Deseret News
Letter to the Editor

Recently, police shootings have gotten a lot of negative reactions from the media and community. After receiving my degree in criminal justice, I have been concerned about the bad reputation that these events create for all police personnel. I feel that in no way do police shooting incidents represent a majority of officers’ actions in our country. In my opinion all the attention makes a police officer’s job more difficult.

In many situations the media overlook the use of force continuum that officers use, and everyone focuses on the last fatal step. I have long believed that the proper application of the use of force continuum is the best option. However, there are many times when a situation escalates immediately and needs an immediate decision. This concerns me, and I have been looking for a solution.

Currently, an officer has only a few options for a very bad and complicated situation. Things happen so fast that an officer may only have one chance to make a decision. Frequently their choices are between a Taser or lethal force. My idea and hope is that a third option would be available to officers.

One option is that an officer's first clip of ammunition is full of less lethal rounds such as rubber composite bullets, or includes less lethal rounds for the first few shots. I believe that this would create an intermediate step before lethal force.

Such an idea is expensive, complicated and has many legal implications, but I believe it is worth investigating. There were many legal issues and objections to the implication of Tasers, but over time they were accepted.

Andrew Johnson