A LAW ENFORCEMENT VETERAN WRITES: As a former police firearms instructor of many years, I can tell you that no officer is ever trained to shoot to kill.
Officers are taught to shoot for “center mass.”
This is designed for two things:
First, it greatly increases the likelihood of the shot hitting the intended target under extreme stress, thereby minimizing the chance of missing or hitting someone else.
Expecting an officer to shoot someone in an arm or leg is simply ridiculous under stress conditions.
Secondly, hitting someone center mass provides the greatest likelihood of stopping their dangerous action quickly — in this case advancing on the police officer with a knife (SEE: ‘Drop the knife!’ retreating Hackensack police officer shouts before shooting advancing suspect).
By the mother’s own account, the suspect was “within 10 feet” of the officer and still advancing when he was shot, ignoring the officer’s commands to stop and put the knife down.
Having an armed person within 10 feet of you eliminates any reaction time for the officer should the suspect lunge to stab him.
Terribly tragic event for all involved, but it appears that the officer was left with no choice.
Officers never want to take lives — they always want to save them. But they must protect themselves in life-threatening situations.
(A 28-year law enforcement veteran, retired Tenafly Police Chief Michael Bruno has lectured and taught at law enforcement and security conferences, specializing in tactical responses to active shooter situations. A former SWAT team commander, he also authored the current standards being used by all tactical teams in Bergen County.)
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