Is Criticism of Police-Involved Shootings Putting Officers at Risk?

Some are concerned that increased scrutiny over police-involved shootings is leading to officers hesitating to use their weapons to protect themselves and others

In a climate where police are often criticized for firing their weapons, Bob DeNapoli wonders if officers may be thinking about that when they come face to face with danger.

"I truly believe that with the climate today, they are," said DeNapoli. "I suggest they don't."

DeNapoli was shot six times when responding to a jewelry heist seven years ago in Woburn, Massachusetts.

Today, he speaks to law enforcement, and part of his message deals with criticism from the public and on social media.

"Make your decision," DeNapoli said he tells officers. "As long as you're protecting yourself or someone else. Don't be judged by Facebook."

The sentiments were echoed at a vigil Monday evening honoring Weymouth Police Sgt. Michael Chesna, who was killed in the line of duty along with an innocent bystander in her own home. Weymouth Police Chief Richard Grimes said with use of force under such scrutiny nationwide, he's been worried about the message being sent to officers.

"What it sends is, 'I need to really think through my use of force.'" Chief Grimes told the crowd.

And that can lead to hesitation.

"And if there's hesitation, hesitation that they may be the next case nationwide that takes their livelihood, their family, their reputation from them, hesitation gets officers harmed," said Chief Grimes.

The police chief urged the crowd Monday night to try and put themselves in the position of officers, and think about how they would handle it if they were engaged by someone with a dangerous weapon.

Contact Us