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Information obtained from article written by Chief Jim Smith


Most practiced with the firearm, however, only a few had any formal fire arms training. ... unnatural protrusions or bulges in the waist, back and crotch areas. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Information obtained from article written by Chief Jim Smith

Officer Safety
  • Information obtained from article written by
    Chief Jim Smith

Violent Encounters
  • "We're seeing a much more violent culture
    emerging, in both urban and rural areas," said
    Smith. "Law enforcement deaths tend to be
    cyclical the surge in LE deaths now can be
    compared to that of the late 1960s and early
    '70s, but those were due to training issues. Now,
    the issue seems to be the ease with which deadly
    force is used by the criminals, as well as their
    training. Some of these criminals train to shoot
    as much as or more than police officers do."

General Factors
  • Most occurred when officers initiated contact
    with the offender.
  • Most occurred outdoors on a highway, street or
  • Most occurred during the hours of darkness.
  • Most officers were assigned to a vehicle, in a
    patrol function.
  • Many of the incidents had more than one officer
  • Handguns continue to be the weapon of choice,
    with .38 caliber being the most common.

Officers ProfilesThe officers feloniously
assaulted had several common factors.
  • Most had stable family lives.
  • Most had not encountered a stressful event
    immediately preceding the assault.
  • Most were physically fit and reported fatigue as
    not being a factor.
  • Most had excellent work records and performance
  • Officers were generally described as hard
    working, friendly, well-liked in the community,
    and they concentrated on public relations while
    on their beat.
  • Many felt they could read situations and

Officers Profiles Cont.
  • Many were described as not following procedure
    and rules for arrests, traffic stops,
    confrontations and often did not wait for backup
  • Many were known to let their guard down early,
    and erroneously felt they were in control.
  • Often officers were described as laidback and
    easy going.
  • Most did not expect the attack.
  • Many had approximately 10 years job experience.
    The officers who survived attacks had a do not
    give up attitude and continued to fight even
    after being seriously injured. Many officers
    attributed the use of soft body armor to reducing
    injury and even saving their lives.

Offender Profiles
  • More than 95 were male, with almost an equal
    split between white and nonwhite average age
    26 years old.
  • Even with an increase in the number of female
    offenders, their numbers remained small in
    comparison to male offenders.
  • Most were poorly educated, had a dysfunctional
    family and came from a disadvantaged background.
  • More than half had criminal histories, with many
    having a history of robbery, assault, weapons
    violations and other violent crimes.
  • Most offenders had received minor punitive
    measures for previous crimes.
  • Most had an unstable employment history.
  • Most had alcohol and an illicit drug use history,
    while many were under the influence of such
    during the felonious assaults.
  • Many had gang affiliations. An interesting
    perspective and information revealed in this
    study involved the offenders use of weapons. The
    data was derived from interviews of the offender
    and case studies of the incidents.

Offender Profiles Cont.
  • Most offenders had prior experience with
    firearms, and had been involved in incidents
    using a firearm, (having shot someone or been on
    the receiving end of a firearms assault.)
  • Most practiced with the firearm, however, only a
    few had any formal fire arms training.
  • Most firearm selection was made based upon
  • Almost all firearms were illegally obtained, and
    were handguns.
  • Most offenders carried their firearm on their
    person, with the belt or waistline being the most
    common carry location.
  • Most offenders routinely carried a firearm.
  • Most offenders used an instinctive firearm
    shooting stance.
  • Offenders had a good probability of hitting the
    officer with their rounds. This can be attributed
    to the fact that the offender is using his
    firearm offensively, while the officer is
    unprepared for the shooting incident, and must
    react defensively.

Offender Profiles Cont.
  • Some offenders carried more than one firearm or a
    backup firearm.
  • A significant number of offenders were diagnosed
    as having antisocial personality disorder.
  • Many offenders operated under the perspective
    that they were prepared to do battle with the
    officer to prevent an arrest, thus many
    deliberately made the decision to shoot the
  • Most offenders felt a sense of entitlement from
    society. This report examines the common mental
    and emotional impact during a stressful event
    things like time distortion, failure to feel
    pain and tunnel vision. The study revealed that,
    in some circumstances, officers did not note
    threats outside their immediate visual
    concentration area. Many officers reported not
    feeling pain until the event was stabilized,
    while many others had distorted recollection of
    the events, as did civilian witnesses.

Officers Training
  • Not surprisingly, the study revealed that
    training could be improved in an officers
    approach to traffic stops and/or pursuits, and
    particularly actions to take when facing an
    attack with a firearm. Sadly, many officers
    revealed that the training theyd received on
    taking appropriate action when a suspect had the
    drop on the officer was severely lacking.
    Several officers noted that their inability to
    diagnose and clear a weapon malfunction
    negatively affected their shooting situation, as
    did officers who noted a backup firearm would
    have improved their ability to deal with the
    situation (either after having a weapon
    malfunction or being disarmed.)

Officers Training
  • Another identifiable factor was the officer's use
    of flashlights. In fact, offenders were able to
    shoot several officers by aiming at the
    flashlight held by the officers.

New findings from FBI about cop attackers their
  • New findings on how offenders train with, carry
    and deploy the weapons they use to attack police
    officers have emerged in a just-published, 5-year
    study by the FBI.

New findings from FBI about cop attackers their
  • Among other things, the data reveal that most
    would-be cop killers
  • Show signs of being armed that officers miss
  • Have more experience using deadly force in
    street combat than their intended victims
  • Practice with firearms more often and shoot more
  • Have no hesitation whatsoever about pulling the
    trigger. If you hesitate, one told the studys
    researchers, youre dead. You have the instinct
    or you dont. If you dont, youre in trouble on
    the street.

