This month, Aurora gave its police officers the authority to shoot at a moving vehicle when it poses a danger to the officer or members of the public- a shift from previous police that comes when other departments, including Denver, have moved away from such practices. The actual language in the Aurora Police Department policy changed from “will not” to “should not.” The language also states that officers should not shoot at a moving vehicle unless someone in the vehicle is using threatening deadly force by means other than the vehicle itself. “It really changes nothing,” Police Division Chief Jim Puscian said. Aurora Police have said the law comes with strict scrutiny. That being said, the public has seen the inability of Police Departments to hold themselves accountable. What the change in policy did was gave Police Officers the right to shoot at a moving car. It seems very difficult for an officer outside of a moving vehicle to assess a deadly threat from within the vehicle, if the vehicle itself is taken out of the equation. Additionally shooting at moving vehicle is incredibly dangerous public policy. Expecting a Police Officer to make accurate, controlled shots at a moving vehicle is a very tall order. This reminds me of a story I covered last year of an active shooter outside of the Empire State Building in New York City. New York City Police Officers, some of the best trained in the country, fired multiple shots at an armed individual and missed the target several times and hit innocent bystanders. And this is the with the best trained force and a target on foot. Imagine the scene of officers trying to hit a moving vehicle. And that is nothing to say if the officer is lucky enough to hit his target, then what? You have a potentially incapacitated driver at the wheel? The policy is a move away from other police departments and is probably a move to reduce police liability.
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Cite: Carlos Illescas, The Denver Post, 3/8/2016