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Police Trainers Say Its Time To Rethink Drug Raids

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evil copBy Phillip Smith

With a 15% increase in shooting deaths of law enforcement officers last year, and with this year kicking off with an Ogden, Utah, drug raid that left one officer dead and five more wounded, some police trainers are saying it is time for police to rethink their tactics, USA Today reported Wednesday.

Some 68 law enforcers were killed by gunfire last year, 10 of them while serving search warrants or on multi-agency raids. While only three of them died doing work directly related to drug law enforcement — two US Marshals were shot and killed in separate raids trying to arrest drug fugitives and one Florida police officer was killed trying to search suspicious persons for drugs — the bloody Ogden raid has focused attention on drug raids.

In that raid, aimed at Matthew Stewart, an Army veteran with no criminal record who was supposedly “self-medicating” with marijuana he grew himself, a local drug task force forced its way into his home only to be met with ferocious gunfire. When the bullets stopped flying, Ogden Officer Jared Francom was dead and five of his comrades and Stewart were wounded. Prosecutors said this week they would seek the death penalty for him.

But that won’t bring back Officer Francom, and police need to reevaluate their tactics, said Pat McCarthy, who advises police agencies across the country.

Police Raid“The days of knocking down doors in drug cases should be over. Given what’s going on now, you have to consider other options,” McCarthy told USA Today. “Police should focus on trying to lure suspects out into the open or just “wait them out,” he said. “It’s time to change our thinking, Cops are exposing themselves to increasing danger many times over, and it’s just not necessary.”

That sentiment was echoed by Harvey Hedden, executive director of the International Law Enforcement Trainers and Educators Association. Its members need to “look at everything” to avoid putting themselves in danger.

“Police work can be 99% boredom and 1% panic,” Hedden said. “Routine can be the most dangerous of all. We need to go back to the basics.”

The Justice Department will host a meeting later this month with researchers and law enforcement officials to review tactics and training in the wake of the officers’ deaths.

Of course, it’s not just police who died in drug raids. The Chronicle’s tally of domestic drug war deaths last year includes 13 civilians who were killed by police in drug raids on residences.

Article From StoptheDrugWar.orgCreative Commons Licensing

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  • Chris

    Recently, my home was raided by the Salt Lake City Police. It was 5am and I was woken by a very loud bang. My dog was barking and the first thing that popped into my head was someone had just broken into my home. I looked around my bedroom for some kind of weapon to protect myself. Luckily I had no weapon because seconds later a swarm of police with guns drawn turned the corner ordering me to the ground. If I had picked up a weapon I know I would have been shot! Turns out a man that rents the basement of my house was under suspicion of selling drugs. For the next two hours I sat handcuffed and nude with a blanket around me while my home was invaded and searched by officers and a drug dog. No drugs were found in my part of the home. Some drugs were found in the basement and the man renting the basement was taken to jail on charges of POSSESSION not SALES. The damage the police caused entering the house as well as damages made during the search are in the thousands of dollar range. I was given a number to call for assistance in repairing the damages. Turns out it could take months to see the repairs and that’s only if I qualify for the program. In the meantime I am forced to re secure my home at my own expense. My point being, I can see how a situation similar to this can very easily turn violent and deadly. Something snaps when your needing to defend yourself from a dangerous situation in your own home. Even non violent good people have this natural instinct. This entire situation could have easily turned violent or deadly. We need to question the authority of those allowing these types of situations. Is a drug possession charge worth the loss of a human life? Was the value of the drug worth more than the damages to the home and the cost of the police department? Absolutely not! I no longer feel safe in my own home. It’s sad that those hired to protect you are now those you fear. I am at a loss. Suggestions?

