POLICE Magazine

MAY 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/1113598

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Page 46 of 76

44 P O L I C E M AY 2 019 2009 WHAT CAN BE LEARNED FROM THE OAKLAND TRAGEDY On March 22, 2009, what began with a traffic stop by one motor officer ended in the shooting deaths of four Oakland (CA) Po- lice Department officers: Sgt. Mark Dunakin, Officer John Hege, and SWAT officers Sgt. Ervin Romans and Sgt. Daniel Sakai. Wanted parolee Lovelle Mixon shot and killed Dunakin and Hege, who arrived as backup, during the traffic stop. "Witness- es to the shootings called 911 to report that officers were down and one of the largest manhunts in the history of California commenced…Two hours after the manhunt began, it ended." But upon entering the apartment where Mixon had fled, two SWAT officers were mortally wounded as Mixon opened fire from his hiding place in a closet. e article "What Can Be Learned from the Oakland Tragedy" discusses the dangerous "fatal funnel" SWAT officers found themselves up against. It also suggests that having another agency's tactical team respond might have been prudent considering the emotional impact on the Oakland SWAT officers after two fellow officers had been shot just hours before. More generally, the article asks readers to think about how they would have approached the situation, not to criticize the agency's and officers' tactics, but to gain a better understanding of how to handle similar situations in the future. "Analyz- ing the events that left four officers dead is painful," the article acknowledges, "but asking questions can help other officers come home alive." TRAGEDY, INVISIBLE KILLERS, AND THE DEATH PENALTY POLICE HAS COVERED LESSONS LEARNED, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, AND CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. H MELANIE BASICH LOOKING BACK 1999 MANAGING CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL ATTACKS Opening with the example of two bags being left at a shopping mall food court, a May 1999 "Officer Survival" article demonstrates how easily multiple unsus- pecting victims and responders attempting to help them can die from the effects of a chemical or biological attack. An innocuous looking package could show up anywhere at any time and cause immense damage. is is why, as they are most likely to be first on scene, officers must learn the characteristics and warning signs of chemical and biological agents, the arti- cle instructs. It advises officers to "Look Before You Leap," by first being on the lookout for multiple victims showing the same symptoms. en officers should "be cognizant of strange odors, unexplained liquids, aerosol cans, cylinders, or tanks in the area," as well as the presence of dead animals. Staying at a good dis- tance is prudent. is advice is as relevant today as it was back then. I n past May issues, POLICE covered lessons learned from an incident that took four officers' lives, response to chemical and biological attacks, and a history of capital punishment. Here is a look back at the pages of POLICE Magazine 10, 20, and 30 years ago.

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