Police: In Wake Of Arizona Case, Cruisers Can Be Used As Lethal Force If Situation Warrants


Police officers across Ohio are trained to meet lethal force with lethal force.  That includes using their police cruisers - if they can justify why.

Recently in Arizona, a police officer plowed into a man walking down the street after he allegedly stole a rifle and threatened suicide.

Watch the video

“Most people watching [the video] say ‘there's a person walking who was attacked by a vehicle and it's not fair,’ but it's a just act,” says Reynoldsburg Police Chief Jim O’Neill. 

He says the dash cam video demonstrates an officer taking extraordinary measures to protect the community.  “If they determined they couldn't allow him to go any further without causing harm to the community then their action is just.”

But he says you won't find this technique taught in his department.

In Ohio, officers aren't trained to duplicate what the cruiser video shows.

But it's not frowned upon either.

Chief O’Neill says those actions would likely have been justified. 

The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy says it trains law enforcement to use "environmental tools" to protect themselves and others.   That could include a police cruiser to take down a suspect.

In the Arizona case, the suspect had stolen a gun from a Walmart, left the store and threatened to kill himself.  He also fires a round into the air.

Terry Rozema Marana, Arizona Police Chief said after the shooting, “We can step back and second guess that he'd waited another 10 seconds or another 5 seconds or another 14 seconds. The fact of the matter remains. The officer had a very difficult tough decision to make and he made that tough decision. And if he doesn’t make that decision we don't know if he lets him go for another 10 seconds if he takes somebody out in the parking lot.”

The Pima County Attorney's Office cleared the officer of any wrongdoing and he’s back on the force.

Chief O’Neill says it's situations like the one in Arizona that support his desire to have body cameras on officers so the public can see how arrests are made.  “If we could find a way to afford it we would have one on everyone tomorrow,” he adds.