New York Gov. David Paterson will convene a task force to study shootings among police officers in New York State after last week’s killing of an off-duty officer by a fellow officer in Harlem, reports the New York Times. The task force will explore whether such shootings have disproportionately affected black and Latino officers. The officer who was killed, Omar Edwards, was black; the officer who shot him, Andrew Dunton, is white.
New York police issued a list of 10 police officers shot and killed by colleagues in cases of mistaken identity since 1930; it included five who were white, four who were black and one who was Hispanic. The list did not include a black undercover transit officer who survived being shot by a fellow officer in a subway station in 1994. Nor did it include a 1992 case in which three white officers were wounded by police bullets in East Harlem. The police department, which began conducting refresher training this week on how to avoid such confrontations, said it was studying of whether police handguns could be fitted with electronic identification equipment that would tell other officers that a fellow officer was nearby. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is studying outfitting police equipment with radio frequency tags; a patent under consideration would join “emitter-detector signal technology” with the mechanical operations of firearms.