Police Chief Says Cops Shouldn't Draw Guns On Suspects With Knives

Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo said that pointing guns at knife-wielding suspects is counterproductive.

Burlington, VT – Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo has declared that law enforcement officers are too quick to defend themselves against potential deadly threats.

Chief del Pozo’s thoughts on the matter were published in an op-ed piece by The New York Times on Nov. 13.

“We tell officers that a knife or a shard of glass is always a lethal threat and that they should aggressively meet it with a lethal threat in return,” the police chief wrote. “But doing so forecloses all of the better ways to communicate with a person in crisis. There are alternatives.”

He said that one of the biggest mistakes trainers have made has been to teach law enforcement officers “to lead with the gun.”

American law enforcement leaders should instead try to mimic techniques used in countries were officers are unarmed, such as Britain or Iceland, Chief del Pozo suggested.

Yelling commands at a knife-wielding attacker “is unlikely to make a difference,” especially when the officer is unarmed, he said.

But unarmed officers would instinctually back away from the attacker, which could then allow for the situation to de-escalate, the chief claimed.

“Unarmed officers will cultivate an instinct to de-escalate,” Chief del Pozo declared. “They will keep a safe distance, they will try to assess the true level of threat rather than see a weapon as a cue to rapidly escalate, and they will communicate in ways that reach people.”

“There is good psychological research on what type of communication stands the best chance of calming people in distress, regardless of what is in their hands,” he added. “And it is certainly not yelling at them or threatening their lives.”

Chief del Pozo suggested that law enforcement academies should “start by sending officers into scenarios where they have to solve problems without recourse to lethal force...before they ever handle a firearm.”

Duty weapons shouldn’t even be involved in law enforcement training until the final phase of an academy, he added.

“By the end of academy, the officers will have learned that yelling at a person as you threaten to shoot is a panicked, last-ditch effort, not a sign of competence,” Chief del Pozo opined.

“Training officers to act as if their weapons are insurance policies, rather than persuasive devices, will transform the nation’s police work,” the chief declared. “Every American will be made safer by police officers whose first instinct is to communicate with the people they encounter and whose success lies in getting the psychology of persuasion right.”

Chief del Pozo did not specifically address the impact such training would have on law enforcement officers’ safety, however.

The chief noted that he works in a “progressive” city, where at least one city councilperson has already suggested “that we should explore ways to disarm our city’s police because it would prevent them from killing people and force them to approach crises differently.”

Chief del Pozo said that such a concept is a “non-starter” in America, and acknowledged that it was unsafe for the community for police to be “rendered helpless” in the case of mass shootings or other firearms-related incidents.

“But if the police profession doesn’t want politicians broaching these ideas, we owe the public a commitment to doing everything we can to respect the sanctity of life,” he added. “We should fundamentally change the way police officers view their guns.”

A total of 42 law enforcement officers have been stabbed to death in the line of duty since 1990, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Comments (226)
No. 1-50
ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

Thanks, chief - your officers just know you have their backs. Can these officers pull bigger knives out then?

shooter
shooter

"Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo said that pointing guns at knife-wielding suspects is counterproductive."

Being a clueless idiot is just as counterproductive.

Ferret guy
Ferret guy

How do people this stupid get put in charge ? He better hope he doesn't show up in the middle of a shootout, or he might "accidently" get hit by friendly fire

Officer Cynical
Officer Cynical

Another administrator completely out of touch with the street, and who doesn't give two shits about his officers.

walkintall
walkintall

Hoo-Boy.......I have no response to this sort of nonsense. None. Maybe.....I didn't' know that Burlington was a suburb of San Francisco. I just didn't.

MFLindsey
MFLindsey

Chief of Police is not a police position. It is a political position. Del Bozo is the perfect example. . . .

WallyJaz
WallyJaz

Fuck em all, traffic sucks everywhere, we need to reduce the people population by 5 billion

rsrich156
rsrich156

Well chief you can lead by example by showing up to every man with a knife call and showing us how it is done. I suspect this will prove to be a self correcting problem.

Kdye
Kdye

Pulling a gun is "counterproductive"...Not pulling a gun is DEADLY!! Wake up chief.

footbeat
footbeat

Thank You Chief : My new 2 X 4 is perfect, haven't shot anyone all day !

ArizonaG30
ArizonaG30

Wonder who's paying this clown

LitheSteel
LitheSteel

Yep, they should use the Matrix flow moves learned in the movies. And I think he should hit the streets and show everyone how to do it. Not a lot of knife attacks in the office, except, of course, stabbing real Cops in the back.

