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Unformatted text preview: Law Enforcement Executive Forum • 2009 • 9(4) 35 New Developments in Understanding the Behavioral Science Factors in the “Stop Shooting” Response William J. Lewinski, PhD, Director, Force Science Research Center, Minnesota State University, Mankato, CEO, Force Science Institute, Ltd. Christa Redmann, Bethany Lutheran College/Force Science Institute, Ltd. (Research at FSRC and elsewhere leads to an understanding of the behavioral reasons why officers cannot stop shooting the instant the threatening behavior of the subject ceases.) The Shoot and Assess Dilemma A law enforcement officer can use deadly force with a firearm in a variety of circumstances. However, once that officer has used deadly force, the microscope of the investigators, his or her department, the courts, and society will focus on the circumstances of the shooting and the officer’s response(s) to those circumstances. Inherent within this investigation will be a close scrutiny on two phases of the shooting. First, the officer’s decision and/or reaction to start shooting and then the officer’s decision and/or reaction to stop shooting. For understandable reasons, in lethal force encounters, the officer’s primary focus is usually on surviving threats to his or her life, and most of the officer’s preparation and training has focused on the officer’s responses that would most likely guarantee that survival. Very little attention if any is focused on immediately stopping shooting when the lethal threat changes—even if stopping immediately was humanly possible. There has been and continues to be a variety of approaches to what officers should do while shooting and when officers should “stop” shooting. A small number of officers and departments in the United States and elsewhere still believe in and train that an officer should shoot one round and then stop and assess. Others believe in and train the double tap and then assess. Still others believe in and train the triple tap and then assess. Since at least the mid 1980s, a developing and predominant training approach has been to have officers shoot and assess simultaneously. This training method of shooting and assessing evolved and became more popular as more was understood in the law enforcement community regarding the actual stopping power of a bullet and the kind of circumstances officers confront when attempting to save their lives or the lives of others by means of lethal force (Harper, 2000; Ogden, 2007). It became apparent from research and a variety of high-profile incidents, such as the FBI/Miami incident, that shooting once, twice, or even three times and then stopping and assessing, which all take time, gave the opportunity and advantage to the “bad guy” who may be continuing to fire (Lewinski, 2000). Recent research has also revealed that even novice shooters can fire at least three rounds in 1.5 seconds (Lewinski, 2007). Therefore, the safest way for an officer to respond in a firefight is to shoot and continue to shoot accurate shots on target until the threat stops. is to shoot and continue to shoot accurate shots on target until the threat stops....
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This note was uploaded on 01/16/2012 for the course BI 200 taught by Professor Potter during the Fall '11 term at Montgomery College.
- Fall '11