  • Leo Bunyan

    They obviously don’t like it when people start to fire back in the “War On Drugs”

  • Kevo

    This is UNBELIEVABLE!! When are we gonna WAKE UP and see that People are DYING at the hands of the Police? There was absolutely ZERO reason for this so-called RAID to even happen in the first place. This guy hurt absolutely NO ONE, until THEY decided to raid his house! We need to get the Govt. OUT of our lives and out of our HOMES! One chop dead and 5 wounded because THIS GUY was smoking marijuana IN HIS HOME, that he GREW himself in. his own HOME! Who did this guy hurt PRIOR to this raid? According to a person familiar with the situation states, everyone at the Church and in the neighborhood… knew the guy and really LIKED him. He wasn’t being a menace cuz NONE of his neighbors even KNEW he SMOKED Marijuana that he grew for himself. When are we finns STOP, this FAILED War on drugs? Over $1 TRILLION has been spent to eradicate drugs and 90% of that Trillion was spent to eradicate Marijuana. The usage rates amongs by.Americans during this War hasn’t changed by even 1% during this 40 yr./ FAILED $1 Trillionya War on Drugs. 50,000 (yes 50,000) people have been killed in Mexico over 4 years by the Mexican Drug Cartels.If we takes the profit OUT of of that industry, the Cartels will leave ord at least go elsewhere. WAKE UP AMERICA….We can NO longer financially continue this War on Drugs. Take that money and past down country”s debt. We are at a CRITICAL point in this country’s history and we COULD go either way. I hope people decide that THEIR LIBERTY is as important to THEM as MINE is to ME!

  • Kevo

    This is UNBELIEVABLE!! When are we gonna WAKE UP and see that People are DYING at the hands of the Police? There was absolutely ZERO reason for this so-called RAID to even happen in the first place. This guy hurt absolutely NO ONE, until THEY decided to raid his house! We need to get the Govt. OUT of our lives and out of our HOMES! One chop dead and 5 wounded because THIS GUY was smoking marijuana IN HIS HOME, that he GREW himself in. his own HOME! Who did this guy hurt PRIOR to this raid? According to a person familiar with the situation states, everyone at the Church and in the neighborhood… knew the guy and really LIKED him. He wasn’t being a menace cuz NONE of his neighbors even KNEW he SMOKED Marijuana that he grew for himself. When are we finns STOP, this FAILED War on drugs? Over $1 TRILLION has been spent to eradicate drugs and 90% of that Trillion was spent to eradicate Marijuana. The usage rates amongs by.Americans during this War hasn’t changed by even 1% during this 40 yr./ FAILED $1 Trillionya War on Drugs. 50,000 (yes 50,000) people have been killed in Mexico over 4 years by the Mexican Drug Cartels.If we takes the profit OUT of of that industry, the Cartels will leave ord at least go elsewhere. WAKE UP AMERICA….We can NO longer financially continue this War on Drugs. Take that money and past down country’s

  • Chris Hawkes

    I live near the scene of this incident. It is actually a picturesque setting with snow capped mountains looming in the back ground and a red bricked church across the street from Mr. Stewarts house. Everyone knew him as a well mannered man and the news media could not find any neighbors that would say an ill word about him.

    Utah media tried to demonize Mr Stewart, but facts are scarce being both cops and Stewarts family are keeping details to themselves. It took the police over 4 days to process the scene where maybe hundreds of rounds were fired. The quiet neighborhood was extremely terrorized and count themselves lucky that no one caught a stray bullet.

    At a press conference the police rebuked the idea that friendly fire was the cause of any wounded officers. Cops also ducked questions about any plants or cannabis being found, and mysteriously there was no POV video, that is routinely captured by this strike force.

    Just a few month prior to this incident this same task force murdered an innocent man on a similar raid. (youtube search; Todd Blair Ogden)

    Utah cops put on a massive show of force today for the slain officer, complete with police helicopters and an F-16 fly over from near by Hill Air Force base. The police car procession was perhaps over 2 miles long.

    The only major news outlet in Utah that allows mostly uncensored comments (Salt Lake Tribune) was flooded with comments dismayed at police tactics and the likely coverup of how the raid went down. Most commenters expressed wishes to end the failed drug war, a war waged on our own citizens.