SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Twice in one week, police opened fire on suspects as the cars they were in tried to speed away, adding urgency to a policy change in the works for about six months.

A new general order would redefine when officers should use a gun to protect themselves from a moving vehicle and when they should simply get out of the way, said Police Commissioner Jim Hammer.

“[If] someone in the car is actually firing a weapon,” Hammer said, “in that kind of case, the police officer is really duty bound to try to stop that person from trying to shoot somebody else.”

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

The concern is that injuring a suspect who is behind the wheel of a fleeing vehicle also exposes passers-by to even greater risk of “getting run over by a driverless car,” Hammer said.

Police in the field have to make split second decisions, and Hammer said it’s essential that they have clear orders to guide their behavior as other big cities have done.

Hammer hopes to bring that general order drafted by Chief George Gascón before the Police Department’s civilian oversight panel in December.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (3)
  1. Wallace Gardner says:

    If the driver is trying to evade the police he will be speeding and driving recklessly without any concern for pedestrians or vehicles that get in his way. The sooner a cop stops him any way he can the sooner the risk to innocent people is ended.

    If the driver isn’t stopped this time he’ll do it again. Sooner or later his homicidal driving will kill or injure one or more people. Think crowd crossing a street or an innocent family in a van or station wagon.

  2. NRA Life Member says:

    This is all lawyer-driven and based on trying to reduce the liability on the city. They are not concerned about protecting anyone from criminals, they just don’t want to be held liable and have to pay out a bunch of money from a lawsuit.

    If the cops shoot a driver and he crashes into a bystander, the lawyers will argue that it’s the cops’ fault for shooting the driver. If the cops don’t stop a fleeing suspect and he then crashes into a bystander, the crash is now the suspects’ fault and the city is not liable. Conversely, another lawyer may argue that, by inaction of the cop to stop the suspect, the cop is liable for the bystander being injured and the city still has to pay up. Wonderful system, huh?

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