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“Ten Deadly Errors”

Jun 12

What I am writing should NOT be perceived as police officers being criticized after being killed or injured.

It is the examination of their actions. The examination of their tactics may save other police officers from being killed or injured. A very  high percentage of police officers killed or injured in the line of duty commit one or more of the “Ten Deadly Errors”.  The “Ten Deadly Errors” are listed below.

Please remember that a police officer has to make only one of these errors to be killed or injured.  In some cases these errors do not apply when a police officer is injured or killed. An example of this would be the Las Vegas police officers being shot and killed while have lunch. Or a police officer who is killed by a person driving the wrong  way on a freeway or highway off ramp.


1.  Sleepy or asleep
2.  Fail to handcuff
3.  Taking a bad position
4.  False assumption
5.  Relaxing to soon
6.  Poor or no search
7.  Failure to recognize danger signals
8.  Tombstone courage
9.  Failure to watch the hands
10. Apathy

In deadly police encounters, frequently training does not take into account “Hormonal Induced Stress” that occurs in life and death situations. (see and Google Below)

Stress Effects on Heart Rate and Perceptual & Motor Deficits  The fear-related stress hormone … were brainstorming
correlations between fear-induced stress, … Some really good books by Lt Col Grossman are On …

Keeping the above information in mind; a critical examination of RCMP training and equipment must be examined.  Deadly encounters where multiple RCMP members are killed and the shooter survives and escapes, cannot be explained away by simply saying ” The police officers were ambushed”.  “The shooter was a brutal killer”.  Immediate access to effective proper firearms and vehicles should be a priority.  This is not the case in the RCMP which has come to light in Moncton and Mayerthorpe.

Could poor equipment, poor supervision, poor moral, poor tactical training, and political optics, in active shooting encounters,  play a part in the sad outcome of these  deadly situations?

Could the performance bonus, if still being paid to Commissioned RCMP Officers be better spent on equipment and training for front line officers?

Yes, we have to mourn police officers deaths; but we also have to examine why police officers are losing these deadly encounters.


“Somebody killed a policeman today,
And a part of Canada died.
A piece of our country he swore to protect
Will be buried with him at his side.
The suspect who shot him will stand up in court,
With counsel demanding his rights,
While a young widowed mother must work for her kids
And spend alone many long nights.
The area that he worked was a battlefield, too,
Just as if he’d gone off to war.
Yes, somebody killed a policeman today,
It happened in your town or mine.
While we slept in comfort behind our locked doors,
A cop put his life on the line.
Now, his ghost walks a beat on a dark city street,
And he stands at each new rookie’s side.
He answered the call and gave us his all,
And a part of Canada died.”

Calvin Lawrence


From → Other, RCMP

  1. Anonymous One permalink

    Mr Lawrence that is a beautiful poem to honor our fallen. Thank you.

    I would hope that our management one day realizes that we are an INVESTMENT and that better care needs to be given to it’s members. We are NOT disposable wipes. It is sad that we are only respected and honored after we are dead. It seems that they don’t realize this job is hard/dangerous enough as it is without making it harder by not supplying the proper equipment, support, care, respect, and the list goes on. All that can, and has, lead to our demise in one way or another.
    As far as I’m concerned, the member who took his own life deserves as much respect as any other killed in the line of duty. But foremost, those members deserve the care and attention they should be getting prior to, so that deaths may be prevented. To management; These deaths are preventable. Members are worth their weight in gold. Take care of them. It is your RESPONSIBILITY and it is the LAW.

    My deepest sympathies to ALL affected by the deaths of the recently fallen. This incident has shocked and transformed a world. May the brave souls rest in eternal peace.

  2. Jamieson Hanlon permalink


    I made similar observations the other day wrt being respected by colleagues and the org. Sad that it takes a tragedy for the Force to pull together. The leadership gets a bye for now as the public grieving focuses on the tragic loss of the three J Div members. While these men deserve the respect and thanks of the public, it should occur to folks that it should not take death at the hands of an armed miscreant to offer members of the Force the respect and appreciation they deserve for the job they do.

    Yet, while the myopic and ADD-esque public attention is taken from the myriad challenges the Force faces, the dysfunctional status quo of the corp culture is maintained and those in uniform whose conduct and actions run contrary to order (moral or otherwise), discipline and fraternity carry on with their nefarious little games. It is beyond hypocritical that these types would mourn for a deceased comrade whilst tossing their co-worker under the bus, stabbing them in the back or, as we know, worse.

    I grieve with the rest of you, but that grief is in disarray. Heart goes out the families of those three, their families and friends.

  3. Highlander permalink

    What I have been hearing is that the force has Carbines, but they are sitting in storage and nobody bothered to get anyone the training. I am sure many, many more stupid agenda’s have taken priority.
    Can’t really say much about Moncton, because not enough information was made. But my feelings on Mayerthorpe was inadequate weapons and not enough tactical training. The guys were standing around in what is called a “gaggle” and there did not appear to be a 360 degree “arc” of fire as nobody was covering what was behind the Quanset hut. What happened in Mayterthorpe, would not probably not have have happened to the Military Police in the same way.
    Time to stop putting all this politically correct sensitivity training to the front and get members more combat type training to make them start thinking more like soldiers and less like social workers.

  4. Anonymous One permalink

    We will never ‘stop thinking like social workers’ as it is 90% of the job. But yes, more equipment and training is definitely needed. Policing is only getting more dangerous. Implementation of these recommendations shouldn’t take so long. Member’s safety should come before all else.

