Thursday April 5th, 2018 14:00 A soldier on police shootings

This is probably the most rational, calm, even-handed thing I’ve ever read on the topic. Coming from a guy who did his policing in a literal war zone, it’s pretty hard to disagree.

A few small excerpts:

In the months we were in Diyala, our troopers faced constant attacks. IEDs claimed lives. Men died to ambushes. Indirect fire was a frequent threat to our combat outposts. Our troopers fought pitched battles in the streets, called in air strikes, fired thousands of artillery rounds, and killed, wounded, and captured dozens of terrorists. By the end of the deployment, they’d reclaimed thousands of square kilometers from al-Qaeda and left it a broken, spent force.

Do you know how many innocent civilians we killed in that entire deployment, which spanned hundreds of engagements with the enemy? Exactly two. One to small-arms fire and one to a wayward artillery shell.

But rather than emphasizing odds, probabilities, and patterns, training sometimes fills cops’ minds with ideas like, “The worst can always happen” or, “Any encounter can go bad.” These statements are true, but incomplete. They’re not the same thing as saying, “Every encounter is equally likely to go bad.” Good officers, like good soldiers, know that each encounter takes place against the background of a much larger context, with multiple factors influencing the outcome.

A person can be concerned about officer safety and realize the truth that officer safety isn’t the mission. A person can believe blue lives matter and understand that accepting sometimes extraordinary risk is part of the job. A person can support the police and still demand a very high level of tactical and strategic awareness even from the youngest officers. To put them on the street is to declare to the public that they are up to the job.

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IT guy, dev, designer, writer.

Got a degree in print journalism from UF but history dealt some bad cards to that industry, so I moved back to an earlier love: the computer.

Was recently at ZMOS Networks, but am now the Senior IT Associate at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

My name is moderately common, as are a couple screen names, so always look for the logo to make sure you're reading something with official Km approval.

You can get to me directly with kyle(@)kylemitchell.org