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America’s Police Have An Escalation Of Force Problem
A car window shattered, sending glass flying at children in the backseat in Indiana. A man with a toy gun in a Walmart, shot dead with little interaction with police in Ohio. A flash grenade accidentally tossed into a sleeping child's crib in Georgia. A man reaching to retrieve his wallet immediately shot in South Carolina.
It sometimes feels we can't go a week without seeing the headlines or shaky cell phone videos depicting scenes we never imagined.
Coverage of this issue has been swift and widespread. Opinions of the problem are passionate and divided. But let's set aside for a moment the (valid) discussion about race relations in America.
Let's talk tactics. Because the real problem that America's police have is with escalation of force.
Escalation of force is a military doctrine that describes when and how much force should be used.
Ideally, the level of force should start at the lowest possible level. That's what Marines are taught very early on in training — start with the lowest level of force possible.
But the best example I ever heard of it came in Afghanistan in early 2012. As a combat correspondent with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), I sat down with our commanding general, Maj. Gen. Glenn Walters (who is now a lieutenant general), to discuss the successes and failures of the deployment and what Helmand province would look like moving forward.
I had asked the general what he thought the unit replacing us would see with regards to operational tempo and he said, “The level and intensity will be determined by the enemy.”
There’s the brilliant nuance behind the escalation of force doctrine — you let the person you’re confronting determine the level of force.
Here’s why that works: Your level of force must be justified by the actions of the other person.
One of the ways the military expressed this in Afghanistan and Iraq was through the phrase “shout, show, shove, shoot.”
In a recent piece on Task & Purpose, Adam J. Tiffen outlined how escalation of force worked in a gun turret in Iraq:
"In practice, it worked like this. A turret gunner would first shout at the driver to keep back, and might display a red handheld stop sign during the day, or flash a powerful laser pointer at the driver at night. If the driver continued to breach the minimum distance, the gunner would then visibly show the driver his or her weapon. As shoving was only used for dismounted operations, the gunner would then fire a warning shot over the approaching vehicle. If the driver was still not deterred, the gunner would then shoot to disable the vehicle, targeting the engine block. Only after all other options were exhausted was the gunner authorized to shoot to kill."
Back in the United States, in these troubling incidents, no objective observer could reasonably claim that police exhausted all other options.
This isn’t a concept that is foreign to law enforcement, where it is often called the “use of force continuum.” But it’s one that seems continually violated. There’s no doubt in my mind that thousands of police officers across the country are doing great and honorable work every day. But this trend of failures and bad practices in communities across America is too important to ignore. We need more from our police departments — better training on when and how to use force, and more accountability when that standard is not met.
A U.S.S. Manchester, CL-83, hat firmly tucked on his head, John Ronney, pierced the collar of his granddaughter, Jennifer Rooney's new rank during a special pinning ceremony at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune on Sept. 25.
By Rooney's side was his son and Jennifer's father Robert, a Navy veteran. Together, three Navy veterans brought together for military tradition.
"They are the two people who taught me everything I needed to know about the Navy," said Jennifer.
CAMP PENDLETON — The military prosecution of a Coast Guardsman accused of murder began Wednesday with a preliminary hearing at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Seaman Ethan W. Tucker, 21, was arrested August 28 after a seven-month Coast Guard investigation into the January death of Seaman Ethan Kelch, 19, who served on the same ship as Tucker— the Kodiak, Alaska-based high endurance cutter Douglas Munro.
ANKARA (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday Turkey would press on with its offensive into northeastern Syria and "crush the heads of terrorists" if a deal with Washington on the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from the area were not fully implemented.
Erdogan agreed on Thursday in talks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence a five-day pause in the offensive to allow time for the Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a "safe zone" Turkey aims to establish in northeast Syria near the Turkish border.
President Trump stoked confusion Friday by declaring the U.S. has "secured the Oil" in the Middle East amid continued fallout from the Turkish invasion of northern Syria that he enabled by pulling American troops out of the region.
It wasn't immediately clear what the president was talking about, as there were no publicly known developments in Syria or elsewhere in the Middle East relating to oil. White House aides did not return requests for comment.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. State Department investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state has found no evidence of deliberate mishandling of classified information by department employees.
The investigation, the results of which were released on Friday by Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley's office, centered on whether Clinton, who served as the top U.S. diplomat from 2009 to 2013, jeopardized classified information by using a private email server rather than a government one.