During the course of the past six months, Racine Police Department officers have responded to multiple calls for service involving replica handguns. The weapons encountered on such calls were remarkably detailed and realistic in size and appearance.
During the mentioned encounters, officers have been successful in safely diffusing these potentially dangerous encounters, doing so without incident and avoiding the use of lethal force.
On today’s date, a similar incident played-out in a very different manner than previous encounters. On this occasion, officers encountered an individual who was observed to be in close proximity to a replica handgun. As opposed to following officers’ commands, the subject quickly lunged for this item in order to physically secure the handgun, so that he could display it to officers to verify that the weapon was not lethal, but a well-made replica.
At the very last possible moment, officers were able to prevent the subject from physically accessing the weapon. Had this individual taken possession of this item and proceeded to face officers during this tense encounter (as was his intent), the outcome could have been tragic.
Based on the circumstances involved in this case, the probability of deadly force being used was extremely high. However, through the extreme professionalism, tactical response and restraint exercised on the part of the officers involved, an almost certain tragic outcome was averted.
To prevent potentially deadly encounters in the future, we are making a plea for all area residents to become familiar with the following critical public safety/public awareness tips:
Parents should be aware of the presence of replica weapons in their homes
The blaze orange safety identifiers on the barrels of such weapons should NEVER be removed
Teenagers, students and young children should not be allowed to take such items to school or otherwise have such items in their possession outside of adult supervision
Parents or guardians who allow their children to own or possess such weapons should take time to offer proper education on the dangers of ownership
When coming into contact with law enforcement personnel, always obey police commands, display empty hands as directed, and NEVER reach for a weapon (real or replica) in the presence of an officer