The Duty to Retreat for Cops

[Posted Thursday, September 8, 2011, at 1:10 p.m.]   Various Chiefs of Police and other law enforcement representatives have gone on a public tour with the Governor proclaiming how important the “Duty to Retreat” is to New Hampshire’s self defense law as it applies to honest citizens under RSA 627:4. Given that they feel that way, we propose adding it to the self defense requirements for law enforcement found under RSA 627:5.  (Note that this applies only to a law enforcement officer's self defense, not to making an arrest.)  We have taken the exact language that they support and just modified it to fit law enforcement.  Here is how it reads:


627:5 Physical Force in Law Enforcement. – 

II. A law enforcement officer is not justified in using deadly force on another to defend himself/herself or a third person from deadly force by another if the officer knows that he or she and the third person can, with complete safety:

(a) Retreat from the encounter, except that the officer is not required to retreat if he or she is within the officer's police station building or its curtilage and was not the initial aggressor.


RSA 627:4, III (d), which reads:

"(d) If he is a law enforcement officer or a private person assisting him at his direction and was acting pursuant to RSA 627:5, he need not retreat."

is hereby repealed.


Let’s face it, although most law enforcement can be trusted with the use of deadly force, there may be some corrupt cops who would abuse the law. Accordingly, as per the Chiefs' vocal support for mandating the “Duty to Retreat” on honest citizens, “What's good for the goose is good for the gander.”  PGNH will try to get the “Duty to Retreat for Cops” added as an amendment this session or put forward as a stand-alone bill. The next time you see a Chief in opposition to SB88, make sure to ask if he supports the “Duty to Retreat for Cops” as well.