Former police chief: Georgia PD teaching officers “shoot to incapacitate”proves some people shouldn’t be police chiefs

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The following contains editorial content written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

LA GRANGE, GA- We’ve all worked for them. You know, the police administrator who spent a couple of years, maybe three as an actual patrol officer and then got promoted through the ranks, possessing nearly zero actual patrol experience.

They are typically paper-pushing bureaucrats with multiple college degrees and are more interested in advancing their career than actually knowing what the hell they’re doing.

Meet Chief Louis M. Dekmar of the LaGrange, Georgia Police Department. He has started what he calls “breakthrough” training called “Shoot to Incapacitate” for his officers. In other words, he appears to be taking law enforcement advice from nimrods such as Joe Biden and others.

 

You remember Biden’s advice, don’t you? He suggested that police officers “shoot ‘em in the leg” instead of the much more practical (and honestly sensible) long-standing practice of “shooting to stop the threat.” He’s also the one that suggested using a shotgun to “scare off intruders” in 2015.

“I said ‘Jill [Biden’s wife], if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony…take that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. You don’t need an AR-15. It’s harder to aim, it’s harder to use and in fact, you don’t need 30 rounds to protect yourself.”

Yes, Dekmar is taking advice from this unhinged, demented mental case.

This brings us to Dekmar, who announced his “breakthrough” training in a Facebook post.

 

“It’s a responsibility, in my opinion, of any police leader to look at options for their police officers so that a…

Posted by LaGrange Police on Friday, May 7, 2021

“It’s a responsibility, in my opinion, of any police leader to look at options for their police officers so that a deadly force encounter doesn’t necessarily end in a deadly result.”

He continued patting himself on the back for his cutting-edge idea, touting it as the first such program in Georgia and “in the nation.”

“It is teaching officers that in some instances where they are authorized to use deadly force, they have the option to aim for the pelvic region, abdomen, legs and arms of a person posing a threat. The idea is that a gunshot to these areas, while still potentially deadly, could stop the threat while increasing the chance that the wounds will not be fatal.”

First of all, to understand Dekmar’s career path, this tells you all you need to know, according to his LinkedIn profile:

  • Police Officer 1977-1978- Douglas, Wyoming Police Department
  • Investigator 1979-1987, Converse County and Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
  • Police Officer 1987-1988, Macon, Georgia Police Department
  • Captain 1988-1991, Perry, Georgia Police Department
  • Chief of Police, 1991-1995, Morrow, Georgia Police Department
  • Chief of Police and Chief of Public Safety, 1995-Present, LaGrange, Georgia Police Department

So out of a 41 year career, Dekmar spent a whole two years as a patrol officer in one town of just over 6,000 people (Douglas, WY) and another of just over 153,000 (Macon, GA). In other words, zero experience in large, Democratic-run hell hole cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles where scumbags use police officers (and citizens) as target practice. The last time Dekmar was on the street, Ronald Reagan was president.

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Ray Dietrich spent twenty years in law enforcement in Southern California and now writes for Red Voice Media. We’ll let him take it from there from an article on that outlet, relating the story from when he was a civilian police employee where he was attacked by a homeless man with a butcher knife (otherwise known in liberal media circles as an “unarmed” man):

“I was attacked by a homeless man with a butcher knife. The guy slashed my arm, tried to get inside the car via the window to finish me off, but lucky for me…I was with a deputy sheriff.

“When the deputy engaged the man with the butcher knife, he had to shoot him five times in the torso. The suspect kept advancing at least 20 feet after being shot in the chest. He ultimately died, but I will never forget the lesson I learned: people just don’t die or become incapacitated on the spot after being shot, even multiple times in the chest.” [emphasis added]

The fact of the matter is when a police officer gets to the point of deciding to use deadly physical force, 99.9% of police departments mandate that force can only be used to protect the officer or a third person from the use or threatened use of deadly force or great physical harm upon them. Period. Under what circumstances therefore would an officer make the decision to “shoot someone in the arm?” Or the leg?

As Dietrich rightly noted, if a situation hasn’t risen to the level where an officer is authorized to use deadly force, then perhaps the officer shouldn’t be using it. There is only one level for using deadly force and that is the one noted above. Putting any element of doubt into the use of deadly physical force by the implementation of degrees is going to end up getting police officers killed, at a higher level than they already are.

One example cited is the recent shooting in Columbus, where morons such as Joy Behar and Juan Williams suggested the police officer should have used alternate means to “distract” Ma”Khia Bryant, who was ready to plunge a butcher knife into another female’s chest. Had that officer hesitated for one second that young woman would either be dead or seriously wounded.