  5. Bob permalink

    A Little Historical Perspective

    On Sept. 12, 1962 President John F. Kennedy stated that the United States would go to the Moon. On July 20, 1969 they accomplished that monumental feat – monumental given the level of technology available and/or that had to be developed at the time. Time Span – Seven (7) Yrs.

    In March 2005 the tragedy at Mayerthorpe occurred. RCMP HQ starts the conversation around patrol carbines soon after. Fast forward to 2014 – still no full National roll out as the RCMP are still “negotiating” with the Provinces. Time Span – Nine (9) Years.

    In 2008, as part of the ‘E’ Division Olympic Training team, we enquired with Ottawa RCMP HQ if they might consider a Patrol Carbine Pilot to coincide with the 2010 Olympic games. The thought was equipping Detachments select front-line personnel with Olympic venues within their jurisdiction (e.g. Richmond Detachment) would add another layer of first response as part of the overall security strategy. We were politely told that the Patrol Carbine issue was still under review – never did come to fruition for Olympic 2010 games.

    In 2011 the Patrol Carbine roll out plan surfaced: was a very expensive training proposal with lengthy training time. In fairness two other impacts occurred: (a) the recession which impacted all RCMP budgets; (b) the “reorganization” (or implosion) of RCMP Ottawa HQ.

    The questions remain:

    1) Why did it take so long for the RCMP to select and implement a Patrol Carbine program? Noting that there are many Canadian Police agencies that had deployed patrol carbines and hundreds in the U.S. from which we could glean and develop an implementation plan. What in the world takes years of “review” to arrive at a decision?

    2) The ball was miserably dropped yet it seems no-one was held to account. Yet the operational troops soldiered on.

    And now we wait as RCMP Ottawa and the Provinces “negotiate” (or haggle) who is going to pay for it. Is this any way to run a National police force? Where is the individual and organizational accountability?

    There has always appeared to be a disconnect between operations and administration. In the field we are used to making assessments, taking action. Yet in Ottawa RCMP HQ issues of importance can sit and stagnate for years. When it comes to change and innovation this organization moves at a frustratingly glacial speed (prior to global warming). Words such as adept, nimble, modern, flexible are words that do not describe the RCMP.

    It is sad to see the RCMP in this state of affairs. What will the future hold for the organization?

    • Highlander permalink

      No certain future of the force. But on the bright side, at least it will be sexually and gender divergent and reflective of our sundry cultural mosaic.

  6. Buck permalink

    After laying to rest three more of our Brothers in Arms, plus remembering two more members recovering from serious injuries in the recent Moncton shootings. I ponder with a strong burning anger in the pit of my stomach the many declarations of sorrow, loss, sadness and Care made by Comm. Paulson, the PM as well as the Public Safety Minister. So I made this simple comparison.

    Bill C-42 was tabled and pushed forward with the speed of a prairie brush fire, with the trumpeted purpose of being the cure all for what ails the Force. This has occurred in little over a year, the only real change it will bring is the Commissioner’s power to summarily fire members for whatever reason he/she wants to without appeal. It could be re-named the “Dirty Laundry Suppression Act”.

    Nine years ago we laid to rest four more of our brothers shot in an ambush in Mayerthorpe, the inquiry conducted later concluded what members from coast, to coast, to coast already knew, we are seriously outgunned. The result, a glacial move to approve the C8, which is still not issued to members along with better ballistic armour.

    I wonder how many of our Moncton members may have been saved from death or grievous bodily harm with the proper tools and equipment. I wonder if the suspect threat would have been neutralized. I wonder if the citizens of Moncton would not have been subjected to a 33 hour fear inducing lockdown.

    Just the thoughts of a taxpaying Canadian making a comparison of what is really important, me, I’d want my brothers back.


  7. Anonymous One permalink

    Thank you Buck. Well said. The dangers of policing are only getting greater as we move forth in the 21st century. We cannot afford to be dragging behind and lapsing in the things that are important…which is the lives and health of the members. The RCMP needs to get with the program and understand that they ARE responsible for our well-being, whether it’s our mental or physical well-being. It seems they don’t feel that they are, and sadly it’s the members who suffer.
    And like you said, their cure-all for all that ails the force is in the letting go of many a good member who probably could have used their employers support much earlier, yet this is how we are being thanked.
    Their answer to “fixing” an ailing force is to make sure ODS is marked in the books, or ensuring that members report each other when they see wrong-doing, etc. Is this REALLY the answer? I don’t disagree with it, but is it the answer? Or is that just smoke and mirrors and a way to say to the public, “look, we know what’s wrong and these are the steps we are taking to fix the force”. I hope the public can see through that thick black smoke. I hope everyone knows how far behind we are in so many ways…even our salaries are far behind other forces. And the more I stare at my paycheck the more I think it’s not worth the risk or harassment or bullying.
    To our fallen Brothers, I still feel sick to my stomach when I think of what/who we have lost. I mourn the death of brave men who lay down their lives because they were devoted members of the RCMP.
    To Commissioner Paulson, please don’t let these men be forgotten. Please give their lives purpose and meaning. Honor them by looking after your membership. Any one of us would have lay down our lives. It’s who we are and who we became when we took the oath to serve and protect. Please treat us accordingly, like the investments we are.


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