Anyone who has been in the military, particularly the Infantry should be appalled by this.  At PoliceOne, retired Wisconsin police leiutenant Dan Marcou has noted that “The military would have no qualms about laying down cover fire to rescue a downed soldier” and lays out a hypothetical situation where a shooter has taken a hostage and wounded a police officer by firing shotgun slugs through a closed door.

Lt. Dan, as he is known, is disappointed that police cannot lay down cover fire to support the extraction of the downed officer.

OK, that seems reasonable, until you actually look at the facts.

The shooter is behind a closed door with at least one innocent hostage.  To provide cover fire, other officers would be firing blindly through the door.  There would be no target identification, acquisition, or isolation, just blind shooting through a door or wall.  There would be no way of knowing where the innocent hostage was located, whether they would be in danger or not, and despite Lt. Dan’s acknowledgement that officers are responsible for every round fired, that is not reality.

Don’t believe me?

Look at the following cases:

  • NYPD officers hit two innocent bystanders while shooting at an unarmed man who they believed had a weapon.  No officers have been charged.  Sept. 2013.
  • Boston police shot an officer while shooting at the bombing suspects.  The officer almost died.  They also shot up an empty black SUV.  Multiple homes were damaged by gunfire.  No charges against any officer.  Apr. 2013.
  • LAPD officers fire over 100 rounds at two innocent women during the Dorner manhunt.  No criminal charges were filed.  Apr. 2013.
  • Las Vegas Metro officers hit an innocent bystander while shooting an armed shooting suspect.  No charges were filed against the officers.  Feb. 2013.
  • NYPD officers shot an armed suspect near the Empire State Building, hitting him 10 times and killing him.  Nine innocent bystanders are also hit by police.  Mayor Bloomberg defended the officers’ actions and no charges were filed.  Aug. 2012.
  • San Francisco PD officers shoot at (and miss) an armed suspect, striking an innocent bystander.  No criminal charges were filed against the officer.  July 2011.

We could go on.  In 10 years, from 2002 t0 2012, NYPD shot 30 innocent bystanders without filing criminal charges on any of the officers involved.

Allowing police to use cover and suppressive fire is a ludicrous idea.  In the military, the idea of suppressive fire is to put enough firepower into an area to keep the enemy from engaging your own forces.  The military is not concerned about collateral damage.  They are not concerned about citizen safety as opposed to officer safety.