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Policy Considerations: Shooting at or from Moving Vehicles

Jack Ryan

Through agency policy many departments have considered restrictions on officers with respect to shooting at or from moving vehicles. The recent revisions of the IACP Model Policy on Use of Force (2001), indicates increased dangers of shooting at or from a moving vehicle. IACP model policy does not prohibit such uses of force per se, but would prohibit their uses where the shooting would present an unreasonable risk to the officer or others. An increased number of agencies have incorporated provisions in their policies discouraging or prohibiting officers from placing themselves in the path of a motor vehicle, since such action by the officer may create the need for deadly force. These policy provisions are particularly important in those jurisdictions that examine the events leading up to the need to use deadly force in the reasonableness inquiry. Policy Language: “Officers shall not shoot at a moving vehicle in cases where the instrument of the threat is the motor vehicle.”

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