Dallas Chief’s Plan On Cop Shootings Called “Well-Intentioned, Ill-Advised”


In two years, Dallas police have shot 27 people, and 16 of them died. Included are the shooting of an unarmed carjacking suspect last month and the fatal shooting of a schizophrenic man in which the officer's account was contradicted by video. Police Chief David Brown wants his officers to get more training when it comes to how and how often they use guns. Radley Balko writes for the Washington Post that, “The response so far is a fascinating look into how use-of-force policies aren't determined by public safety assessments so much as by negotiations among various interested parties. It's an illustration of the political realities that stand in the way of reform.”

Brown has encountered the most resistance from police unions and advocacy organizations. More training means more guidelines. That means more second guessing. More surprising is the push-back from the Dallas Morning News, which scolded him for appearing “reactive,” and warned he may be “moving too quickly and with too little buy-in from rank-and-file officers.” Older and retired police officers say lethal force training has undergone a decided shift in emphasis. Where it once emphasized deescalation and conflict resolution, it now tends to be more about how to justify an use of force incident after the fact. Balko concludes that, “given Brown's other efforts at reform and transparency, this seems more like a policy that's well-intentioned but ill-advised, than a genuine effort to help cops cover up their mistakes.”

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