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San Francisco PD Being Trained to Fire Twice and Assess During Shootings

February 19, 2016  | 

Responding to calls for reform after a fatal police shooting, the San Francisco Police Department last week unveiled new training methods that require officers to shoot only two rounds at a time.

The changes came more than two months after five officers shot knife-wielding Mario Woods 21 times on Dec. 2 last year. Woods' death led to a federal review of the city's police department.

New pistol training guidelines require police recruits to hear the command "threat" before they fire at targets, to shoot only two rounds at a time, and to stop and reassess threats after every two shots, Courthouse News reports.

"They need to be accountable for every shot they fire," Police Capt. Greg Yee, who heads the city's police academy, told the city Police Commission during a meeting Wednesday.

Comments (43)

Displaying 1 - 43 of 43

Charles Hayhurst @ 2/20/2016 6:30 AM

Training new officers to respond to the command "threat" before shooting , and then to fire only two round, then wait for the command "threat" before shooting again, is only going to cost lives. Reassess the threat before engaging again is a very good training point.
My 27 years of military and 14 years as police office has always had reassessment of engagement training and fire control in it.
I can believe that the San Francisco PD never included it into their training.

mark @ 2/20/2016 6:36 AM

this is ridiculous but what else to expect from the circus that is San Francisco city government

Jerry M @ 2/20/2016 6:40 AM

Hopefully this is a guideline and not a strict policy. If a subject produces a firearm in a life threatening manner and the officer has milliseconds to react, they must state "threat" before they can fire, then if the subject keeps advancing after 2 rounds, the officer has to stop and assess? So training to apply the amount of force necessary to overcome the resistance is out. Does this go further with hands on use of force? If a subject is resisting and officers are trying to handcuff, do they stop at a prescribed point and assess or continue until that person is restrained and at least handcuffed?

Kevin @ 2/20/2016 6:40 AM

There is no magic number of rounds that will stop a threat; you should ALWAYS be assessing and re-assessing the effectiveness of your actions throughout. If the threat disappears after one round, the officer should STOP shooting. If the threat is still present after 2,3,4,5,6 rounds, the officer should continue shooting. Case law dictates our training be relevant and realistic. Shooting a specific number of rounds at every threat it ridiculous.

MikeAT @ 2/20/2016 7:02 AM

Let me see the lawsuits and terminations coming. Suspect charges officer witha knife, officer shoots three times, the mother sues and city says "We didn't teach you that..." Beautiful city, you could not pay me enough to live or work there.

Richard @ 2/20/2016 7:05 AM

Most southern Cal departments train this way already. I've been trained in 2009 and this was the standard for my department. 2 shots, center mass...then re-assess.

Lt Roy Smith LASD @ 2/20/2016 8:17 AM

No problem....there were 6 officers there, that means 12 rounds, 2 from each, and then re-assess...what is the problem with that??

Paul @ 2/20/2016 9:44 AM

What would Harry Callahan say about this?

HARRY @ 2/20/2016 9:47 AM

This is going to be a helluva price to pay for being stylish...doesn't anyone out there is San Fran have the &%$#@ to tell these feel good, liberal twerps that their silly-bleep policies will result is serious injury, dismemberment and death for the diligent, hard-working (sorry Melissa Harris-Perry aka Melissa two names) police officers of SFPD....?? Okay next applicant.....

J.Johnson @ Retired LEO @ 2/20/2016 9:47 AM

I really do not see the problem here as this should have already been part of the training. I was taught and utilized a double tap, assess the situation and fire again if need be. Now this may occur in milliseconds, fire twice, does not work or missed, fire again, empty magazine if necessary. I was fortunate in that I could carry a personal weapon and chose the 1911 .45acp with excellent hollow points, whereas New York city at one time was issuing 9mm with fmj. In a perfect world all officers should receive continuous tactical, stress inducing firearms training that replicates the real world. But usually only the tactical teams receive this type of training and everyone else is on their own. It is in every officers benefit to practice, practice, practice and yes it is expensive and yes it is time consuming, but the life you save may be your own.

HARRY @ 2/20/2016 9:48 AM

This is a helluva price to pay for being stylish...........

Mike @ 2/20/2016 11:36 AM

Keep firing until the threat stops. Sure you double tap to the torso then two to the head and back to two torso. Only way to be sure you don't get shot.

