Convicted felon Harlan Hale was able to accomplish something many citizens would envy–he got Boise Police to change an important firearms policy about shooting at moving vehicles.
Ironically his reckless attempts to kill people and flee from the law have left behind a legacy of reform and introspection among law enforcement. (for you non-library types that’s: “examination of one’s own mental and emotional processes”)
Chief Mike Masterson has assured the GUARDIAN future police policy will PROHIBIT SHOOTING AT MOVING VEHICLES. He said the command staff will soon have a policy in place along with a training scenario instructing officers NOT to shoot at moving vehicles, but to get out of the way if someone is aiming a car at them. It will be official and on the books by May.
A host of police agencies nationwide have NO SHOOT policies for moving vehicles including the Idaho, State Police. After Los Angeles cops killed a 13 year old two year ago while shooting at a moving vehicle, police professionals reasoned that short of a bazooka, it was impossible to stop a vehicle with a gun. You could kill the driver with a lucky shot, but that left a driverless vehicle careening down the street and the risk of gunfire hitting an unintended target was simply too great.
“We use our vehicles as cover from gunshots and they work well for the bad guys just as well,” said Boise’s top cop.
Masterson and his commanders are to be commended for doing the right thing on the vehicle shooting policy–it just makes sense and everyone should be a little safer.
Hale was stopped by Boise police last February 28, got into a wild west gunfight and escaped. Apparently neither the cops or the bad guys were hit by any of the flying lead, despite reports of about 27 shots being exchanged.
March 9 Hale was located at a Garden City residence on Waterside Place and fled–we can’t resist–IN A HAIL OF BULLETS. Police say he tried to run down an officer who shot at him in the car, eventually crashed his car in a ditch and hid in tall grass.
Evidence that police opened fire on Hale is pretty clear. Several houses were damaged by police bullets to the tune of about $7,000 which Boise paid residents. Damage included bullets through windows, doors, an appliance and even a bed. There is no indication that Hale ever fired at police.
In fact, a police spokesperson at the time said while officers could not actually see Hale, they knew he was armed and felt justified in shooting their weapons–which ultimately hit only innocent homes. It turned out sorta OK, but it wasn’t clean.
Boise’s citizens and police command staff await the report of Ombudsman Pierce Murphy on the Garden City shooting. It should be completed within the next month, given the workload his office has encountered.
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