A few days ago, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke made national news when he urged citizens to get a gun, because if they find themselves in the midst of an armed robbery, he needed them "in the game."
Needless to say, Clarke's advice isn't any where close to what other law enforcement agencies and experts have to say about what to do in the midst of an armed robbery.
Here's what the FBI advises you should do in a robbery:
- Remain calm and do not make any sudden movements.
- Do what the robber says. Cooperative customers and employees are rarely harmed during a bank robbery.
Here's what the Houston Police Department says you should do:
- Remain calm. DO NOT resist.
- DO NOT try to be a hero. Take NO action that would jeopardize your own safety.
- Follow the robber’s directions, but do not volunteer more than asked for.
- Advise the robber of any unusual moves you must make. Assure the robber that you will cooperate.
Here's what the Palo Alto Police Department says to do:
Someone points a gun at you and demands your money. What do you do?
- GIVE IT TO THEM. Never refuse a robber! Stay calm. DO NOT resist. Do what the robber demands.
- If you have a silent alarm and can reach it unnoticed, use it.
- Otherwise, wait until the robber leaves. Be sure to use your alarm with care, excessive false alarms can cause problems for law enforcement.
- If possible, signal other employees. Have a prearranged signal for such emergencies. Again, if the robber will see you, wait. Try to avoid sudden moves. Many robbers are just as nervous as you are.
Do not resist! Remain calm! Cooperate fully with the robber and avoid actions
which might jeopardize your safety and the safety of others. Robbers are
generally armed. Assume they are capable of hurting you!
Bank Robbery Heroes
Every law enforcement official will tell you the same thing: the most heroic act you should take in a bank robbery is noticing any details about the robber. You should not try to stop the robbery by force. Keep in mind that an increasing number of bank robbers are using powerful drugs (cocaine and methamphetamine) during the time of the robbery. You don’t want to take chances with an intoxicated person in a desperate situation – it’s simply not worth all of the money in the world.
San Diego Police Department, What to Do if You Are Robbed:
- Act calmly. Do exactly what the robber says. Keep your movements short and smooth to avoid startling the robber.
- Do not resist. Cooperate for you own safety and the safety of others. Robbers usually are excited and easily provoked. Tell the robber about any movements you plan to make.
- Activate an alarm if it can be done safely without alerting the robber.
The common warning in all of these is clear: Trying to act like Clint Eastwood and pulling out a gun will likely get you and people around you killed. Its simply not worth aggravating a situation that would usually resolve itself without anyone getting killed or physically injured.
Sadly, at the end of the day, that is the exact opposite of what most that hear Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke's call to "get in the game" will do when they are confronted by an armed robber. And, unfortunately, such combustible confrontations will result in more bloodshed than there would have been if people hadn't followed Clarke's dangerous advice.
While most have worried about vigilantism arising from Clarke's reckless words, the far more dire consequence is the increased loss of life that Clarke's words will undoubtedly cause from misguided individuals trying to "get in the game" that should be left to highly trained law enforcement offcials.