Ken Murray @ 2/20/2016 2:43 PM

Notice J.Johnson @ Retired LEO @ 2/20/2016 is a RETIRED LEO .. it is not surprising "he was taught this" ... there are a lot of people that were taught ineffective things back in the day. The double tap concept is idiotic, taught by people who were clueless about the realities of gunfights. Constant threat assessment and effective addressing of that threat is what anyone who knows anything about how bullets respond to bodies teaches. If someone has been shot, they will be in one of three conditions ... dead, dying or damaged. But so what??? It is how that shot person RESPONDS to that state of being that should be of concern to the LEO. If someone remains a threat (such as in the overblown FBI situation that led to an entire culture changing calibers) despite the fact he received a non-survivable hit, KEEP SHOOTING THEM. Once they stop doing the maniacal thing that got them shot in the first place, stop. Time, distance, cover and confidence are your friend and LE are horrible at these

J.Johnson @ Retired LEO @ 2/20/2016 5:05 PM

I find that double taps to be quite effective, when they connect with the target, but unfortunately most gunfights involving LEO shows a lot of shots fired and few hits in the vital areas. Officers must be accountable for every shot fired and merely emptying their magazine at the threat and then reloading and possibly firing again, I find this idiotic. I did not say to quite firing after a double tap, but to determine whether additional rounds were required to stop the threat and also one should not be so focused on the one to miss another threat that was unseen. Scan the area for additional threats. Maybe in my day we fired last rounds, but scored more hits. What counts is hits, not how many rounds were fired.

Jon Retired LEO Wyoming @ 2/20/2016 6:51 PM

They need Dirty Harry back again.

BOB retired leo ny/fl @ 2/20/2016 9:07 PM

When I relocated to Florida from N.Y. and I trained in Florida we were taught to double tap and assess. I remember vividly how my range instructor would say to me, Hey, NY this is Florida, here a double tap is only 2 rounds and assess. I eventually adapted to it and it also became the running joke with my fellow officers.

Tschako @ 2/20/2016 10:13 PM

It's clear that they value an officer's life less than a civil lawsuit or taking flack from the public,

jreb @ 2/21/2016 2:39 AM

The reassessment part is not the problem. But, the reassessment should be CONTINOUS, not after every x number of shots! Use reactive targets to train this. But the worst part is training officers not to fire until someone says "threat!" People perform how they train - So, when faced with an actual threat in the real world, the cops are going to be hesitating, waiting for someone to yell "threat" before they can respond!!

ed @ 2/21/2016 8:20 AM

You can definitely see by the comments who the administrators are and who the working cops are

ed @ 2/21/2016 8:26 AM

this is a big joke. The fine officers of the SFPD do not deserve this. Great fire twice and miss while the suspect either keeps charging or they continue to fire. FUckin morons in SF government. By the posts, you can tell who were the working cops

Jim Warwick @ 2/21/2016 12:27 PM

Historically, policing has been a reactive endeavor. Training "scars" occur when students have been improperly trained. The LE community has learned many hard lessons over the years at the cost of many lives. To implement a firearms training policy that includes an officer first hearing the words "threat" and then only firing two rounds at a time before assessing ignores history, reality, current progressive firearms training, and the empirical research available about the natural occurring psychological and physiological effects associated with deadly force encounters. I do hope someone in a position of authority seeks expert guidance on this type of training before too many officers receive training scars.

VINCENT WOLLER @ 2/21/2016 3:25 PM

Let's just disarm all the police in the country and employ a couple report takers. If a big problem ever happens the federal government can investigate! Oh and we should legalize all the drugs and get rid of all traffic laws! Let's see how that works out!

Percy @ 2/21/2016 6:19 PM

You are all correct, you should just keep shooting. Empty 1 clip and then another.
Keep firing mindlessly at anything and everything until you are completely out of ammo it won't matter what you hit. We have already seen how someone else can now be charged when cops fire and hit and kill civilians. And for god's sake don't stop whining about the President and not working the Beyonce show.

J.Johnson @ Retired Deput @ 2/21/2016 7:40 PM

Percy, I had been wondering where you were. I knew that eventually you would have to pop up and make some sort of highly educational comments and cherished guidance for all. And wow, you have to bring up the POTUS, Beyoncé and race into the conversation. Did you leave anything else out, wouldn't want you to feel left out.

