How Are Canadian Police Officers Shooting and Why Is That Wrongful?


By definition, the police must be prepared for all types of emergencies – from a physical and psychological viewpoint. While it is definitely true that having access to the right tools can be helpful, it isn’t the only thing that matters. Crises are unanticipated; therefore, being mentally prepared for whatever may come is critical, especially for the police.

Shooting Incidents in Canada Involving the Police

But what are we talking about, more specifically? I am referring to a recent incident that took place in Canada. Last month, two police officers – namely Robb Costello and Sarah Burns, were killed as they responded to firearm reports.

Statistically speaking, it is quite rare for police officers to get killed while on duty. Only 133 police officers were killed between 1961 and 2009, five of them in the province of New Brunswick – where this incident took place.

Aside from that, though, in the year of 2014, Justin Bourque, shot five RCMP officers, killing three. More specifically, the shooting entailed a manhunt that lasted for no less than 48 hours, which really shocked the nation. Supposedly, the police officers weren’t properly trained and armed for such a situation. Even if gun laws are more stringent in Canada, in comparison to US, it appears that, in recent years, the number of shootings has increased.

The Importance of Mental Preparation

The question that imminently follows is: what are the reasons why these incidents happened? Is it possibly because Canadian police officers aren’t adequately prepared to deal with actual shootings?

It could be, as mental preparation is of critical importance – it is what gives you confidence in your abilities, outlining your inner strength and capabilities. When you strongly believe in your capabilities, you can deal with the fears that inevitably arise during confrontations.

So, how do you mentally prepare yourself for shooting incidents that could emerge without notice?

  • Embracing The Right Attitude

For one thing, attitude matters more than one might think. It’s important to build and maintain a positive attitude – the kind of attitude that says I will get you and I will survive. Believe it or not, but a positive attitude is evident to the attacker. The attacker can actually sense a lack of confidence in your abilities, which means that you’re losing.

Learning to control fear – this is something the police should focus on. Experiencing fear isn’t shameful, quite the opposite. Fear is a normal feeling and it emerges in extreme situations. It’s up to us to learn how to control it. When you learn how to control your fear, you actually learn how to control even the most difficult situations you find yourself in.

  • Being Prepared for The Unexpected

In law enforcement, it is fundamental to assess that things are hardly what they seem. Most people are deceptive, in some cases, even cunning. One might even attempt to assault a police officer whilst pretending to approach him/her in a friendly manner. This is why you shouldn’t fully trust whatever meets the eye. You should give yourself the time to assess the situation and, if you don’t have the time to do that, you should simply be prepared for whatever may come.

Deciding to Shoot Someone Is a Decision That Should Be Dissected Beforehand

When an officer is in a tough situation, it can be difficult to think straight. This is why the decision to shoot someone ought to be dissected in detail before the time asks of it. At first sight, it is a decision that only takes a fraction of a second, but it is more complex than that.

We’ll look at another incident that also took place in Canada. A Vancouver police officer used lethal force against a person with mental illness, which is overly common in Canada, unfortunately. There are a bunch of critical cases that entailed this kind of action.

It appears that, in this situation, the mentally-ill aggressor was shot within a minute after the police’s arrival.

Teaching Police Officers to Diffuse Volatile Incidents

The police’s approach is wrongful, at the very least. The thing is that, a police officer usually approaches the aggressor by screaming at the other person to drop the gun. Evidently, this approach doesn’t build any relationship, quite the opposite. What is the conclusion here?

Police officers should be taught to diffuse volatile incidents, as opposed to permitting the situation to turn into a live-or-die kind of confrontation. Dangerous people can really be calmed down without the use of force. Nonetheless, more research should be conducted on the topic of mental health and the right way to approach attackers.

To sum up, the subject of firearm shooting is, by far, one of the most complex ones. But the presence of this kind of incidents in Canada clearly point that these types of situations aren’t handled accordingly. Police officers should be trained for emergencies, and they should utterly comprehend the challenges that come with the territory. Confidence, mixed with useful competencies, and a deep understanding of human psychology should bridge the gaps that imminently emerge in ever-changing environments.

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