Two major police organizations have proposed contrasting strategies over when officers should use deadly force in confronting potential suicide bombers, says USA Today. The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a law enforcement advocacy group, urges officers to use lethal force only as a last option to deal with what it calls an “inevitable” threat. The recommendation is consistent with deadly force policies in most agencies, which require threats of death or serious injury to be immediate or imminent. PERF’s report differs from a document issued by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) that suggested the threat be only “significant” to justify the shooting of suspected bombers.
The police groups say the guidelines represent a growing concern among local law enforcement authorities about a terrorist tactic that has been largely employed outside the U.S. “Police officers in these situations are on the horns of a dilemma,” PERF director Chuck Wexler says. “On one hand, you don’t want to ignore a situation. You also don’t want to read something into a situation that doesn’t exist. A bad decision in either case can be very costly.”