Theirmom5
Theirmom5

Chief how come you don’t seem to worried about your cops getting home safely to their families as they stand by and watch as they have a knife being weilded at them? Maybe that’s why you never got promoted to Inspector on your last job.

bluesupporter001
bluesupporter001

I would sure hate to have to wrk for this idiot!

Ir2baldy
Ir2baldy

Sorry, I totally disagree. If they encounter anyone that is being aggressive and has anything that could kill or injure them or anyone else. Shoot first. Policeman should have their safety and the public saftey first.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

sounds like he is trying to get some of his officers to get out of Burlington. But will he succeed?

BFDwarf
BFDwarf

As a 5'3" 61 year old man that has never been in Law Enforcement, I have to think this Chief is a Moron. I have seen too many videos of a suspect with a knife, bat or scissors charge an Officer. If he wants less than Lethal, Get rid of Tasers and replace them with 36" long clubs. Let the back up officer have a Semi-auto 10 ga. loaded with 1 1/2 oz bean bags. The Police are doing a job that I can not nor want to!

Coumo D'Blasio moron
Coumo D'Blasio moron

He's a complete idiot, I went through the academy with him in NYC, he was a boob then, he was a bigger boob as CO of the 6th PCT and now he's the king of moron mountain in VT. Hey Burlington, why don't you put a bag of leaves in as police chief, they may not do anything, but at least they can't say stupid ass comments that will only get good hard working police officers hurt. Del-Dopo Ass hat

LEO0301
LEO0301

When someone like this chief talks about progressive policing, think of Seattle and San Francisco. Both resounding success stories for their progressive policies (sarc). In policing their are two types of officers. Those who have acquired self preservation skills by working the streets and those who read a book once that told them how to do it. Guess which one applies to this chief?

FmrLEOKY
FmrLEOKY

Let’s just keep softening and declawing the heroic men and women out there protecting the community. Let’s take vital training and hold it until the last couple of weeks of the academy instead of giving them many months of practice to create appropriate non-hesitating responses to lethal force encounters. Encouraging them to plea and negotiate with someone armed with an edged weapon. Have you lost your mind? Have you been policing the sterile carpeted hallways of your administration building THAT long that you’ve forgotten all about the force continuum training that I know you have been taught at some point many years ago. Stop kissing the South bound ends of the North bound liberals and be a strong respected leader to some of the finest men and women out there busting their asses every day and night. You’re empowering the criminals by asking officers to retreat. This methodology is going to get some of your brothers and sisters killed. It sounds like it’s time to pull the badge off of the class A’s and turn it in if you’re not going to have the balls to defend the oath that it stands for. Just my opinion.

JBoH
JBoH

"...law enforcement officers are too quick to defend themselves..."

Huh?

So criminals get to go first? Would it be OK for officers to pull their own knives? Like a duty issued machete? Would that be fair and give the criminals a fighting chance?

thansley330
thansley330

This guy is out of his mind a person with a knife is a dangerous person and that warrants deadly force

Tm909098
Tm909098

I agree they shouldn't draw guns on suspects with knives. Officers should also carry a bo staff like Donatello to combat suspects with knives. That way the fight is more even and the body cam footage would be much more enjoyable to watch someone have their ass beat by a cop with a staff.

Dmos1357
Dmos1357

Wonder how long it'll be before half the Burlington PD resigns.

JG001
JG001

PURE BULLSHIT ...... Sorry but your not going to stab me to death with that knife, BANG BANG!

tottenbrian
tottenbrian

"This sh*t would definitely make me take up law enforcement" said absolutely no one ...

fwredelius
fwredelius

I think he needs to watch a few of these videos https://youtu.be/js0haocH4-o

K-9 319
K-9 319

Let's see, how many body cams where we have seen Officers back up, sometimes almost a block to de-escalate a situation. Guess what, it didn't work. When they get a call about an armed suspect, they should stand down and call the Chief to de-escalate the situation. Where does this guy get his information from, a Dick Tracy comic book ?

Excalibr4
Excalibr4

No offence to LE here, but is this"stupid cop" day? That video post by fwredelius was so true it makes you think the police chief is on drugs! the post I read before this one, was the cops busted for stealing from Home depot, then retuning the merchandise for credit!

Patriot6
Patriot6

What a dumbass. Him and the clown wanting to disarm the cops. Remember your training, less than 21 feet with a knife you will lose, so shoot early. Sorry to all you liberal snowflakes, but that is the long time standard for knife attacks.

