Peace in the Prairie Sketchbook: Force Continuum


From the Saint Louis Story Stitchers book, Not Another One A Discussion on Gun Violence, 2015:

Teen (female):  Is there a protocol for policemen when there are assailants in front of them? Is their first instinct to shoot them?

Lieutenant Colonel Ronnie Robinson, Deputy Chief of St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, Commander of the Bureau of Community Affairs: We have what we call “Force Continuum” that we are trained in, where we use the least amount of force in order to get a situation under control and we do have to make split second decisions that can escalate from the matter of life to death. We’ve constantly trained our hands, we have batons, Tasers, and then we ultimately have our choices, we have a weapon, we have a gun, and they are all choices that a police officer has to make within a matter of seconds. Hopefully, we try to do it right every time and I understand what you are saying about “why are people asking the question why do we shoot to kill?”

Well, we are trained to shoot to stop movement.

Some people say, “why didn’t you shoot him in the leg?”, if it gets to that point, we are not trained that way, we are trained to shoot to stop movement and we train on a target and you are trained to shoot center mass.

There have been instances when, and I have friends that are police officers, they have been in gun battles and situations where they have been fired upon, and they shot at the suspect and hit the suspect in the leg and the suspect eventually shot them. I had one officer that was shot in the forehead and killed because he didn’t hit his target. I have had another officer move to shoot an individual and the individual hid in an alley and shot him five times in the lower extremities and he still chased that individual because of adrenaline. You know you can shoot someone and they can still act aggressively and still carry out an act of violence. So we know all of these things and all these things are in our mind and when we come to self-preservation and going home. I want you to go home, I want you to go home as a policeman, after any police encounter, and I want to go home to my family also.

In all, 89% of deaths by police in 2015 were caused by gunshot, 4% were Taserrelated, 4% were deaths in custody following physical confrontations and 3% were deaths of people struck by police officers driving vehicles.[1]


To become part of Peace in the Prairie contact the Collective.

Email or call 314-899-9001.


Open Story Collection: Violence and Peace

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


Stitchers Storefront Studio

616 N Skinker Blvd.

Open to the public. Add your voice.


[1] Lartey, Jamiles, Oliver Laughlhand, Ciara McCarthy, Jon Swaine. “Young Black Men Killed by US Police at Highest Rate in Year of 1,134 Deaths.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 31 Dec. 2015. Web.