Percy @ 2/21/2016 7:52 PM

J.Johnson @ Retired Deput
Sweetheart, I mentioned the POTUS and Beyonce is because they seem to be the only thing on your guys minds these days. You people blame every thing bad that happens on your President mostly because he's black. The fact that more and more people are talking/singing about police abuse is something you guys might want to look at, but you won't. It's easier to come here and simply WHINE.

Jim Bond @ 2/22/2016 6:41 AM

I am new to reviewing this site but have determined that it probably is a very useful and informative social media and training resource. This is my first post. I appreciate the difficult and dangerous position that most police are in. However, i do not condone many of the actions of the less professional officers. I think they are often hired too young and not trained enough. They are caught in the middle of politics and protecting themselves. I also do not aggree with irrational and illogical posts that over generalize thinking of officers. However i will listen, read an learn. It is a parodox that people who bash police as a whole are in ,when they later demand their protection. I dont blame the police for not wanting to be on the detail. It is their right to make a statement also. We are all like hampsters in the same cage. We can work together or kill each other. The choice is there.

Leonard @ 2/22/2016 9:19 AM

Personally, I see nothing wrong with this. I've seen way too many video of officers unloading their clips instead of evaluating the level of threat after firing a round. The case is SF highlights this, 20 shots fired by multiple officer for a suspect holding a knife. Seems like no thought, just reaction in this case. In fact, this policy is in line with the way European officers behave when discharging arms, where they are require to evaluate after every round fired. This isn't about exposing the officer to greater danger, but determining the appropriate level of response, something that some officers have forgotten who comment on this site.

Chuck W @ 2/22/2016 2:57 PM

Sounds kid of like the old CHP Newhall (God rest the Officers) and the shoot, empty the revolver and "pick up the brass to put in your pocket" mentality. I hope to God that no officers are killed waiting to prove this new training theory wrong.

And typical response from the liar persee, no one but he brought up his president or bayonsee and when he is called on it, he tries to turn it around on the one that called him out.

lenny, parts of europe are also where the responding officer has to stand there and let the Rottweiler chew a hole in you while you wait for an armed officer to be dispatched and respond.

And for lenny and persee, i want to watch you two barristers take a couple shots, stop and evaluate during something like the Hollywood bank robbery or the San Bernardino incident. better yet, take the time to evaluate the charging crazy drug induced maniac that is carrying a knife. tell us all about it if you survive, then spout off to the world.

Leonard @ 2/22/2016 5:47 PM

@chuck: you certainly have no credibility based upon your responses. Officers in routinely disarm subjects armed with knives and other sharp objects without resorting to deadly force. In fact there were over 26K of these types of incidents last year without one death. You are telling me that can't be achieved here? Or are you telling me that our police are too lazy and fearful?

Edward Johnson @ 2/22/2016 5:58 PM

Welcome to the 60's. Good old revolver training. Idiots.

Chuck W @ 2/22/2016 6:11 PM

Lenny, you are a fool. I just had to retire a sergeant that was stabbed multiple times by a drug crazed suspect, and guess what lenny, my sergeant had his weapon already out and pointed at the suspect. Last year i had a K-9 officers stabbed by another drug crazed subject that ambushed him walking down a hallway. Screw you and your freaking lazy fearful crap asshat. go back to your public defenders office and eat crap. I like you armchair quarterbacks, you freaking computer keyboard warriors trying to tell those of us working the street what and how we are doing something wrong. you wouldn't last a minute out her princess. Talk about no credibility.

Leonard @ 2/22/2016 8:52 PM

@Chuck: You still haven't answered my question and you're darn right I get to armchair quarterback when it comes to deadly force issues, as it's well documented that departments can't do that themselves. And believe me, as a former soldier, i know about judgment, training and accountability. Something out local police, in some departments, have little of.

Ret Motor Boots @ 2/23/2016 12:17 AM

Good grief fellas…Double taps, failure drills, hip shots from the clam shell (you know who you are), …it’s all good as long as we (LEOs) are going home in one piece at the end of our shifts. Iron sights, common sense and strong will to live to serve the badge another day is all that matters!

Chuck W @ 2/23/2016 8:34 AM

Thanks lenny, your responses speak volumes, now I know what and who you really are; I have dealt with your ilk before. have a great day there warrior and keep up the armchair critiquing. mix vinegar and water, fill up lenny and rinse.

Percy @ 2/23/2016 11:31 AM

@ Chuck W
Actually Chuck it's your responses that speak volumes. You're nothing more than a bloviating
wind sock. And that master stroke of misspelling people's names as an insult, pure genius.

