Cops Shooting Under Stress Often Miss Their Target


A recent shooting in which two Wichita police officers fired multiple shots at a man but hit him only once makes perfect sense to Ed Nowicki of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, says the Wichita Eagle. Experts say that officers miss more often than people might think, even from short distances. It’s largely due to the stress of the moment — something that’s hard to train for. In Wichita, two officers fired multiple shots from several feet away at a 19-year-old who drew what officers thought was a handgun but turned out to be a realistic replica gun.

“You miss more than you hit,” said one police offiicial. “Generally speaking, officers are not very accurate” during the stress of a shooting, despite training, said Michael White of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Generally speaking, hit rates do not hit 50 percent,” said White, a former Pennsylvania sheriff’s deputy. Instead of looking through gun sights and aiming as they are trained to do, officers fix their eyes on the gun in the suspect’s hand, said another expert. “A lot of people get the idea that we’re trick shooters. They’ve seen it in the movies.” In reality, most officers never shoot at suspects, and using a gun is a small part of police work.


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