February 9, 2021

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Shooting at Moving Vehicles

Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol.

Today’s Tip is for law enforcement officers and today I am talking about shooting into a moving vehicle. Some say flat out that cops should never shoot at or into a moving vehicle. It’s not that simple. It may be the right thing to do in some circumstances. But there’s a lot to think about and the time to start thinking about it is now.

Hollywood theatrics can’t help us decide whether to take a shot.

Just watch the movies, right? There are plenty of scenes depicting officers who make impossible shots as dangerous criminals speed by. Hollywood theatrics can’t help us decide whether to take a shot.

First, know that shooting at a moving vehicle is usually not effective. Consider the dynamics at play here. An officer reacting to a perceived threat under intense stress. Add in a moving vehicle. Accurate shot placement will be very difficult. But that’s not the only thing we have to think about. What about bystanders? Collateral damage? Uninvolved passengers? And what happens if the shot is effective? Will we be left with an out-of-control vehicle careening down the road?

You will not have the luxury of time when you are faced with this decision. Now is the time to start thinking about it. Study up on your policy. Talk with your trainers. “What if” these situations. To yourself. With your supervisors. With your coworkers.

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Until next time, Gordon Graham signing off.

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