those that do, like @policemedic, are willing to opine on this:
I read somewhere, maybe here or elsewhere, that the police commissioner is relatively new and recently from Portland PD. I haven't been impressed, to say the least, by the police response in Portland. When I hear about things like only 1/3rd of the force has tasers, Red Herring or not, it makes me wonder: what level of support do rank and file really have from the leaders in this department?
 
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Locksteady

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....and that brings the argument full circle.

No reason, except the department doesn't have the funding or support from elected officials to make these purchases.
Support which comes when elected officials are shown the results of what happens absent their support for funding these and other initiatives.
How about officer training programs, where is that in the mix? Then of course, there's the actual manpower needs. These decisions make the issue very political. It also puts culpability at the feet of the officials, but they'll never take ownership of it.
Of course - and as mentioned before, prioritization for something rises in the midst of a crisis or public outcry.
When I hear about things like only 1/3rd of the force has tasers, Red Herring or not, it makes me wonder: what level of support do rank and file really have from the leaders in this department?
Why exactly would the Department - much less a Commissioner who just got there in 2020 - suddenly have the culpability that you just assigned to elected officials for failing for more than a decade to support the Department's repeated requests for more funding to arm and train the whole force with these tools?
 

policemedic

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However, the fact that they've been working on trying to fill the Department with Tasers and training for non-lethal intervention methods for at least a decade would indicate that this is less of a reactive red herring PR tactic and more like the crescendo of a several-years-long effort to resolve an ongoing problem that now is actually being taken seriously and corrected with funding thanks to the media magnitude of the shooting.

There is no reason that 2/3 of a responding police force should remain unequipped with non-lethal alternatives of incapacitation, and I see only positives from procuring funding for the Philadelphia PD to outfit its force with non-lethal response options.

Let me preface this by saying I’ve been certified as a Taser instructor, carry one, and have been known to use it. I’ve seen it work spectacularly and marginally. To me, its main utility is in how quickly it deescalates a situation once someone is painted by the targeting lasers. I do believe a Taser should be available to every officer, but the truth is police services can and are provided without them.

However, failure to issue Tasers cannot be conflated with a lack of less-lethal options. PPD line officers have OC spray and batons. Other units have a more robust selection of options (well, until CIty Council makes them illegal and takes them away from us).

I can tell you without equivocation there has not been any urgency within the PPD leadership to issue Tasers, not now and not in previous administrations. PC Outlaw cannot be held responsible for this. They were used as a carrot to motivate officers to volunteer for an unpopular program. Tasers have been available to select personnel for more than a decade, but they have not widely distributed. Even the recent announcement of a $900K line item in the municipal budget for Tasers is a sop; even with discounts applied, that is roughly 600 Tasers or less once you account for the devices, cartridges, holsters, training, and backfill expenses. For context, there are some 6500 sworn officers within the PPD.

Having a Taser should not have changed the outcome of this incident. That is a segue for my next post....
 

policemedic

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On a separate note, I don't live in Philadelphia but maybe those that do, like @policemedic, are willing to opine on this:
I read somewhere, maybe here or elsewhere, that the police commissioner is relatively new and recently from Portland PD. I haven't been impressed, to say the least, by the police response in Portland. When I hear about things like only 1/3rd of the force has tasers, Red Herring or not, it makes me wonder: what level of support do rank and file really have from the leaders in this department?

Let’s just say the rank and file do not have confidence in the PC. It is felt she has proven she cannot be trusted, is a weak leader, and is frankly out of her depth.

An example is her unwillingness to stand behind these officers. She could have explained that there are certain instances where, regrettably, the police must exercise their lawful authority to use lethal force. She could have done this in a way that didn’t taint the investigation, but she chose not to.

I do agree that she inherited the Taser problem (and others) and she shouldn’t be viewed as culpable for those. Those issues can be fixed, but will require time, funding, and training.
 
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