Tuesday, May 16, 2006

There’s A Public Safety Crisis In Chicago.

The Chicago Police Department’s in-service firearm training is no small scandal. The department used to mandate officer’s firearm qualification quarterly. Today the officers fire a paltry 30 rounds only once a year.

The danger to both the public and the officers over this policy is substantial. Add to this that the officers are required to begin their careers with an underpowered 9MM service round.

Is it any wonder that in one high profile shooting officers struck someone with 25 rounds and he’s still around to talk about it?

The sad fact is that Mayor Daley’s gun hatred has actually given criminals greater firepower than the police. When they had that infamous Bank of America shootout in North Hollywood California a few years ago the LAPD officers were complaining they had to borrow higher-powered weapons from local gun stores. Try that in Chicago where there are no gun stores! In a similar crisis in Chicago the HBT response would be much too little and too late.

I don’t know where the FOP stands on this matter but this is a serious officer safety issue that needs union attention.

Providing inadequate training always opens police agencies to huge litigation payouts. I refuse to accept the idea that the lives of the officers and citizens of Chicago are not worth better training and selection of firearms.

Every recruit should be able to begin their careers with their choice of a .45 or .40 caliber service pistol. In service training should be quarterly with no less than 150 round being fired.

It seems smarter to pay for the training than for lawsuits and disability payments for wounded officers. The weapons upgrading will have no additional cost since the officers must purchase their own approved weapons.

Perhaps some publicity about this scandal needs to be seen by the personal injury lawyers that like to sue the City of Chicago. Personally, I rather see the officers and public better protected.


Anonymous said...

Brings back memories. Like the time the City was actually considering the Glock as an authorized weapon. That is until a female Sgt. from R&D who knew NOTHING about firearms told the committee that the Glock was a very dangerous gun.

Not to worry however. As soon as one of these young kid gets assigned to one of the "faster Districts" and sees what the 9 is incapable of, they usually go out and get a .45 and practice with it regularly. Having said that, I can assure you that during my time on the CPD, I've seen BOTH the .45 AND the 9 fail from time to time. But life if based on odds and the odds on favorite to get you out of a jam is a .45ACP. I don't like the .40 however and faced with a choice between that and a 9, I'd take the 9 and rely on my shooting ability to overcome that problems with that caliber. Don't forget that the Europeans have used it for a long time with good results.

Some will tell you that in the never ending debate of calibers, thats it's more a question of shot placement than caliber. Thats true to an extent, but a big hole is always better than a small hole. Well,most of the time anyway,lol. There have been too many cases as of late in which offenders have been shot multiple times with a 9 (25-35) and surviving for another day (and another lawsuit) for us to conclude that the 9 is an acceptable round and that the Officers shooting skills were deficent.

There are some very competent range Officers with some very progressive ideas who are pushing for a very stringent qualification course. One of their ideas is that you train with a particular weapon, say a 1911. If you pass the qualification you would be authorized to carry that weapon provided you continue to train with it on a regular basis.

The problem as I see it is that there are too many people making decisions about firearms who have no real knowlege about them. They are not "gun guys" if you will. We need "gun guys" determining our policy regarding firearms, not ticket punchers whose only concerns are a good view from their office window and their next promotion.

Anonymous said...

The city wants to bring in civilian firearms instructors to teach the officers. It's cheaper.

Maybe they will only allow us to carry water pistols. An exception will be made for the heroes of Area/2 Gun Team and Daley's bodyguards!

Anonymous said...

I agree the present qual is retarded. However, I would tread lightly in making the qual more difficult in that you have had a very easy qual for so long it would be a shame to cost coppers money in lost time from work. I propose a challenging training course for two years then a "real" qualification. In this scenerio it gives the average copper a real shot --no pun intended" at improving his/her skills without the weight of failing a qualification/losing pay on thier shoulders.

Paul Huebl Crimefile News said...

Even if the current firearm qualification mess within the CPD were fixed today it would take perhaps a couple of years to bring all the officers to acceptable qualification standards.

Law enforcement people everywhere including the overrated FBI are for the most part lousy shots. Of course there are those that go the extra mile to gain the skill needed to protect themselves and the public. Bringing officers up to minimal standards must be a part of the discipline process.

Throughout the 60s, 70s and 80’s too many Chicago coppers found ways to have surrogates qualify for them quarterly. We all took a blind eye to that foul practice. Instead of trying to bring the skill levels up the opposite happened as the in-service training went into the toilet.

Remedial steps must be taken right now. Nobody should have to attend an officer’s funeral because he or she was unable to protect themselves or their fellow officers.

If an officer can’t hit a stationary target in a firing range how badly will he perform with a moving, armed criminal shooting at him.

My message is that all officers need to help each other bring their firearm skill levels up to reasonable standards as soon as possible. The City of Chicago needs to begin a reasonable program to get every officer to a reasonable standard of proficiency or reassign the officer to some duty off the streets until they can protect themselves.

nicolas said...

Anonymous said:

"There have been too many cases as of late in which offenders have been shot multiple times with a 9 (25-35) and surviving for another day (and another lawsuit)"

Really? List three. It's BS like that that leads to ridiculous debate. Shot placement matters MOST. All other things being equal, a bigger hole is better, but a 9mm hole isn't much smaller than a .45 hole.

Give me a circumstance where a 9mm was used and x happens, and if a .45 was used y would have happened (or vise versa). That's going to be pretty hard.

What isn't hard is to come up with a scenario where you'd like to have more ammo in your magazine.