By Amy Alkon
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from Advice Goddess Blog.
Police Raid First, Figure Out What They’re Raiding Later
This is how innocent people get killed — when the police come in all SWAT team without asking questions first. Alex Horton, who himself conducted raids on insurgents in Iraq, writes in the WaPo about the police raid on his apartment:
I had conducted the same kind of raid on suspected bombmakers and high-value insurgents. But the Fairfax County officers in my apartment were aiming their weapons at a target whose rap sheet consisted only of parking tickets and an overdue library book.
…I spread my arms out to either side. An officer jumped onto my bed and locked handcuffs onto my wrists. The officers rolled me from side to side, searching my boxers for weapons, then yanked me up to sit on the edge of the bed.
At first, I was stunned. I searched my memory for any incident that would justify a police raid. Then it clicked.
Earlier in the week, the managers of my apartment complex moved me to a model unit while a crew repaired a leak in my dishwasher. But they hadn’t informed my temporary neighbors. So when one resident noticed the door slightly cracked open to what he presumed was an unoccupied apartment, he looked in, saw me sleeping and called the police to report a squatter.
Sitting on the edge of the bed dressed only in underwear, I laughed. The situation was ludicrous and embarrassing. My only mistake had been failing to make sure the apartment door was completely closed before I threw myself into bed the night before.
…When I later visited the Fairfax County police station to gather details about what went wrong, I met the shift commander, Lt. Erik Rhoads. I asked why his officers hadn’t contacted management before they raided the apartment. Why did they classify the incident as a forced entry, when the information they had suggested something innocuous? Why not evaluate the situation before escalating it?
Rhoads defended the procedure, calling the officers’ actions “on point.” It’s not standard to conduct investigations beforehand because that delays the apprehension of suspects, he told me.
Rhoads also defends the approach on grounds of officer safety. But civilian safety should be a priority, too — to the point where you sometimes, yes, delay or even miss the apprehension of suspects…until you’re sure that you’ve, say, got the right apartment and have evidence that the people in it …Click Here To Read The Full Story >>>