In the Columbus case, Officer Reardon is a member of the National Guard and an expert marksman. Even with that type of resume, in the heat of the moment and with a split second to decide in a dynamic scene, it is likely had Reardon attempted to aim for an extremity he would have either missed or he would have shot the wrong person, at which point we would be having an entirely different conversation.

Also add into the equation that officers already have at their disposal a number of less-lethal options such as Tasers, pepper spray and impact weapons that can be utilized where the situation doesn’t meet a deadly force standard. Why Dekmar feels his officers need to be guinea pigs in some grand politically correct experiment with their lives and those of the citizens in LaGrange is beyond me.

Perhaps Dekmar, with his vast two years of patrol experience has never actually dealt with an armed suspect. Maybe he thinks police officers are like Dirty Harty and are able, in the heat of the moment under great stress, and when fine motor skills have been shown to significantly deteriorate, to shoot a knife or gun out of a suspect’s hand. This is clearly absurd thinking. This isn’t Hollywood and this isn’t the movies. It simply does not transfer to real life.

As Dietrich notes, administrative experience does not relate to actual policing. It’s easy to sit behind a desk and kowtow to politicians, and issue mandates such as this out of nothing more than political correctness and bowing to the woke community.

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Dekmar spent a grand total of two years in patrol out of a 44-year career, which as Dietrich notes indicates “he doesn’t know what he’s doing.” Dekmar clearly appears to be what Dietrich calls him…” a seeker of attention in the name of wokeness,” noting that in 2017 he apologized for his department’s alleged role in a 1940’s lynching.

This was clearly designed to get attention. In other words, Dekmar appears to be more interested in fluffing his ego than concerning himself with the best interests of his officers, which is a bad combination in a police administrator.

It is also interesting that there is such a push for an overhaul in police training now, when all across the country left-wing activists and bootlicking politicians have called for police departments to be defunded. What is the usual casualty when police budgets are slashed? Training.

In my former department, if we were lucky, we qualified with our firearms once per year. That has since been changed to (I believe) twice per year, but still, it is totally inadequate. And from experience I can tell you that shooting at paper targets with the benefit of having time to get on target, aim and fire is a lot easier than shooting at a moving target while under stress. I’ll let Dietrich explain it:

“Shootings are typically chaotic, scary, and happen in a flash. Do you want the officers wondering which method of shooting the bad guy they should use? Hesitation gets officers killed.”

Yes, it does.

Dekmar said he got the idea during an exchange program with Israel, and he said countries in Europe use a similar approach. Apparently, we are now taking advice from countries such as France, which allowed Germany to over-run it without a peep in the 1930’s and 1940’s. 

“Anytime you can preserve a life, what that does is earn trust and maintain confidence of the public, which is absolutely necessary if you’re going to be effective in the entire arena of public safety,” he said.

Dekmar clearly hasn’t seen what’s been going on in this country. The mob will never be satiated. After years of begging police to start wearing body cameras, and with those devices becoming near-standard issue for officers, it hasn’t made a difference. Even in clear situations where use of deadly force was justified, the mob doesn’t care.

The Columbus situation is a prime example. If God forbid one of his officers is put in the situation of using his new “woke” training initiative, he will find out that the mob won’t care.

It’s easy to shoot at immobile targets with red, yellow and green areas designating “target” areas with the benefit of time. Having a suspect running at you with an edged weapon in real time is a much different situation.

One can envision a situation where deadly force is completely justifiable, and where expectations from the community that police would “shoot them in the leg” would lead to further questions. “Why didn’t they shoot him in the leg?”

What a policy such as this does is really put the life of the suspect ahead of that of either the officer or member of the public who is being threatened. It’s a gamble that the tactic will work, and the chips being used to fund that gamble are the lives of the police officer or the person being threatened with the use of deadly force by the suspect.

Von Kliem, an attorney with the Force Science Institute, a company that studies police and community violence, noted “controversial” policies that have allowed officers to use Tasers against knife-wielding suspects, with the caveat being they have deadly force options available. He said he is hopeful that “shoot to incapacitate” policies would work in “rare” instances where it would be appropriate.

“To say these tactics are authorized is not to say these tactics should be considered in most cases. The agencies, officers, and communities need to decide whether increased risk of death and serious bodily injuries to these officers and the community members is worth these attempts to save suspects from the consequences of their deadly decisions.”

I’ll close with this. No officer wants to use deadly physical force on someone. It is without a doubt the last thing someone wants to do. Officers are forced to process a thousand thoughts in a split second.

What a policy such as this does is put doubt…even a little bit which can and will lead to hesitation. That split-second of hesitation will end up with more officers being killed, as well as innocent civilians.

This policy is short-sighted and nothing more than an attempt at woke political correctness. It is to be blunt terrible policy, put in place by a bureaucrat with the equivalent of zero time out on the streets.

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