The Denver Police Department will prohibit officers from shooting at moving cars unless someone inside is firing at them, a change in policy that mirrors one the Denver Post says is being adopted by police departments nationwide. The police department announced the policy change to its officers this week, a few days after District Attorney Mitch Morrissey decided not to prosecute two officers who shot and killed 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez after they say she drove a car toward them.
Police Chief Robert White said the new policy is more detailed than the old one, which gave officers more discretion to open fire if they thought they would be hit by a car. “Where this was a recommendation, now it’s a directive,” White said. “We want the first reaction to be get out of the way rather than pull your firearm.” The change was welcomed by the Hernandez family, who said their daughter likely would be alive if the policy had been in place in January when was she shot. The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado said it was encouraged by the change and urged the department to train its officers and hold them accountable. The Denver Police Protective Association, which represents the rank-and-file, opposed the change.