Date: Fri, 08 Nov 2002 23:07:43 -0700 (MST)
From: thekoba  (K J WALSH)
Subject: Arrest Tactics and Firearms Instruction
Cc:, snail , thekoba ,,

Last night the Citizen Police Academy Class 44 had its last academic session. This session was held at the Police Academy grounds near South Mountain Park. Next week will be the graduation ceremony at City Hall. I plan to attend that, not that I consider it an honour, but because Chief Harold Hurtt will speak, and there may be some information mixed in with all the fertilizer.

The presentation started with Commander Parra, who gave a brief overview of the Police Academy. She said there are usually 30 to 40 students in each class and that this facility handles about 60 to 65 percent of the police trainees in Arizona (the facility in Tucson handles most of the remainder). The academy was a joing projct by intergovernmental agreement between the Phoenix Police Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety, but other peace officers from various departments around the state are trained there.

Parra said that approximately 20% of those attending fail to graduate and that the most common reason is failure of the academic classes. Another common reason, she said, was an integrity violation. She claimed that any cadet caught in a lie is automatically expelled. Another reason was failure of the use-of-force decision simulator (called FATS). Evidently failure of the physical fitness regimen is somewhat rare.

The class was then split up into groups. My group went with Sergeant Draughn, who was also the first speaker at the last session two weeks ago. Sgt. Draughn gave his usual objective, scientific, professional presentation. This time the subject was the use of various kinds of force, not just deadly force, as the previous session had stressed. He listed the various types of force suspects used:

intimidation (e.g. body language, posturing etc.) verbal non-compliance (e.g. "No, I'm not going to jail.") passive resistance (e.g. going limp by political protestors) defensive resistance (trying to flee, trying to break out of a hold without trying to hurt the officer) aggressive resistance (fighting with the officer) aggravated aggressive resistance (using potentially deadly force against the officer)

Draughn claimed that defensive resistance was considered resisting arrest. The legal research I have done for Copwatch has shown that the courts have consistenly said it is not. The offense of resisting arrest only occurs if a suspect takes action likely to harm the police or which puts the police in danger. Nonetheless defensive resistance can fall under some lesser offenses and is not advisable under most circumstances.

Draughn addressed the levels of force officers can use in ascending order:

presence (sometimes the mere presence of the police deters certain actions) verbal instructions (e.g. "Police, put down the weapon!") Non-combat physical restraint (e.g. putting an arm out to block a suspect from fleeing) chemical weapons (pepper spray, not to be confused with nerve gas, mustard gas or other lethal chemical weapons) taser (debilitating electrical charge, can be inflicted on contact or by firing at up to 21 feet distance) intermediate methods (force which is generally non-lethal but which can and usually does inflict injury, including police dog attacks, knight sticks, various blows and kicks) deadly force (shooting the suspect)

Draughn stated that there is no rule that the police must exhaust all of these methods before using deadly force. There are some situations in which deadly force is clearly the most appropriate response from the start (e.g. suspect draws a gun on an officer). He did say that officers are trained to use the lowest level of force possible to handle the situation, and that is, in fact, what ARS 13-410 requires, even if it is not what actually happens, as seems to have happened recently in Chandler.

Draughn also discussed the training in deadly force and showed us a Glock .40 designed specifically to take detergent cartridges which mark a hit, sting, and can raise a welt, but which do no more harm than that. Cadets use these in training so that they can have the stress of actually facing something that will inflict pain onthem in a simulated deadly force encounter. He said that it is possible to load a live round into one of these weapons but it is difficult and that they do many safeguards in training exercises to keep this from happening accidentally.

We went outside to do a couple deadly force exercises. In the first case, a cop suited up in his protective gear, and this special glock was given to one volunteer. She was told to shoot if she thought it necessary. The officer played a man carrying a knife at a distance f 21 feet (this was called the "21 foot drill", though Draughn stressed there was no rule or law stating that cops cannot use deadly force at a greater distance than that). The volunteer, Ms. Devlin, raised her pistol at the man and commanded him to drop the knife. He hemed and hawed and then charged towards her, and she shot him. The cop was hit in the finger and displayed the welt to the class. It was the consensus he would have stabbed her at the rate he was running. Draughn tried to emphasize how fst someone could charge someone from a distance of 21 feet and that the media often treats the police unfairly in these situations. I said, "It is felony reckless endangerment to point a firearm at someone who is not an immediate threat. Therefore the man with the knife was in fact justified in charging towards her." That remark was politely ignored. ARS 13-411 now has a catch-all category that allow cops to use deadly force "whenever a reasonable police officer" (a legal fiction if ever there was one) would find it necessary to do so, so that will probably help cops get away with pointing guns at citizens who do not pose a threat to them more and more (not that most don't get away with that already).

Next a traffic stop was simulated. This time I volunteered to play the pig (a task Joel enjoys during Copwatch training). During the time, I kept my hand on the glock but never pointed it at the suspect. I made a point to show to the class that a risky situation could be handled without committing reckless endangerment. During the first scenario, I had stopped a man for running a stop sign. I approached the car, and I asked him for his driver's license and registration. I shined the flashlight in the car and saw a pistol on the passenger side seat for which he was reaching, after telling me he was going for his registration. I said, "Get away from there! Get out of the car!" I had my hand on the weapon, but didn't draw it. He got out of the car. I told him to place his hands on the car, and I picked up the pistol, keeping an eye on him at the same time.


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