It is mid-December, time for a Halloween post right?
Ok, so I am a bit tardy on this one, but I think the issue raised is important:
A Baltimore city police officer delivered the fright of a lifetime to a haunted house employee, pulling a gun on the chain-saw-wielding man at the end of his act, authorities said Monday.In my opinion, the most interesting part of the article is here:
Sgt. Eric Janik, 37, was charged with assault and reckless endangerment for pointing his service handgun at the worker, who was dressed as Leatherface, the killer from "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," Baltimore County police said.
The employee, Mike Morrison, followed Janik and several other people up a staircase Sunday night at the end of the haunted house tour in a bid to get "one last scream" out of them, police said.
When the group exited into a parking lot, Janik pulled his gun and pointed it at Morrison from less than 10 feet away, according to police and Morrison, who said he dropped the chain saw, put his hands up and backed away.
Only then did Janik identify himself as a police officer, said Morrison, who retreated into the building.
"I started shaking pretty bad," he told The Associated Press.
Another employee of the House of Screams called police.
According to charging documents, Janik smelled of alcohol and told police two different stories about what he did with the gun. First, he denied drawing the weapon, but later he said he pointed it at the ground.
Morrison and two other witnesses told police that Janik pointed the gun at Morrison's chest...
...City police officers are required to carry their service weapons while off duty within city limits and can carry them at their own discretion outside the city, Guglielmi (a police spokesman) said...What?
Mandating off-duty personnel be armed at all times is not in the public's best interest and is simply ludicrous.
Does the agency really want the liability associated with non-uniformed officers being armed and facing split-second decisions after just consuming multiple adult beverages?
What about being armed while swimming?
Or, does the department's leadership prefer that the officer's gun be kept in his gym bag, wrapped in a towel, under a lounge chair while he/she indulges in a few cannonballs from the high dive?
If an agency does its due diligence and hires good people, there is no need to remove discretion concerning off-duty officers carrying guns.
A police department should mandate that officers be armed while wearing uniforms, acting in official capacity, or using departmental vehicles, but leave the other off-duty instances to their people's best judgment.