Speaking of such things if insults and never having a point are what you are looking for check this guy out. After 18 years "on the job" he has risen to the lofty rank of patrolman in West Mifflin PA.

He believes pretty much all interactions should end in civilians being shot, tased or beaten, believes that no one in le has ever made a mistake, and that everyone else is to blame when police kill unarmed civilians. He is also a racist a sadist and a narcissist. You 2 should have lots to talk about.

But the main reason you will get along so well with him is that, when anyone disagrees with him he simply insults them repeatedly and then bans them without ever addressing any point they have tried to make, Just like you.

Chuck W @ 2/24/2016 8:25 AM

You win persee, you win. you are the winner, whoop, whoop. persee is the winner.

SnowCop @ 2/24/2016 9:33 AM

I agree with this method of training. The "threat" command is simply a word association. In real life, when you identify a threat, you will hear the command in your head and act accordingly.

Fire two rounds and determine: "Did it hit? Did it work?" It's getting hard to justify emptying a magazine into a person when the first shot killed or paralysed them. The reassessment will only take a fraction of a second to do and determine if follow up shots are needed. It might still take 10 rounds to stop the threat, but at least by doing multiple reassessments, you can articulate the need to keep shooting. It adds a level of professionalism into the situation. The old way of shooting until they stop moving isn't passing the smell test anymore.

As for safety, by taking a quick half second to reassess will allow you to calm down and fight the adrenaline. You can scan a breathe. Determine if there are other threats around.

SnowCop @ 2/24/2016 9:36 AM

This training is not new. It comes from the Special Forces world. It re-enforces accuracy, focus, speed and in their case the ability to put down targets and keep moving. It saves their ammunition.

We use it in our department mixed into shooting on the move.

Ed Riordan @ 2/26/2016 9:09 AM

Great, I'm at a firefight, the rookie is standing there, waiting for the order "threat " to come out of his FTO's mouth. Too bad he has already been hit and can only gurgle. I agree with trying to limit the volume of fire. Be accurate and hit the target!

Dr.S @ 2/27/2016 4:42 PM

...and so what if one of the well meaning fine citizens in the crowd, busy taking cell phone videos of police officers at work, decides to shout-out "threat" instead of "hands-up don't shoot" ...perhaps a different type of baiting for fun and profit will emerge?

Mike @ 3/10/2016 7:58 AM

I'm amazed at how many ill-informed and moronic 'people' comment on police issues. They are either wide-assed, cowardly administrators or dried kindling who have an axe to grind on cops.

Nick @ 3/22/2016 6:27 PM

I can't believe a police officer, (if in fact snow cop is an officer) would agree with this. I am all for accountability, accuracy and constantly reassessing. However, not at the expense of what someone else after the fact thinks is right. For the record... a split second is the difference between going home to your family and being immortalized on the national wall in D.C.. Hearing "threat" is unrealistic. How about "Gun" or "Knife"? Threat is too open a command and will lead to more trouble. (Hey there's some common sense for ya!!!)
The Supreme Court backs us up in split second decisions. It's time to stop catering to the politicians and ill informed public and have department leaders who can have a set between their legs to substantiate the stars on their shoulders. Here's a rule to live by to all supervisors:
"Would the officer you were then, be proud of the boss you are today?"
Stop kissing A-- and instead, remember your purpose! Stop saying we need to change policing!!! Instead educate the public with civilian academies. Or hell... Community meetings where you stress the simple truth:
If you listen to a police officer, 99.999% of the time you will be fine. Hands out of pockets! No quick movements.
Finally, stress this wisdom: Jim Carey said it best in "Liar Liar"... "STOP BREAKING THE LAW A--HOLE!!!" Or watch Chris Rock's "How not to get your a-- kicked by the police!"
( This has been a public service announcement from someone who actually uses his brain, has worked for multiple busy police departments dealing with all ethnic and racial backgrounds and has the knowledge/experience to back up his words.)

Don @ 12/22/2016 11:50 AM

What "works for special forces" is a way different animal than what works for police.
Most cops are barely able to hit what the look at, let alone shot twice accurately and then evaluate! Special forces know they are going into a hot zone and kill or be killed! They shoot more rounds in a month than an average police department shots in a year! I would rather SFPD just come out and say turn and run away if a bad man wants to hurt you!

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