It's a goofy idea
That's grossly understating it..... and I HATE cops.
I, too, have no sympathy for the fuckers. There's exactly one cop I'll give the benefit of the doubt, and he used to be on this here board.
Loosing your job, your career, your prospects, for defending your life. When that job specifically entails entering life-threatening situations so others don't have to. That rubs up on my sense of fairness, and I loathe having to consider such a measure unfair to those bastards.
And if you could get it implemented, you'd be looking at situations where, if a cop does get killed, everyone and their grandmother is gonna blame that measure for why the dead cop didn't shoot first to save his life. In the end, it might backfire, with the measure being discontinued, and cops feeling "off the leash", feeling justified in shooting to kill even more than they do now.
Thinking about it, I wonder if an appropriate measure might be two guns. No, I have not thought this through, but hear me out.
Suppose any cop had to carry two guns. One loaded with deadly bullets - the other with rubber bullets (and, ideally, rubber bullets further optimized to be non-lethal and non-maiming than existing types).
the holster for the lethal gun is secured in some manner that requires the non-lethal gun being drawn first. So that, by the time the cop had lethal force available if needed, he'd already have non-lethal force in hand
. Odds are, in a high-adrenaline situation, the cop would try to resolve the situation with the non-lethal bird in his hand.
don't try to elaborately engineer something that wouldn't be idiot-proof, nor malice-proof, to begin with. Few things are.
Just give them a non-lethal option that is easier to use than the lethal option. Would that stop all police killings? No.
But if your only tool is a hammer. If lethal force is all a cop has to credibly threaten a person more than a few feet away (think range of TASER or pepper-spray), or in a position to add sufficient distance in the blink of an eye, than lethal force is almost certainly what that cop is gonna end up resorting to.
Give cops a non-lethal option that, unlike a TASER, allows multiple shots in quick succession, and unlike pepper spray, isn't liable to incapacitate them like it should the suspect, like when the wind is blowing the wrong way. And, obviously, fucking train
them to preferentially use the less-than-lethal option. And I think they will.
There should be something so the cops won't immediately go for the lethal weapon. Like making the less-than-gun so that they won't worry about just dropping it when they do have to go lethal. Simple solution: do like the Mounties did in recent memory, have the gun on a lanyard. So that they don't have to spend time on re-holstering, and know in advance they won't have to.
There are a number of other measures that one might add.
Engineer it so it can only fire rubber bullets, so that lethal bullets won't fit (which would also avoid "mistakes" by "overworked" cops). Make the gun so that a child isn't likely to discharge it while playing around (confounding unfamiliar shooters with the funky grip-cock was, I recall reading, greatly appreciate by police departments that adopted the HK P7, as many cops who get shot are shot with their own service-weapon). Make sure people know they can get a reward for handing in a recovered less-than-gun, put a keyfinder-thingy on it, paint it in UV-reactive paint. A bunch of obvious measures that remind them, any time they draw it, that they will be able to recover it if lost. Also make it so that they know, if they do have to go lethal, and they do have to drop it, and can justify either, even if just barely, they won't even get a reprimand, let alone actual trouble.
There already exists at least one shotgun with two separate magazine tubes (the "Neostead 2000") that, afaik, would let the use choose from which to chamber a shell. I can imagine other mechanisms for allowing the use of two separate magazine tubes with rapid switching between the two. Make it so that the action will only load shorter shells from one tube, perhaps of a length not commercially available to civilians, and issue the less-than-lethal stuff, beanbags or whatever, in that shorter size. Boom, no way to accidentally load lethal in the less-than magazine. Make some design alterations so that, when the cop grabs the gun from the clamp in the car, it will always and only ever be set to the less-than-lethal magazine.
Yeah, the cop could just switch to lethal.
But he might not. He might actually be more likely not to.
To round it off, and to discourage the use of lethal force when unnecessary. And to discourage a gaggle of cops pouring forty rounds into a single suspect. Make them justify each
round of lethal ammo. Make them sign for every single bullet or shotgun shell. Perhaps issue only micro-stamped ammo, so they can't get cute and bring their own, and so that they know they can't get cute like that. Make the paperwork they must file for every lethal round they discharge such a bureaucratic nightmare, they associate them with hours and hours of overtime, just filling out paperwork. Make sure that the paperwork is actually reviewed by somebody, and that they know it will be. Make every cop who tries to use deadly force for less than legit reasons but doesn't actually harm anybody sit through days and days of mind-numbing seminars, and make it so they must fly a desk for a while, with no overtime, night-duty, whatever bonuses they might expect to take home otherwise. Make them dread
having to use lethal force. Like any human being who isn't a fucking violent sociopath should.
Since a dead suspect should require a lot of paperwork already, making them dread the paperwork for using lethal bullets shouldn't keep anyone from protecting their own life, or the life of somebody else.
At the same time, don't hand out the less-than-lethal ammo in ammo-boxes or anything. Get is packaged in bags, like potato chips. Bags labeled not with the number of rounds therein, but like "Beanbags, 12 ga., 2 lbs.". Or "Rubber bullets, 9x19 mm, 1 quart". Yes, using obsolete imperial measures. Because a) people understand those better, I believe, and b) it would underline how those are not military. The US military has been metric for donkey's years, afaik, and I have read a number of plausible sounding expert opinions that it's the militarization of the police, with SWAT teams in MRAPs outnumbering regular patrol cops and all that shite, that is making lethal police violence more and more likely. If your only tool is a hammer.
All of which relies on some mechanism to identify whether resorting to lethal force had been justified or not. Body cams, for a start, that won't so easily "malfunction unexpectedly", or won't work because of a full memory card, or whatever. Whether or not the cop had a good reason to resort to lethal force should be the yardstick, and it shouldn't be left to a group of people who couldn't even figure out how to avoid jury duty.
What is probably easiest, quickest, and most effective to implement would be training, though.
Proper training for policework. I recall reading of one police chief in California (iirc) who reduced the number of lethal shootings by his force from a low double-digit number per year to zero. Can't find that article right now, but I did find this one:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/ ... story.html
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I think cops may be slowly figuring out that, when the people they ostensibly serve and protect must expect to get shot dead for no justifiable reason, or to die in custody, these people will see cops as the enemy. And even those who won't see them like that aren't likely to grass on anyone they don't want to see dead. While I'd bet that, in some cities of the US, police are already the unwitting enforcers for gang bosses, and are fighting gang-wars. At least since the original Freakonomics
, nobody should be under any illusion that gangsters are somehow stupid. Getting anyone killed they can't or won't kill themselves, when there is a perfectly murderous police department available, shouldn't be beyond many gangsters.