Reading mere statistics, even on a subject as vital as officer-involved shootings, can glaze your eyes after awhile. So it’s refreshing—and valuable—to come upon an in-depth treatment of deadly force that adds flesh and bones to stark numbers.
Such is a fascinating new book, Pulling the Trigger: A 25-Year Study of Deadly Force Encounters by Law Enforcement, by former FBI agent Larry Brubaker.
Across 373 pages, Brubaker reports in detail on 110 fatal shootings by municipal cops, sheriffs’ deputies, and state peace officers—every ballistic confrontation, in fact, in which suspects where killed in the State of Minnesota from 1981 through 2005.
The statistics are compiled: the weapons used, the number of officers on the scene, the gender, age, and experience on each, and so on. But the meat of the book is in the narrative reconstructions Brubaker has put together about the encounters themselves.
They run a broad gamut, showing step by step how the volatile, deadly mix of officer, offender, and circumstances actually exploded into gunfire. There are bank robberies, SWAT operations, pursuits, armed robberies, domestics, suicides-by-cop, man-with-a-gun calls, EDP encounters, accidental shootings, off-duty confrontations, drug-related matters, replica weapons—the down-and-dirty works of everyday policing that sometimes spins bad.
“What Brubaker documents can be projected to virtually any state, and he presents a rich source of instructional material for creative trainers who can use his narratives for scenario ideas and tactical discussions that can improve officers’ chances of surviving a gunfight,” says Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Research Center.
One of Brubaker’s sons is an officer on St. Paul PD. Another, now serving in the Army, assisted FSRC in some of its early time-and-motion studies regarding action/reaction in shooting situations. Brubaker himself spent much of his FBI career as a trainer and crisis negotiator. He was a charter member of the International Homicide Investigators Assn.
Pulling the Trigger can be ordered online at: www.galdepress.com