Farnam On Police Fratricide

I really like John Farnam. He has a wealth of information in areas I will readily admit I have little or no experience in. I’m just glad I’m able to borrow his wisdom and share it with you.

10 June 09
 
Police Fratricide
 
With large departments, and with departments that are spread out over large
 areas (like state police), fratricide is an sticky issue. 
 
Within small departments, most members know each other personally, but when
 department membership numbers in the thousands, it is not unusual for
officers  to spend an entire thirty-year career and still meet other long-time
members of  the department, for the first time, on their last day of work!
 
Fratricide rears its ugly head when members of the same department, or 
other LEOs working in the same area, confront each other with weapons in hand, 
and at least one is not in uniform.  Under these circumstances, LEOs have 
been mistakenly shot to death, and many others have been shot at.
 
It is a world-wide problem, but only in America do we look to technology, 
rather than training.
 
NYPD, in the wake of several high-profile incidents of fratricide, has 
asked a technology company to design a system whereby “radio-frequency tags” 
(whatever that means) would be installed on police guns.  In theory, these 
tags would allow officers to know where other officers are.
 
Much is being made of this idea, even though the technology doesn’t 
currently exist, and no officer with more than a week on the job would ever  trust
such a system anyway.  It is reminiscent of the ill-fated, 
long-discredited “safe-gun” technology that was, under the Clinton  Administration,
miraculously going to eliminate gun accidents.  No such  “safe guns” were ever
produced, nor marketed.  The whole ridiculous idea  fell into well-deserved
ill-repute.
 
Then, as now, “safe guns” are little more than a wet-dream of leftist 
techno-geeks, none of whom have ever so much as touched a real gun in their 
sheltered lives!   Time and effort spent on this fool’s errand has  been, and
continues to be, a waste. 
 
The correct way to address the issues of (1) negligent discharges, (2) 
unintentional hits, and (3) fratricide is through reinvigorated training.  
Officers need to be trained as Professional Gunmen who are not taught to be 
afraid of guns.  They need to spend lots of time on the range under the 
tutelage of professional instructors who insist on sound tactics, suburb 
marksmanship, and correct gun-handling.
 
Departments with a casual attitude toward training will continue to have 
high incidents of gun accidents, even fratricide, until training is given the
 attention it deserves. The public, and officers themselves, need to insist
on  it.
 
No miracle-gadget will save them! 
 
/John

2 thoughts on “Farnam On Police Fratricide

  1. Maybe the cops need to be taught not to shoot at another person simply because they are armed. One cop killing another out of uniform is undeniably a bad thing- but what if the armed man was a law-abiding citizen using a weapon in self-defence? This isn’t a gun handling issue, it’s a use of force issue.

    1. You may be right about the root problem here. The fix for it, though, has to be handled through training to handle those issues a different way. Good call on the use of force.

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