Saturday, March 22, 2014

Gun-mounted Flashlights Spark Concerns in Wake of Accidental Denver Police Shootings

Denver Chief of Police Robert White
Denver Chief of Police Robert White (Craig F. Walker, Denver Post file photo)

The Denver Post
Denver's police chief said Thursday he has ordered extra training and a review of department policies after the second accidental shooting by an officer this month and the fifth in a little over a year.
Police are still investigating the latest shooting Sunday night, but at least two of the accidental shootings have been blamed on gun-mounted tactical flashlights. Such lights have also been cited in other accidental police shootings across the country, including one that killed a man in Texas.
Police Chief Robert White said he is reviewing the use of all such flashlights and will likely require officers who use them to undergo added training. He has already banned officers from using a specific design of such flashlights.
"It's gotten to the point where I'm concerned about it," White said Thursday. "We're mandating additional training."
The latest incident happened Sunday night near the intersection of South Federal Boulevard and West Alameda Avenue. An officer chasing several car-theft suspects unintentionally fired his gun before taking one adult and three juveniles into custody. No one was hit.
That incident came less than a week after another in which an officer's gun accidentally went off while he was chasing a man suspected of a probation violation. A bystander was wounded in that incident, though it remains unclear whether she was grazed by the bullet or debris from its impact.
The department had three accidental shootings last year.
White said he is thankful no one has been seriously injured in the shootings. But he said the incidents are particularly troubling because accidental shootings are "more often than not a sign of negligence on the part of the officer."
While the two shootings this year are still under investigation and the officers involved remain on duty, White said the three officers involved in last year's unintentional shootings were all disciplined. Punishments ranged from a four-day suspension to a written reprimand.


  1. Based on the remainder of the article at the source, this appears to be a failure to attend to the rule about not putting a finger on the trigger until ready to shoot.

  2. This sounds like an easy fix. Move the switch, there might even be a suitable design already on the market.