The International Association of Chiefs of Police says that officers who confront a suicide bomber should shoot the suspect in the head, according to the Washington Post. The recommendations take a more aggressive posture than typical lethal-force guidelines. The IACP guidelines were published July 8, before the London police, acting on a similar policy, fatally shot an innocent Brazilian seven times in the head because they mistook him for a suicide bomber.
U.S. police officers and federal agents typically have been authorized to use deadly force if lives are in imminent danger. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the definition of imminent danger has changed, prompting law enforcement officials to rethink the rules of engagement. “There is not a responsible chief or head of a law enforcement agency in this country who isn’t now pondering the dilemma a suicide bomber presents to their officers,” said U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer, who was the first chief in the nation to adopt a shoot-to-kill policy if his officers are confronted with a suicide bomber. “I can guarantee you that if we have, God forbid, a suicide bomber in a big city in the United States, ‘shoot to kill’ will be the inevitable policy,” said Miami Police Chief John Timoney. “It’s not a policy we choose lightly, but it’s the only policy.”