DNW
DNW

Not to mention armed perps under the influence of toxic substances will not be operating with their reason intact. What sort of de-escalatory 'communication' will even be possible in those cases?

cdiver32
cdiver32

I’ve been a cop for 30 years and that is by far the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard from another member of law enforcement. I was hoping his statement was taken out of context, as happens daily with the press, but it appears he’s just a liberal in wolves clothing. With “progressive “ leaders like him, I’m glad I’m retiring next year! I weep for Burlington, VT

HauntMD
HauntMD

There are plenty of dead and seriously injured LEO'S that would disagree, not to mention Correction Offices who happen to be unarmed.

rce16
rce16

I doubt the chief will ever see the comments, and I doubt he would accept any productive input some of the commentary posts provide. I’m not sure where he is pulling his opinion from but it’s not fact based. I will put 32 years of street experience and training to test against any of his opinion along with documented analytics regarding knife wielding suspects. The losers here are his command and the community he serves.

PhillyBlue
PhillyBlue

I say lead by example, every call with a knife wielding suspect gets routed to the chief so he can show us how it's done, I'll wait in my patrol car till it's clear

mtblantonjr
mtblantonjr

I can see a mass exit of the officers working for this “chief.” He has no clue. Apparently, u haven’t seen the video where the officers walked backwards for 300 yards and still had to shoot him.

Michael Duncan
Michael Duncan

This chief is a leftist politician, not a lawman. His view is not only idiotic, but could cost one our bothers and sisters there lives. I hope this bad advice doesn’t find its way to another “leader” no sharper than he is. Wonder if this clown was a policeman before he became chief? Seems doubtful!!!

GForce48
GForce48

This guy must have served much of his career in the "personnel department"! This guy is dangerous.

Brian N
Brian N

How many times has this know it all been faced with a suspect holding an edged weapon? He looks like hes been a personnel weenie his whole career and has no clue about what real police work is like. What an idiot

wbvr3
wbvr3

Brandon Del Pozo or Prandon Del Bozo? I favor the latter. Either way pull his certification. He's going to get an officer killed.

Brasov04cluj
Brasov04cluj

Chief of IGNORANCE and STUPIDITY Pozo. YOU IDIOT ! I DARE YOU if you have THE BALLS to accept my Dare... .YOU show up at the next 911 call of : suspect threatening people with a knife.....AND Leave your firearms in the car. EVERYONE should know that a distance of 21' feet can be covered in 3 seconds. Maybe YOU will not go home from that call. IDIOT !!

lccooper207
lccooper207

I agree with all who exercise the preponderance of force option, my stuff is better than your stuff. He needs to work a 1 man car with,backup 15 minutes away code 3.Good,training film " Surviving Edged Weapons " .A must see for all LEO's.🇺🇸

beyondpissedoff
beyondpissedoff

His next training video will have Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi showing the LEO's how to use the force to stop the bad guys. SMFH

GPD-Ret
GPD-Ret

Chief, please take this in the helpful manner in which it is given. You are stupid and I would NOT work for you as I do not have a death wish. I have worked in a very rough part of town and there were nights when I would draw my firearm a dozen times for my safety as well as the safety of the suspects. Now back then we did not have pepper spray nor did we have tasers. Thankfully I never had to fire my weapon but believe me the fact that these suspect KNEW I would fire if necessary prevented me having to.

PAC416
PAC416

Has he never heard of the 21 foot rule? Knife attacks are becoming more and more prevalent here. I seem to recall reading that In London they have as many knife attacks as NYC has shootings.

jarhead24
jarhead24

A true leader leads by example. He should apply his his new “death wish” de-escalation tactics on the street with the first hot call of a suspect with a knife. No back up allowed.

bronx163
bronx163

This guy is a clown. He was a nypd intell cop/wannabe jack ryan. He Was never a real cop. Book smart no actual street cop time. His idiotic comments proves my point.

Guy pulls a knife you put em down.

30 ft or less armed perp with knife Will kill you. Street savages spend hrs every day in prison yard training on how to kill CO’s and Cops with edged weapons.

9mm
9mm

Del Bozo?

Hammerdawg
Hammerdawg

Let me introduce that Chief to a few of our cities here in Pa!! I don't think I'd personally would have to change his mind!! I know he will have a different outlook when he gets back home to Vermont! It's called, "street education"! Who could work under a blind moron like him!! I've been a undercover narcotics agent for over 28 years and could tell you he'll hang a honest cop to save his liberal whimsy ass! We all know a few cowards in this job that have no intercity experience that think his protective little society is like the rest of the nation!