The man who was commissioned to draft this country’s first ‘use of force’ policy for the T&T Police Service in 2011 says he believes Police Commissioner Gary Griffith is being misunderstood when he uses the statement “one shot, one kill.’
Force Science analyst Michael Goodridge sat on both committees which first came up with a policy in 2011 and later reviewed it to make it clearer for officers in 2016.
Over the last few days, Griffith has faced both criticism and support for his catchphrase, ‘one shot, one kill.’
Fixin’ T&T president Kirk Waithe has been the most vocal against the policy, describing it as dangerous.
Waithe voiced concerns after the police killing of three men in Maturita on Tuesday morning.
Griffith has said repeatedly that officers who use lethal force when faced with gunfire have his full support. National Security Minister Stuart Young has thrown his support behind Griffith and his officers.
But contacted on the issue, Goodridge says Griffith’s terminology may all be a matter of him subliminally reiterating his military training.
“In the very early part of my career I represented T&T as a police officer and we had a part of training, it wasn’t ‘one shot, one kill’ but we had something called ‘three-second exposure’ and you were trained that you could get your gun out and in three seconds, one shot was fired and you were an expert when you could hit somewhere on the target and you were a marksman when you could hit the bullseye, you were trained that when you draw your gun, you hit your target, you are not going to draw and fire 10 to 15 shots and still miss the person,” Goodridge said.
He said “one shot, one kill” is a military training tactic, explaining the army’s “man in the window” training.
“I don’t’ want to defend the commissioner, although I am not employed by him, but I don’t want to defend him to say if what he said makes sense or not.
But he is of military background and it is a terminology which is used more in military training than in law enforcement, where the target is placed at 100 yards away and you are shooting a rifle, the target pops up from behind a hidden position for three counts and then goes back down and when that target comes up, the soldier has to go for his rifle and fire one shot and he is supposed to hit that target—called the “man in the window” with one shot.
That is where he (Griffith) would have from his subliminal training said ‘one shot, one kill.’”
He said he believes what Griffith is referring to is increasing the efficiency of his officers when they do use their firearms.
“I’m sure he meant to really talk about increasing the efficiency of the police service with their firearms training, which would result in hopefully an encounter where they would shoot less and probably do what they have to very quickly.
The commissioner used the terminology I believe to describe how the training ought to be done for his officers to make them more efficient so when they fire their guns, they use less ammo, they are not as fanciful as shooting everything, ducks, goats everything as they would have done in the past and they can hit their target.”
Goodridge said with the level of sophistication of the weapons that criminals now use in T&T has changed the way police engage with criminals.
“When I trained in Quantico (FBI), we did a lot of that (one shot, one kill). It took a lot of concentration and that was for a specific type of engagement.
Law enforcement is a more civil encounter sometimes, although in T&T we have the element of our criminals bringing in more military-type weapons into the arena than we had before.
“Now they actually have AR15s and high-powered rifles that they have brought into the fray so the concept of engaging that the police had may have changed a lot.
Police no longer dealing with a domesticated type of crime, they are dealing with an international level of engagement.”
Reporter: Sharlene Rampersad