U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Reducing Inherent Danger: Report of the Task Force on Police-on-Police Shootings (Full Report and Appendixes)

NCJ Number
Date Published
138 pages
This report of the New York State Task Force on Police-on-Police Shootings (officers shooting other officers whom they mistook for dangerous criminals) presents lessons learned from case studies and recommends improved training methods and tactics designed to prevent such shootings, improved investigative techniques for such shootings, and procedures that improve the treatment of the officers and families affected by such shootings.
The study found that fatal police-on-police shootings are just the "tip of an iceberg" of confrontations between on-duty police officers (usually in uniform) and their off-duty, plainclothes, or undercover counterparts. These confrontations occur daily; and although most are defused without injury, each confrontation has the potential for death or serious injury. In cases where training has been poor or nonexistent, where protocols are unclear, and especially where the officers are from different law enforcement agencies, these confrontations can and often do escalate quickly. The protection of law enforcement officers from other officers when they are out of uniform requires that training, protocols, and data collection all be improved. Issues of race in such confrontations must also be addressed, whether perceived or real. The task force found from persuasive scientific evidence that police officers share the same unconscious racial biases found among the general public in the United States. The task force also found that fatal police-on-police shootings can easily traumatize and sometimes polarize entire police agencies in addition to the officers and families involved. Recommendations address protocols, training and testing techniques, investigative techniques, and response procedures designed to prevent and mitigate the effects of such tragedies. The task force undertook a nationwide, systematic investigation of mistaken-identity, police-on-police shootings that occurred between 1981 and 2009, including a thorough examination of the two most recent cases in New York State. Appended data and supplementary reports