Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Travelling Gravely

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  • Shep Cheyenne,

    All weapons are open to abuse - handcuffed & peppersprayed - front page a few months back.

    Bottomline Police Dogs haven't killed.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    whole of Govt would include mental health & Maori, in consideration of new and unusual weaponry.

    These two make up a large number of the target market after all.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Actually, they can.

    Sorry, I didn't mean that legally they can't enter buildings. Just that they're of limited use in a house or business or pub etc. And if doors are closed, which they probably are in relation to an armed offender, the dog can't get in to get them.

    I presume sometimes they do enter with their handler, particularly larger buildings - mall, warehouse etc etc.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6151 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    All weapons are open to abuse - handcuffed & peppersprayed

    Distasteful as it is, that's entirely within procedure. So technically that's not abuse.

    You're so hung up on the apparent safety of dogs that Kyle and I really just seem to be talking past you. People usually require medical attention, sometimes even hospitalisation, after they've been subject to the tender mercies of a police dog. Tasers usually require nothing more than a doctor checking that the "Taseree" isn't suffering heart palpitations or the like, and pepper spray mostly just gets dealt with using a wash-up kit that's kept in every frontline car. Just because dogs don't kill people (and even with Tasers death's a pretty rare event) doesn't mean they're safe. Tetanus shots, stitches, antibiotics, the list of post-bite requirements goes on. Pepper spray leaves no marks, and Tasers don't leave significant puncture wounds that are potential sites of infection.

    Your "whole of Govt" thing still doesn't deal with the fact that increasing dog numbers as you desire would be horrendously expensive compared to getting Tasers. It doesn't matter how many departments are involved, there's still a requirement to give the people on the sharp end tools to do their job. What can "mental health and Maori" contribute to keeping cops safe? In the wops, a dog may be 30, 40, 90 minutes away. It may be entirely inappropriate to wait half that long to resolve a situation, but you're saying that that's precisely what should be done. I'm calling bullshit. The police are paid to resolve situations, not to sit around holding hands and singing songs while they wait for a dog to arrive.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Just an aside... info gained from watching..... um... Oprah (the shame)...

    Tazers can be used only once to get a person at range without reloading...... but can be used multiple times or on multiple people if you bring the business end of the weapon into direct contact....

    This was touted as a feature in the case of missing with the first shot, or multiple attackers....

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 786 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Sorry, I didn't mean that legally they can't enter buildings. Just that they're of limited use in a house or business or pub etc. And if doors are closed, which they probably are in relation to an armed offender, the dog can't get in to get them.

    There's always windows. They train for jumping through them. Not so hot on doors, but given that I know of cats that will hang off lever doorhandles to get them open I'm sure they can find ways :P
    Mostly dogs are good for chasing people coming out of the house, or finding people who're hidden. Clear the house, then send in a dog to find anyone who's secreted themselves somewhere.

    But you're right, compared to a person dogs have very limited mobility for buildings. Even fences are a problem, despite their training.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Even fences are a problem, despite their training.

    I could fix that. My dogs have found ways through and over my back fence to harass the goat that lives there, no matter what I do.

    If police dog training was moved to my house and my dogs were put in charge, they'd be leaping 6 foot walls after offenders before you could go woof.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6151 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    If police dog training was moved to my house and my dogs were put in charge, they'd be leaping 6 foot walls after offenders before you could go woof.

    What sort of dogs are they Kyle?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5924 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    If police dog training was moved to my house and my dogs were put in charge, they'd be leaping 6 foot walls after offenders before you could go woof.

    Before or after you add the barbed wire and broken glass to the top of it?
    Police dogs are trained to scale two-metre-high walls, but it's not difficult to make the top insurmountable to dogs and tricky for humans.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Sure Dogs aren't the answer to everything - as much as they would like to chase a car they prob won't be issuing speeding tickets anytime soon ;-)

    Here's the condiments:

    "Two deaths have occurred in NZ following use of pepper spray by police. Mentally ill Ian Horsfield, aged 66, died in 1999. Intellectually disabled Russell Hamilton, aged 32, died in July 2001."
    http://www.howardleague.co.nz/factsheets/factsheet_18.html

    The Buzzer:

    "The use of the Taser as a less lethal intervention implies that Police would only use the weapon when the alternative would be to use lethal force against an offender - a restriction favoured by Amnesty International"
    -Amnesty on side, interesting.

