Idaho Not Immune From “Big City” Cop Issues

UPDATE 12/2/15–Turns out the Caldwell PD policy is identical to Boise and other national police agencies…don’t shoot at a moving vehicle. No better situation at a family fight than to have one of the combatants leave. See IDAHO PRESS TRIBUNE.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Tuesday asked for the resignation of police commissioner Garry McCarthy in the wake of the arrest of officer Jason Van Dyke charged with the murder of a black teen.

People across the USA were aghast when the video of the shooting was released last week, showing the youth being shot 16 times. The video was suppressed for nearly a year.

Meanwhile, in Idaho the shooting death of rancher Jack Yantis has taken a new twist with a story by STATESMAN reporter Katy Moeller. She revealed that one of the shooters of Yantis, Adams County Deputy Brian Wood, had a previous altercation with an 80-year-old man he had stopped for going 35 in a 25 mph zone four years ago.

In the video of that 2011 incident Wood, a McCall copper at the time, scuffles with the old man and eventually jails him. The man filed a federal civil rights law suit and the city of McCall settled out of court for an unknown sum.

While the October Adams County shooting death has garnered major local and national coverage, a Caldwell man was shot Sunday by an officer who claimed the suspect “tried to run him over,” with a vehicle. The copper opened fire, hitting the driver who eventually crashed into yet another police cruiser.

Such action is not far off from “road rage.” Could a motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian claim “self defense,” when a driver cuts him off or even rams him? Imagine trying to sell a jury on, “He nearly hit me on my bike. I was in fear of my life so I had to shoot him.”

While not binding on other departments, the following Boise PD policy of NOT shooting at a moving vehicle is common policy with departments from Los Angeles to New York.

1.4 Use of Firearms at a Moving Vehicle 
An officer shall not discharge a firearm at a vehicle or its occupants in response to a threat posed solely by the vehicle, unless both of the following circumstances exist: 
–The officer has a reasonable belief that the suspect poses a continuing threat of death or serious bodily injury to officer(s) or others; and 
–The officer has no reasonable alternative course of action 

There is hope however. The GUARDIAN has obtained a lengthy “use of force” report from a national police executive think tank. If coppers across the nation had the training these top coppers espouse, fewer lives would be lost…citizen or cop.

New York reduced shootings by 90% when they made it a policy to NOT shoot at moving vehicles. Before Boise implemented the policy coppers peppered a Garden City neighborhood with bullets and ended up paying for everything from dishwashers to garage doors as a result.

The seminar ideas expressed in the report include things like recognizing that a guy with a knife can cut you before you can get your gun out if he is within 20 feet. Their solution? Stay more than 20 feet away.

The report is 84 pages long, but full of enlightening ideas.USE OF FORCE

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. IdahoCrystal
    Dec 1, 2015, 4:17 pm

    Sometimes it seems like some LEOs forget that, in the US, “Police” is a noun and not a verb – and that guns are not compliance weapons.

    At any given moment, all officers carry 2-3 compliance weapons – batons, pepper spray, tasers, etc. – and yet the first thing they’re trained to reach for is their gun.

    It wasn’t so very long ago that the majority of cops could serve their entire career never having drawn their weapons. Now, it seems as if they’re getting trained by the media – with a focus on fear-based, lethal force tactics, rather than de-escalation and negotiation tactics. Training as though every traffic stop or interaction will (not might) turn lethal – is just the right recipe for the worst that can happen.

    EDITOR NOTE–Scroll through the PDF attachment. Without exception FIREARMS training is the #1 priority of police nationwide. First aid, mental crisis, are all at the bottom of training priority.

  2. chicago sam
    Dec 1, 2015, 5:09 pm

    In the case of the recent Caldwell shooting was the driver of the car shot in the back, side, or in the face with the car coming toward the officer?

    EDITOR NOTE–If past “critical incident” task force reports are an indicator, we won’t know for about 6 months.

  3. Sounds like the cop who shot at the Caldwell man learned his tactics from watching violent TV shows.
    Better to spend your time getting out of a cars way if you feel in danger. If he had time to shoot at the car, then it obviously wasn’t an immediate threat to him.
    We need more peacekeepers and less Rambo’s / Terminator Units.
    A dirty little secret is that the mythical economic ‘recovery’ never happened. All real economic indicators are in the toilet, or if they are not it is because the metrics were adjusted to hide reality. The Great Depression had ‘soup lines’, we have ‘food stamps’. Last I heard there were around 47 million people receiving them. So, there are a lot of desperate people out there, and that could be part of the reason for so many trigger happy cops.

  4. LaBatts 50 Ale
    Dec 1, 2015, 7:24 pm

    Cop is somewhere between 10 and 20 on list of most dangerous jobs in the US. Its excellent pay and benefits for a career requiring an easy 2 or 4 year education. Lots of people become cops after the military refused enlistment for personality or other problems. Your hiring standards are messed up coppers!

    From 2010 through 2014, there were four fatal police shootings in England, which has a population of 52 million. Albuquerque, population 1 million had 26 fatal police shootings in the same time period. That’s a 38,000% higher rate. (To be fair England is mostly gun free, but also to be fair our cops are shooting lots of people without any weapon at all)

    Coppers, you have a problem. The white people who pay your bills are finally tired of your crap too.

    I suggest a massive reorganizing to make it a non-career job. 2 years cop work in station or jail to sort out the bad apples, followed by 6 to 8 years on patrol, and then it’s up or out. This will break up the blue line club and bully problems too. It will also cut down of the early medical disability retirements. I also suggest banning the unions from involvement in protecting cops in trouble. Wage and benefit negotiations and that’s it. For the safety of the public a Chief or Mayor should be able to hire and fire at will. Also needs to be a permanent federal copper database so problem cops can’t get a fresh start in the neighboring community. Problems with wife, girlfriend, drinking, speeding, other jackass problems, then no badge no gun. Federal oversight of any shooting by any department with higher than average rate.

    I also think the best police tool ever, is stop and frisk. Look at the NYPD crime numbers before during and after. So we have a lawyer problem in the US just as bad as the cop problem.

    And stop with the stupid TV shows glorifying cops. It’s propaganda. If you make a cop show than show us the whole animal, under the tail and everything.

  5. Trevor D Hitchin
    Dec 1, 2015, 8:18 pm


    You said it…thank you.
    Very well written article & comment.
    Appreciate cutting out the fluff…very serious now…

    Peace on Earth… now please.

  6. Bill Goodnight
    Dec 1, 2015, 9:29 pm

    Who is investigating the killing of the Council rancher by Adams County Sheriff Deputies?……..The Idaho State Police.

    Who is investigating the Caldwell police shooting?….. The Nampa Police Department.

    Is it just me or is logic nowhere to be found in our society?

  7. Bill Goodnight makes an important point.
    “Who” investigates is paramount to the justice system. A system without standards and consistency is not

    A good project for a criminal justice student or law school student (or a retiree with time) would be to compare the fatal cop shooting cases -just within Idaho to make it manageable. The result of comparing the details might prove to be interesting.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: