After Shooting, St. Louis Police Study Friendly Fire

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After an off-duty St. Louis police officer was wounded by “friendly fire” from a fellow officer looking for suspects at the scene of a stolen vehicle crash last month, the department is looking at whether more training might help, reports the city’s Post-Dispatch. The police department is forming a committee to decide how best to train officers for such encounters. In the June 21 incident, an off-duty officer was shot in the elbow by another officer after a police chase involving suspects in a stolen car.

Experts say friendly fire incidents are extremely rare. This was the third time it’s happened in the St. Louis area in the past 25 years. A St. Louis County officer was killed by a fellow officer in an undercover drug deal in 1997. Nationally, little research has been done on the topic because its rarity makes it difficult to draw meaningful conclusions or suggest best practices, said David Klinger, a criminologist with the University of Missouri-St. Louis who specializes in use-of-force issues.

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