    "However, the Taser will not normally be used against a person armed with a firearm by NZ Police "
    http://www.howardleague.co.nz/factsheets/factsheet_42.html

    Sorry couldn't find details on Dogs.

    I accept they bite, and may maime but the alternatives have all killed.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    What sort of dogs are they Kyle?

    They're from the same litter. Mother was a blue heeler collie cross. Two different fathers we suspect. Brown one the father is probably a kelpie, the black one is definitely a bearded collie from over the road.

    The black collie taught the other one to jump.

    Before or after you add the barbed wire and broken glass to the top of it?
    Police dogs are trained to scale two-metre-high walls, but it's not difficult to make the top insurmountable to dogs and tricky for humans.

    I'm not sure my neighbours would be happy with barbed wire and broken glass between our properties, but I'll check!

    "Two deaths have occurred in NZ following use of pepper spray by police. Mentally ill Ian Horsfield, aged 66, died in 1999. Intellectually disabled Russell Hamilton, aged 32, died in July 2001."

    According to the NZ Herald report Ian Horsfield died of a heart attack at the scene. He wasn't killed directly by pepper spray, and there's no guarantee that he wouldn't have found being brought to the ground and mauled by a dog just as stressful and had a heart attack anyway.

    Russell Hamilton also died of a heart attack, so the same thing applies there.

    But you're assuming that in those two instances, dogs would have been instead of pepper spray, which is based on your assumption that dogs are an alternative to pepper spray, which it very rarely is. Most situations that use a dog, pepper spray would be useless as the subject is hundreds of metres away. Most situations where pepper spray has been used a dog would be inappropriate, you can't just bring a dog to subdue a person suffering from mental illness or intellectual disability. That's insane. If the police started doing that every time they had a call that a mentally ill person was being violent and threatening people, they'd rightly be ripped to shreds by the public.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6151 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    The black collie taught the other one to jump.

    heh, who said they need training eh? I am constantly surprised by the dog. My sisters (police dog descendant) pinned a guy on the property and awaited the police when they (cops) couldn't find him after a chase. She instinctively acted (twice now) as a police dog does ,so the police mentioned ,and, has now helped catch 2 thieves. Now my dog.... she's the best dog in the whole wide world. That's enough about Stella. :-)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5924 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Oh, Sofie. No! More, more. Being a dog fanatic, myself, I am always eager to hear about others' pups. Incidentally, and it is somewhat relevant to this topic re police dogs, my dog is a staffie/heeler cross, and a magnificent guard dog. We're not sure why, because she's usually the biggest people slut on earth. But she is what she is. And we were very grateful for that, when one morning she awoke at 3am and barked up a hell of a storm. My husband flicked the curtain, saw a young man trying to break into our car, leapt up and let the dog out the front door, and she promptly chased the young thief down the end of the road. She looks a little staunch apparently - so I'm told. I can never see it myself - and that's why I think police dogs should be used more widely. Never underestimate what criminal types are scared of. It's likely to be dogs IMHO.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3121 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    One of my family, a GP who has worked in remote areas, always felt quite safe as long as the family Alsatian was along - this bitch had stood off police Alsatians attempting to come into her territory! (In fact the police were interested in recruiting her but - alas- she was speyed early...) RIP Snoops- that part of the family will be getting another Alsatian (of the same very carefully monitored bloodlines) asap.

    I dont own dogs but they truly are a good part of a family - let alone a Police Force - when nurtured and trained kindly & properly, their dignity & nature respected. Much like kids-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Oh, Sofie. No! More, more.

