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Letter: Officers are professionals; they should not shoot first

Officers are professionals; they should not shoot first

Matt Dillon did not shoot first. No police officer should shoot first.

Officers are the professionals trained in firearms, trained in managing difficult people and trained in ascertaining the circumstances where there is conflict. They are the ones armed and supported by the laws of the land. They are the ones paid to make life-and-death decisions in the street. They do not have the right to shoot first. They have the obligation to fully discern the circumstances before they fire their gun. They never need to fire eight shots at the back of a fleeing man. Or shoot 42 shots at a man standing in his doorway.

Officers signed up to risk their life in the pursuit of peace and the protection of the citizenry. They never have the right to shoot first if they understand their obligation and responsibilities. They are required to risk the first shot by their pledge to serve and protect. This is not the Old West.

Leonard G. Brown, J.D., LL.M.

Amherst