Mayor Richard Berry and Chief Gorden Eden need to immediately order all APD officers–from chief to patrolmen–to attend a refresher course on gun safety and deadly force.
Too Many Accidental Gun Discharges by APD Officers
BY DAN KLEIN
How many accidental weapons discharges are too many for the Albuquerque Police Department? Too many for the citizens of Albuquerque?
Some recent accidental weapons discharges by APD officers:
* July 15, 2013, an APD sergeant accidentally discharged her gun and put a bullet into the leg of a fellow officer as they searched a building.
* December 14, 2014, an APD officer accidentally discharged his gun while climbing through a window to investigate a burglary. The bullet went into the next apartment and struck a citizen in the back.
* January 9, 2015, an APD lieutenant pumped eight rounds into his own detective during a $60 drug buy. The detective survived but will never be a police officer again. The detective’s lawsuit just cost taxpayers $6.5 million.
In roughly 18 months, APD officers were involved in three accidental discharge incidents where two officers and one citizen were injured. Something is very wrong when you have this many accidental firearm incidents in such a short period of time. This is serious business, and before another officer or citizen is accidentally injured, the people in charge of APD need to address this situation.
Mayor Richard Berry and Chief Gorden Eden need to immediately order all APD officers–from chief to patrolmen–to attend a refresher course on gun safety and deadly force. This refresher doesn’t require actual firearms discharge, but is simply a reminder to keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to use deadly force. It’s common sense things line holstering your weapon when climbing through windows or over walls and fences, and making sure of your threat and your target before pulling the trigger.
Three incidents in 18 months is unacceptable for any police department. This refresher training should be announced to the public and incorporated into mandatory refresher training every two years. Your life might depend on it. Will the mayor and chief act? How many more accidental firearms injuries will it take?
Dan Klein is a retired Albuquerque police sergeant. Reach him through Facebook.