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NOPD officer fired after failing to shoot at gunman

Editor's note: To some degree, the paradox of police work comes to light in the following news report from the New OrleansTimes-Picayune, first published on Thursday March 19, 2009.  It reads: “Pull the trigger, and face the repercussions: the internal investigation, the cloud of scrutiny, the second-guessing. Don’t pull the trigger—and face similar repercussions.”

PoliceOne staff has no way of knowing — and make no judgment whatsoever — about what was in the minds of the officers described in this news article, but it serves as an excellent opportunity to initiate a meaningful discussion about what is courageous, cowardly, or reckless. To kick-start the conversation, we offer some thoughts from PoliceOne Columnist and Street Survival instructor Dave Smith in the grey sidebar below. To add to your discussion, we also present a video of a talk given by Dave Smith at the 2008 Illinois Tactical Officers Conference on “The Nature of Courage” as well as a conversation between Betsy Brantner Smith and Lt. Col. Dave Grossman on “Warrior Values.”

This New Orleans officer’s willingness and preparedness to execute the duties of his office has been called into question, ending in claims of cowardice. Have you been involved in, or known of, similar situations? How should they be handled? We encourage you, our Members, to post your comments below or E-mail us your stories.

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