FBI Continued
  • From a pool of more than 800 incidents, the
    researchers selected 40, involving 43 offenders
    (13 of them admitted gangbangers-drug
    traffickers) and 50 officers, for in-depth
    exploration. They visited crime scenes and
    extensively interviewed surviving officers and
    attackers alike, most of the latter in prison.
  • Here are highlights of what they learned about
    weapon selection, familiarity, transport and use
    by criminals attempting to murder cops, a small
    portion of the overall research

Weapon Choice
  • Predominately handguns were used in the assaults
    on officers and all but one were obtained
    illegally, usually in street transactions or in
    thefts. In contrast to media myth, none of the
    firearms in the study was obtained from gun
    shows. What was available was the overriding
    factor in weapon choice, the report says. Only 1
    offender hand-picked a particular gun because he
    felt it would do the most damage to a human

Weapon Familiarity
  • Several of the offenders began regularly to carry
    weapons when they were 9 to 12 years old,
    although the average age was 17 when they first
    started packing most of the time. Gang members
    especially started young.

Weapon Familiarity Cont.
  • Nearly 40 of the offenders had some type of
    formal firearms training, primarily from the
    military. More than 80 regularly practiced with
    handguns, averaging 23 practice sessions a year,
    the study reports, usually in informal settings
    like trash dumps, rural woods, back yards and
    street corners in known drug-trafficking areas.

Weapon Familiarity Cont.
  • One spoke of being motivated to improve his gun
    skills by his belief that officers go to the
    range two, three times a week and practice arms
    so they can hit anything.
  • In reality, victim officers in the study averaged
    just 14 hours of sidearm training and 2.5
    qualifications per year.
  • Overall, the offenders practiced more often than
    the officers they assaulted, and this may have
    helped increase their marksmanship skills.

  • The offenders said they most often hid guns on
    their person in the front waistband, with the
    groin area and the small of the back nearly tied
    for second place. Some occasionally gave their
    weapons to another person to carry, most often a
    female companion. None regularly used a holster,
    and about 40 at least sometimes carried a backup

  • In motor vehicles, they most often kept their
    firearm readily available on their person, or,
    less often, under the seat. In residences, most
    stashed their weapon under a pillow, on a
    nightstand, under the mattress--somewhere within
    immediate reach while in bed.
  • We need to remember this when you ask someone to
    have a seat somewhere that you dont know about.

Shooting Style
  • Twenty-six of the offenders about 60,
    including all of the street combat veterans,
    claimed to be instinctive shooters, pointing and
    firing the weapon without consciously aligning
    the sights.
  • They practice getting the gun out and using it.
    They shoot for effect. Or as one of the
    offenders put it Were not working with no
    marksmanship.We just putting it in your
    direction, you know.It dont matteras long as
    its gonna hit youif its up at your head or
    your chest, down at your legs, whatever.Once I
    squeeze and you fall, thenif I want to execute
    you, then I could go from there.

Hit Rate
  • More often than the officers they attacked,
    offenders delivered at least some rounds on
    target in their encounters. Nearly 70 of
    assailants were successful in that regard with
    handguns, compared to about 40 of the victim

Missed Cues
  • Officers would less likely be caught off guard by
    attackers if they were more observant of
    indicators of concealed weapons, the study
    concludes. These particularly include manners of
    dress, ways of moving and unconscious gestures
    often related to carrying.

Missed Cues Cont.
  • Officers should look for unnatural protrusions or
    bulges in the waist, back and crotch areas.
  • Watch for shirts that appear rippled or wavy on
    one side of the body while the fabric on the
    other side appears smooth.
  • In warm weather, multilayered clothing
    inappropriate to the temperature may be a

Missed Cues Cont.
  • Offenders reported frequently touching a
    concealed gun with hands or arms to assure
    themselves that it is still hidden, secure and
    accessible and hasnt shifted.
  • Such gestures are especially noticeable whenever
    individuals change body positions, such as
    standing, sitting or exiting a vehicle.
  • If they run, they may need to keep a constant
    grip on a hidden gun to control it.

Missed Cues Cont.
  • Just as cops generally blade their body to make
    their sidearm less accessible, armed criminals do
    the same in encounters with LEOs to ensure
    concealment and easy access.

  • Thirty-six of the 50 officers in the study had
    experienced hazardous situations where they had
    the legal authority to use deadly force but
    chose not to shoot. They averaged 4 such prior
    incidents before the encounters that the
    researchers investigated. It appeared clear that
    none of these officers were willing to use deadly
    force against an offender if other options were
    available, the researchers concluded.

Mind-set Cont.
  • The offenders were of a different mind-set
    entirely. In fact, Davis said the study team did
    not realize how cold blooded the younger
    generation of offender is. They have been exposed
    to killing after killing, they fully expect to
    get killed and they dont hesitate to shoot
    anybody, including a police officer. They can go
    from riding down the street saying what a
    beautiful day it is to killing in the next

Mind-set Cont.
  • Offenders typically displayed no moral or ethical
    restraints in using firearms, the report states.
    In fact, the street combat veterans survived by
    developing a shoot-first mentality.
  • Officers never can assume that a criminal is
    unarmed until they have thoroughly searched the
    person and the surroundings themselves. Nor, in
    the interest of personal safety, can officers
    let their guards down in any type of law
    enforcement situation.