Oakland Police Deaths: What Went Wrong?


Killings of several police officers as happened in Oakland over the weekend are rare, and they affect police training to prevent similar attacks from happening again, says the SanFrancisco Chronicle. Experts will dissect the case to find out what went wrong Saturday, likely breaking the incident in two: the traffic stop that left two motorcycle officers fatally wounded, and the SWAT operation two hours later that left two officers and the suspect dead.

“In every case, there’s something to be learned,” said Roy Bedard, a Florida-based instructor in police use of force and tactics. “We will be looking at (this) incident, believe me, not only in Oakland but across California and across the nation.” A review would look at whether the officers knew they were approaching an armed and wanted parolee – or whether they thought they were conducting a routine traffic stop. Despite a police cliché that there is “no such thing” as a routine traffic stop, Bedard said, the reality is that years of routine can cause even a well-trained officer to expect nothing out of the ordinary. “Law enforcement officers are almost conditioned to put their guard down so they don’t appear to be Gestapo-like in their tactics and demeanor,” Bedard said. “If there are no factors to indicate this is somebody that needs special treatment, a high risk stop, we generally would have our guard down.”

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