Officer Involved Shootings: Myth vs Reality

I don’t think there is any other profession whose public image is so defined by movies and television as ours.  The public sees hundreds of officer involved shootings each year–as portrayed by Hollywood.  As a result, I think people have a distorted and unrealistic view of what is actually happening in a police involved shooting.  I continue to be shocked when people comment to me that they believe police shootings are a common event and indicate their belief that an event of this type is an everyday thing to an officer.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Police involved shootings are relatively rare events — we’ve only had one in our 30+ year history. 

Because police use of force is of great interest to the public (and should be), a few years ago after a series of controversial police shootings in Portland, Oregon, the Oregon legislature mandated that each county devise a “more standardized and transparent” system for “managing” officer involved shootings. Each county was required to conduct annual “community outreach and education” on law enforcement’s use of deadly force.  Lane County Oregon has released a video that addresses the common myths of police shootings. 

I think this is a great idea–the public needs to be more informed on the reality of these tragic events. And they are tragic for everyone involved, including the police officers.  This video explains that in detail.

I’ve included a link to the article from Police One which contains a link to the video click here.

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I'm the Chief of Police for the Auburn Hills Police Department.