Castle Doctorine & Deadly Force or "Please Don't Shoot Me On Duty!"
"Castle Doctorine" was touched upon in a flash-light carry thread recently locked by the moderators here. They can chastise and punish me for dredging it up here, but I feel it needs to be addressed further in the name of officer safety because frankly, some of your comments scared the crap out of me based on my chosen profession!!
Some posts stated they feel they have the right to shoot someone univited in their home without ID'ing them first because they know who should be in their house. Well maybe that univited someone is a police officer.
Let me give you two examples:
Often times on alarm calls we find an unsecured door. Now different departments may have different policies, but I have served 14 years on a department back east and 3 years here in AZ and the protocol is the same for both. Have the dispatcher call the residence. If you get no answer on the phone, (and 30% of the time the contact info is outdated so no call can be made) make entry and check the place out for potentila burglars within and the welfare of the homeowner and family. One should announce "Police" several times before entry, but if an audible alarm is ringing they likely won't hear you over it.
Most of the homes in the town I work now are so large that there is no way I will be heard yelling at one end of the house if they are asleep at the other end, even if all is silent. So now we go in and check the house. Twice I have been confronted by homeowners with guns. They heard the phone ring and didn't answer in one, bad contact info and no call on the other.
For those of you that are just going to shoot the silouhette with gun in hand before ID'ing the uniform, thanks for shooting me...
Second scenario - a plain clothes undercover officer is in foot pursuit of felon. The guy hops a fence and runs into a back yard. When the officer get there, he finds a rear door to the residence standing open and makes entry to search for the bad guy. This is a perfectly legal warrantless entry in hot pursuit of a fleeing felon. While the soundness of the officers tactics may be questioned for entering alone without back-up, this exact incident happened to a friend of mine back east. He is a big burly biker-looking guy dressed in black t-shirt and beat-up jeans. No-one would guess for a second he is a cop. So now you have this biker-looking guy with gun drawn searching your house. Those of you that think it's OK to shoot without ID'ing - Congratulations! You've just shot a cop and the armed felon is still hiding inside your house! In this real life incident the bad guy did was not hiding in his own house. He had forced open the back door to a strangers house and was found hiding under a vehicle in the garage. The residents were home asleep. They had no idea what was going on until uniformed patrol officers arrived.
There is a flip side to this for officers. People who at first appear to be bad guys but are innocent. In one incident, I was responding to a neighbor complaint at an apartment for the sound of glass breaking. I found a window to an apartment shattered, and saw a shadowy figure moving around inside and drew down on him. It was the resident, drunk off his ass and left his keys in his briefcase in his buddie's car, so broke into his own apartment. In another incident, a burglar alarm at a pharmacy, the back door is found kicked in and the alarm blaring. We go inside and check and find a man with a gun and draw down on him. It is the store owner, who got a call from the alarm company and got there before police, and was dumb enough to go inside armed and check the business prior to our arrival. Things are not always as they seem at first glance, and even armed subjects must be properly identified before they are shot at.
I hope this gives everyone food for thought.