Detroit Police Chief James Craig had some interesting remarks after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, expressing concern that off-duty police officers were not allowed to bring their firearms into the Route 91 Harvest Festival Sunday night.
At a Monday press conference, Craig weighed in on the Las Vegas mass shooting that left 59 people dead and over 500 others injured. While admitting it may have made no difference during the attack, the police chief said he thought off duty police officers should have been allowed to bring their firearms into the music festival.
“We’re talking about off-duty officers that attended this event out in Las Vegas, and I’m told they were not allowed to bring their firearm,” Craig said. “That is a problem for me.”
Craig went on to applaud Major League Baseball for allowing off-duty officers to enter ballparks with their firearms and said doing so may help mitigate threats in future active shooter situations.
“Let’s face it,” he continued, “in these times that we’re in right now, we have to find ways to mitigate threats. We have to consider the off-duty officer as a force multiplier.”
He also condemned the National Football League for taking the opposite stance of the MLB and prohibiting off-duty cops, including federal agents, from entering their facilities with guns.
“That is a problem,” Craig reiterated. “It’s a problem for me and certainly I speak on behalf of so many law enforcement officers, not only locally but across this country.”
While armed off-duty cops may be able to help in future attacks, Pete Blair, executive director of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University, told The Trace that he doubts off-duty officers or other armed attendees could have helped during the Las Vegas attack in which the shooter opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino.
“If you were in the concert venue, concealed carrying, it’s not likely you could effectively respond,” said Blair. “Most people with a pistol aren’t accurate or effective beyond 25 yards.”
Blair was also the author of a 2014 study of police responses to active shooters in which he examined 160 mass shootings between 2000 and 2013. The study data showed most of the incidents “ended on the shooter’s initiative,” either by the shooter committing suicide, surrendering, or fleeing the scene.
On-duty police officers ended 45 of the attacks studied, and armed civilians or off-duty cops who fired at shooters ended only seven of the incidents.
In the most recent case at the Mandalay Bay Casino, Las Vegas Police said in a press release that the shooter had committed suicide by the time officers reached his location.