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Deadly Force or Not?

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  • Deadly Force or Not?

    There was an incident in St. Paul a little earlier where a vehicle tried to ram into the Federal Building/Courthouse no fewer than six times. The vehicle description was of a SUV with no plates and a dealer placard. By the time the call went out to the cops, the vehicle had left.

    When the dispatcher was giving out the call an update came back in that the vehicle had returned and was trying to ram the building again. The building is undergoing construction and the cement planters/bollards are not installed yet. All that is protecting the building is chain link fencing.

    I just got back from looking at the fence and it is heavily damaged, but the vehicle didn't break through from what I could tell. A citizen followed the SUV and kept the cops abreast of the location. No less than a dozen St. Paul squads responded to the call and were able to take the driver, a female, into custody about a mile away from the federal building.

    The federal building contracts with GSSC last I heard and I know the officers there are armed. I don't know if any Federal Protective Services officers were there or not.

    I got to thinking whether or not in today's climate, deadly force would have been an option. With the precedent of people driving trucks loaded with explosives into federal buildings and there probably being a skeleton crew of people inside the building the officer may well have been justified in thinking that if the vehicle hits the building people may die.

    Of course the training always says that you cannot use deadly force to protect property.

    Kind of a different situation to be sure. What are your thoughts? If you were an armed officer on duty tonight at that federal building what would you have done? I would hope that their training covered this very scenario and that they have clear rules of engagement, but you never know.
    Last edited by CorpSec; 09-30-2007, 07:39 AM. Reason: Correcting my lousy spelling and poor syntax

  • #2
    I don't think we (GSSC) have that building anymore.
    "Striking terrific terror in the hearts of criminals everywhere" Since 1977.


    • #3
      When did this happen? I can't find anything on the web about it. This is of particular interest to me since I work at a Federal Building as an Armed Guard
      5 days a week.

      Anyway, If I felt the SUV was a threat, I would probably have shot the driver. Thats a tough question since training says not to shoot into or out of a vehicle.


      • #4
        It happened about 2330 hours. GSSC is the last company I knew to have the account.


        • #5
          I could be wrong (like that never happens right? lol!), if it is designated critical infrastructure or Federal property and the structure is ocuppied, deadly force would have been authorized. Especially if the driver broke through the perimeter fenceline. That was probably the driver's saving grace ( not penetrating the fence)! I'd say, she's pretty lucky. Just my opinion.....Was the reason disclosed? However, I'm not sure it matters.

          Be safe,

          Last edited by Hank1; 09-30-2007, 02:26 PM. Reason: Added a question
          " We are determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on one hand and of overwhelming force on the other" - General George C. Marshall


          • #6
            Originally posted by CorpSec View Post
            It happened about 2330 hours. GSSC is the last company I knew to have the account.
            I think it's Akal now.
            "To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill." Sun-Tzu


            • #7
              Originally posted by Hank1 View Post
              Was the reason disclosed?
              Potentially anything from a recently released mental patient, former disgruntled employee to wife of an unfaithful employee (workplace affair), who know these days?
              "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give" - Winston Churchill


              • #8
                Not sure of the reason. The newsies never picked up on the story. In looking at Akal's website it does look like they have the federal courthouses all over the U.S.

                Otherwise Akal doesn't really appear to have a presence in Minnesota. I do wonder what kind of outfit they are. They seem sharp enough for contract, but looks can be deceiving.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CorpSec View Post

                  Otherwise Akal doesn't really appear to have a presence in Minnesota. I do wonder what kind of outfit they are. They seem sharp enough for contract, but looks can be deceiving.
                  In AKAL's case, they are. They recently lost the contract for Ft. Lewis out here.
                  "Alright guys listen up, ya'll have probably heard this before, Jackson vs. Securiplex corporation; I am a private security officer, I have no State or governmental authority. I stand as an ordinary citizen. I have no right to; detain, interrogate or otherwise interfere with your personal property-... basically all that means is I'm a cop."-Officer Ernie
                  "The Curve" 1998


                  • #10
                    There are several things to take into consideration, IMHO such as...

                    1. What section of the courthouse is being compromised...?
                    2. Can people in said section be evacuated...?
                    3. What is around the exterior of the building...?
                    4. Is the driver in possession of any visible firearms or explosives...?
                    5. If entry is made into the building, is there a maintainence room with flammables...? You never know...
                    6. If deadly force is used, where could the vehicle end up...?

                    If the answer is yes, to 4 and 5 then I, could see deadly force as necessary.
                    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


                    • #11
                      I will say this much, they do not have all the federal court contracts. The company I work for has a lot of those.

                      I am not willing to tell everything regarding courthouse security, but I do not believe deadly force would be authorized in this case. there are certain restrictions placed on those of us who work federal security, and what she did while dangerous did not meet those requirements.

                      If no ones life was in danger, we would have no reason to shoot. And even if a life is in danger, there are still other restrictions that may prohibit the use of deadly force.

                      You would think that was not true, particularly after the Murrah Building, but it is. If the car had contained a bomb, and the security company officer had shot the driver and stopped the bomb, he would have been a hero even if he violated policy.

                      But if he fired on a drunk driver who just couldn't understand why a fence was in her way, he would very likely go to jail.