    Last surprising thing Stell did was race up sand dunes (just before Cape Rienga)in less than 2 mins and I'm talking mofo sand dunes here. She seems better on sand but the lurcher ( that we know about) could have something to do with her speed. She picked up traits of her well known mother (Peria bitch) and mimics the old behaviour to a tee. Consequently we have nothing but pleasure with her and she has always been part of my job description. Stella goes everywhere with me. She will have a shower on suggestion by walking into our bathroom and sitting in shower until we assist. I get a stomp at 5 and continuous until fed.Just as her mother did.I get to laugh every day. One thing that amazed me,When, after my brain haemorrhage, I was transferred to the rehab,hadn't even got out of the ambulance, there she goes,through the self opening doors, down the hall and sits by a bed.The nurse then informed me that ,it was indeed the bed for me.I love her to bits.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5924 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    "Two deaths have occurred in NZ following use of pepper spray by police. Mentally ill Ian Horsfield, aged 66, died in 1999. Intellectually disabled Russell Hamilton, aged 32, died in July 2001."

    (emphasis added) Remind me of the year again. 2008, innit? So in the last nearly seven years, with doubtless tens-of-thousands of uses of pepper spray, there hasn't been a single fatality? And pepper spray was first made available in the late 90's. So it would appear that there were two fatalities in the first few years of use, and since then SOPs have been refined and it's now relatively safe?
    Dogs maul, that's all there is to it. No amount of pansy dithering with SOPs can change that. Their use is unavoidably dangerous to the person they're apprehending. By contrast pepper spray looks to be a very benign alternative, even though as Kyle has said they're not used as an either/or solution. As Kyle has also said, dogs are not an acceptable alternative for situations involving disturbed persons. Their deployment is highly traumatising, far more so than pepper spray. Being sprayed hurts, but being attacked by a dog puts a person into a primal fear situation. Which is easier to recover from, particularly if you're a person who's not quite playing with a full deck?

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I have been trying to find an answer for assisting Police, and at the end of the day I have to accept that tasers are probably the best for a bad situation. Unfortunately we have situations where enforcement requires rendering the assailant without the ability to continue and I now accept it would be better to shoot with a taser. There appears to be situations that require other means for the police to use and accordingly we have those. A taser isn't an accidental situation I would like to end up in, but also an assailant really isn't considering anyone else's welfare either but I fear, (receiving end here) unless we address the stereotypical behaviour that often comes with the job the police are open to criticism and they will be vilified at the first corner. I know I would hate to see anyone with mental health issues being shot with any other firearm so I accept if the police feel they need them, so be taser it. But ....Do they need them?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5924 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    If the police started doing that every time they had a call that a mentally ill person was being violent and threatening people, they'd rightly be ripped to shreds by the public.

    "Why did the police leave a man to die while they waited for dogs?" you mean? Completes the circle nicely...

    I'm all for tasers when they're being used in place of firearms; at least one nutter in Hawera might well be alive and getting the help he needed if the cops on the scene had a taser instead of a pistol, and I'm sure people can nominate other examples where they'd have been an excellent sub-lethal response without unduly risking the lives of the public or police offers, while not actually having to kill an offender.

    What gives me concern is the scope for their abuse, and the scope to escalate response unnecessarily (e.g. where a police officer once would have talked someone down, his gung-ho young colleague simply tases someone).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    My man just reminded me, Stella went up(the sand dunes) and down and up again in less than 2 minutes. She is pretty fast.:-)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5924 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Kyle - with logic like that - No-ones died of AIDS.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    rogerd - Tasers are "less-lethal" force. They have killed in the past and will kill in the future.

    Matthew - none of these weapons are benign.

    " SOPs have been refined "
    As we're talking about deaths, what is this code for - unlawful killing?

    Whatever weapons the police use, the decision should go to the wider public in some form.
    They work for us after all.

