New York City police fired fewer bullets at suspects last year than any time since the department first began keeping in-depth shooting statistics 39 years ago, says a new compilation reported by the Wall Street Journal. Experts said the drop reflected a police department that has become increasingly restrained about pulling the trigger; police officers shot and killed unarmed men at least twice in the last 11 years. The department has cops take part in computer simulations in which they are taught to make instant life-and-death decisions.
The 2009 “New York City Police Department Annual Firearms Discharge Report” shows that city police were involved in 105 shooting incidents during which 130 officers fired a total of 296 bullets, about 19 perceent fewer than the previous year. In 2008, the department was also involved in 105 shooting incidents, with the 125 officers firing a total of 364 bullets. No city police officer last year was shot by a suspect for the first time since the police department started keeping detailed shooting statistics in 1971. John Cerar, a retired deputy inspector who headed the police firearms training unit from 1985 to 1994, said of the 2009 shooting numbers, “It’s amazing.”