Police Trainer After Deaths: Stop Knocking Down Doors in Drug Cases


A recent surge in fatal police shootings is weighing heavily on law enforcement trainers, some of whom are calling for a reassessment of high-risk fugitive and drug raids that have resulted in a number of deadly ambushes, reports USA Today. “It’s time to change our thinking,” says Pat McCarthy, who advises police agencies. “Cops are exposing themselves to increasing danger many times over, and it’s just not necessary.” Harvey Hedden of the International Law Enforcement Trainers and Educators Association is urging his 4,000 members to “look at everything” in an effort to avoid potentially dangerous complacency on the streets.

“Police work can be 99% boredom and 1% panic,” he said. “Routine can be the most dangerous of all. We need to go back to the basics.” Federal and local officials have been troubled by the rise in firearms-related fatalities. Gun-related fatalities last year were up 15 percent from 2010. Last week, a Utah officer was killed and five others were wounded when they tried to serve a drug-related search warrant. McCarthy said the case underscores a need for police to rethink tactics. “The days of knocking down doors in drug cases should be over. Given what’s going on now, you have to consider other options,” he said. This month, the Justice Department will host a meeting of researchers and law enforcement officials to discuss tactics and training.

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