Reading about Real Life incidents, such the LAPD Categorical Use of Force reports, is interesting but what good is it if we don’t put some of the lessons learned into practice? One way to make that knowledge actionable is to translate the incident report into a Course of Fire that we could actually shoot. The various action shooting sports, such as IDPA, USPSA, etc., call this Stage Design.
Here’s an example based on one of the incidents in Real Shootouts of the LAPD.
Categorical Use of Force Incident – 011-11
(full original report linked above)
The Board of Police Commissioners Incident summarized the incident as follows:
Off-duty Officer A was leaving a residence. Officer A walked out to his vehicle, which was parked in the driveway. Officer A did not see anybody as he walked to his vehicle. Officer A had his duty weapon in his right front pants pocket at the time.
Officer A backed his vehicle up, leaving the vehicle running with the lights on, while he walked back to close the driveway gate. Officer A saw the Subject walking toward him on the sidewalk. The Subject then started to run in his direction. As the Subject got closer, Officer A saw a handgun in the Subject’s hand. The Subject then pointed it at Officer A. Officer A drew his pistol from his pocket and fired one round at the Subject.
The Subject continued to point the gun at Officer A, so Officer A fired a second round. The Subject passed in front of Officer A’s vehicle before collapsing on the sidewalk, behind a short block wall. Officer A believed the Subject had been shot but could not see him, so Officer A did not try and approach the Subject, pending the arrival of assistance.
Officer A ran toward the back door of the home, while covering the Subject’s last known position. Officer A called 9-1-1. While speaking to the Operator and waiting for the first unit to arrive, Officer A saw a male approach the Subject. The male squatted down near the Subject and Officer A lost sight of him. The male then stood back up, adjusted his shirt, and walked away. Officer A saw two other males walk over to the Subject, lean over him momentarily, then stand back up and walk away. Upon the arrival of assisting officers, the officers were unable to locate the Subject’s weapon.LAPD Board of Police Commissioners
To design a Stage from this Summary, we would extract Officer A’s actions, step by step. For clarity, each step is italicized in the above report.
Sequence of events for scenario development of 011-11
- While standing at P1, draw pistol from concealment and fire one round at T1 (7 yards).
- Fire one round at T2 (5 yards).
- Retreat to cover at P2 and point pistol at P3.
- Call 911, giving your location, while continuing to maintain pistol pointed at P3.
We can then create a diagram of what that would look like. Someone who was going to shoot it would know step by step what they had to do.
Based on the diagram, we can then replicate what Officer A had to do to keep from getting victimized or killed. While Stages created based on ‘Real Life’ tend to be much less lurid than the Stages shot in organized competition, they do give us an idea of what we might need to do to keep ourselves from being victimized or killed.
The LAPD Board of Police Commissioners made the following Findings about the actions of this Officer A.
The BOPC found Officer A’s tactics to warrant a Tactical Debrief. (This is required after any Officer Involved Shooting.)
- Drawing and Exhibiting
The BOPC found Officer A’s drawing and exhibiting a firearm to be In policy.
- Lethal Use of Force
The BOPC found Officer A’s use of lethal force to be In policy.
If you would like to read the book and create your own Courses of Fire from it, simply click on the book cover below.
Any time a Los Angeles Police Officer fires his or her weapon, whether on or off duty, a thorough investigation of the incident is conducted and then reviewed by the LAPD Board of Police Commissioners. The Board has provided unprecedented transparency by posting Summaries of those investigations for every firearm discharge since 2005.
This book is a collection and analysis of those reports. They are stories of Officer Involved Shootings, Officer Involved Animal Shootings, and Unintentional Discharges drawn directly from those reports. The Public Reports also include the Board’s Findings (rulings) as to whether the incident was In Policy or Out of Policy. Contrary to popular belief, not all LAPD Shootouts are ruled to be In Policy.
For the Armed Citizen, these reports and the analyses provide valuable information about what really happens before, during, and after the gunfire. This first volume covers Off Duty incidents so the situations are very similar to those faced daily by The Armed Citizens. This book gives us the opportunity to learn from the experiences of highly trained police officers about what to do when criminals come for you.
For those who are just interested in the challenges police officers face, this is also a book you will enjoy.
Click the image below to purchase the book.
In the midst of the hullabaloo recently, a major historical even has been largely overlooked.
On February 28, 1997, a huge shootout took place in North Hollywood (Los Angeles) California. On one side were two heavily armed and armored bank robbers. On the other side were hundreds of Los Angeles Police Officers. The shootout lasted about 45 minutes and estimates of the rounds fired go to almost 2,000. In the end, both robbers were killed and numerous police officers were injured, fortunately, none fatally.
In a short CNN video presentation, Rick Massa, former LAPD SWAT Officer who was on the scene, commented:
“If this were to happen today, this would be over before SWAT would get there. As a result of the shooting, there are rifles in all the police cars, in all of the stations, all police officers are trained with assault rifles, to be able to handle this type of a situation.”
However, the recent events have shown us that’s not true at all. Changing tools and tactics don’t really change policing. As with any large group or organization, culture and people are the agents of change