Major metropolitan hubs such as New York and Washington DC are reflecting upon the rules of engagement of their respective police agencies, seeing how use-of-force policies can be updated to include the new trend of vehicle ramming attacks.
In light of vehicle attacks all over the world, police agencies around the country are loosening the rules of engagement in regards to charging vehicles, larger cities such as DC have more hoops to go through in order to implement such policies.
“We have to balance the threat to the community with the idea we don’t want to use fatal force unless we absolutely have to,” said DC Police Chief Peter Newsham. “It’s really important to make sure officers completely understand this is a special circumstance, a last resort, but one that may be necessary.”
These policy changes, of course, come at a time where many police are becoming hesitant to use lethal force, particularly in an era where police shooting “unarmed” suspects have come under severe -and often unfair- scrutiny.
Police violence activist Sam Sinyangwe believes that any loosening of the restrictions may lead to a rise in police shootings.
“What we’ve seen is a shift backward on this issue,” Sinyangwe said, claiming the move could result in counter-terrorism-grade responses to incidents “that are not terrorist situations.”
While the issue is only recently a topic of discussion for some, the concept of shooting to stop a vehicle is old news for many departments- including ones in major cities.
According to The Washington Post, law enforcement agencies in Las Vegas revised their policies last year, citing terror incidents and a 2015 event that involved an impaired woman driving on a sidewalk.
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