New law enforcement guidelines on warning shots won't change Tucson area policies

Updated: Mar. 29, 2017 at 6:40 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Police firing warning shots-we see them in the movies. In real life not so much.

A new idea to reduce the number of police shootings in the country is sparking debate.

A group of eleven national law enforcement organizations says "use of force" policy should include warning shots.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police, along with the other law enforcement groups, came out with new guidance on "use of force."

After stating that "warning shots are inherently dangerous," it basically allows for warning shots under very strict guidelines, including only when "the use of deadly force is justified."

National Consensus Policy on Use of Force by Tucson News Now on Scribd

The idea of warning shots got a reaction out of Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus Wednesday.

Chief Magnus reacted on Twitter saying the idea of allowing police to fire warning shot is "backwards thinking and super dangerous."

TPD policy states "officers shall not discharge a weapon as a warning shot."

The Pima County Sheriff's Department allows a warning shot but only in the most narrow and restricted situations.

Sheriff Mark Napier said warning shots are inherently dangerous, but an officer must do what's necessary to protect life.

Napier likened it an incident in Marana in 2015 when a police officer rammed an armed suspect with his patrol car.

"Generally speaking, you would think that hitting someone with your car would be out of policy, but we know in Marana a couple of years ago that was used as a tactic and (Marana Police) Chief (Terry) Rozema correctly identified that as a good tactic in that case, but it had a very limited application," Napier said.

"I agree with Chief Magnus that--and our policy is exceptionally limited only to those instances where deadly force would be otherwise authorized--so I share his concern with allowing these as a matter of normal police tactics is probably not a good idea at all," said Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier.

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