Accidental Discharge

Anyone who knows me, or has read my previous articles, knows I am both a full time law enforcement officer and full time pro-law enforcement. I am a proud member of the blue wall and will extend the benefit of doubt to a fellow officer at every opportunity possible. But, some of my brothers and sisters are making it difficult.

Take for example the following notorious examples of gun safety displayed by those who are reportedly professionals:

Police Chief William McCollom of Peachtree City, Georgia
Police Chief William McCollom of Peachtree City, Georgia

December 2013 – Ohio officer accidentally discharges his weapon inside the public school to which he was assigned, reportedly while cleaning it. Not only does this beg the question “Why didn’t he check the chamber BEFORE cleaning his weapon?” but also makes you wonder why he thought it necessary (or smart) to clean his weapon while on duty and in a school.

Jan 2014 – Another chief, this time in Indiana, accidentally shot himself in the leg while reholstering his off duty weapon at a local gun shop. Video of the incident appears to show that the chief’s jacket had become tangled in the firearm during holstering which could, as the chief claims, be a warning in identifying potential design concerns. That is until you learn that it is the chief’s second accidental shooting! That’s right, he also shot himself in the hand in 1999 while clearing his weapon prior to turning it into the department armorer.

August 2014 – An 11 year veteran officer accidentally shot a fleeing suspect in the back when he mistakenly pulled his firearm when he intended to arm himself with his Taser. It was not until after he heard the loud report of his service weapon that he realized his mistake.

August 2014 – An off-duty officer accidentally shot his daughter after mistaking her for a late night intruder. To add insult to injury, he later crashed his car while attempting to rush his injured daughter to the hospital.

January 2015 – Georgia Police Chief shoots his wife in the middle of the night. Although the incident is still being investigated by Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Chief claims that his Glock duty weapon accidentally discharged while he attempted to move it – while it was stored unholstered in the bed the two shared.

Unfortunately, these are not the only examples of unintentional, and avoidable, accidental discharges by officers.

As I said in the beginning, I am as pro-police as you will find. I do not point out these mistakes to discredit the officers involved. I do so to discredit the mistaken belief that because a police officer carries a firearm day in and day out they are automatically an expert in its handling and use. Usually this belief rears its ugly head when a member of the public questions a police shooting and claims the officer should have shot the suspect in the leg, arm ect. instead of center mass. In these cases it was the officer who fell victim to believing they were better in handling their weapon then they really were.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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