    As we've kind of chased our tails on this subject a little.
    Any thoughts on the new model M16s in wider use by the cops?
    I'm in two minds myself.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    Any thoughts on the new model M16s in wider use by the cops?
    I'm in two minds myself.

    As am I. Although they aren't strictly speaking M16s (no fully automatic capability) I'm not entirely sure they were a good choice for the police.

    Aside from the pretty abysmal training of police in the use of firearms (according to some firearms instructors the safest place to be when the police are armed is directly in front of them). A calibre that was adopted by the US because it was capable of punching a burst of fire repeatedly through a steel helmet at 600 yards is probably not the best choice for a generally urban police force. Despite arguments around the use of frangible rounds, I think the potential risk to the public is unacceptably high from the combination of poor training/calibre/semi-auto capability.

    The bolt-action Remington model 7 rifles that were the previous rifle of the Police were IMHO quite sufficient, completely aside from their being more reliable and more accurate than the replacement rifle. The new, (more warlike) M4/AR15 may quite possibly have been adopted based on the 'look' rather than the need for a new rifle.

    I'm a bit unsure why shotguns weren't adopted as a first option rather than the M4. Perhaps shotguns weren't sufficiently cool? At the ranges police have tended to deploy rifles, a shot gun would probably have done the job just as well... Having said that, who can understand the workings of government procurement processes? Not I.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 230 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    A S - I totally agree.

    I used M16 to give the picture of what's to come & suspect there has been little (if any) need for semi-automatic rifles over bolt action.

    Prior to Timor, I did have the CO of the Tasmanian Reserve Army say with some exasperation that his soldiers couldn't match Martin Bryant.

    A number of incidents have highlighted the limitations - that dog where the cop emptied a mag & missed or the Skinhead with a deathwish (unfulfilled) in Christchurch (& all rounds unaccounted for).

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    e.g. where a police officer once would have talked someone down, his gung-ho young colleague simply tases someone

    This is certainly a concern, but as much as anything that risk comes from the fact that very few experienced officers exist anymore. It's quite normal to see sergeants, and even senior sergeants, with rectangular rather than circular number badges on their shoulders. Those badges aren't even 10 years old, which gives you some idea of just how little experience even senior non-comms have in our police. Toss in the decreased average stature of our cops, and they've hardly got intimidation-by-presence on their side.

    Shep, if you want to take refining SOPs in the wake of two deaths, such that there have been none since, as "code for - unlawful killing" then you go for your life. I'd say it's exactly the opposite, which was my point. If nobody's died in seven years, after two deaths in roughly two years, that suggests that how it's used has been changed to minimise the risk of fatalities. But you keep on beating that drum if you wish.
    As for the M16s, they're technically M4s.

    AS, amongst considerations were the usability by, shall we say, petite officers. Shotguns are hard on the body. An M4 has what appears to be (from reading online) a pretty effective recoil absorber. The semi-automatic nature of them makes them much better than a bolt-action if you need to fire multiples times in quick succession. The model 7s were proving to be a bit much for smaller officers to handle, and in the evolving climate of weapons use against police it's handy if any officer can effectively use the majority of the firearms available to them.
    I seem to recall something about getting a weapon of the same calibre as the Steyers, to allow for real bulk discounts on ammunition purchases, as an additional consideration. That bang-for-buck concern again. Piggy-backing off the military's purchasing does make good budgetary sense.

    I agree with you about firearms training, btw. Our cops don't get enough practice time to qualify to continue holding a private pistol licence, if that was a requirement for their job, which is just scary. They fire 50 rounds a year in training. At this moment in time, that's probably sufficient given how few shots are fired by the police, but in the future it is likely to prove woefully inadequate.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    A number of incidents have highlighted the limitations - that dog where the cop emptied a mag & missed

    A competition (I think. Was someone who gets a lot more trigger time than our cops, anyway) shooter said that trying to shoot a dog that's not tied up is going to prove extremely tricky, in the wake of that incident and precisely because of people like you saying that it shows our cops are useless shots.

    What's this CHC skinhead shooting?

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

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