Recently there has been a significant number of complaints regarding firearms use by HPD members. We would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the rules regarding firearms and their uses IC, as well as offer advice on alternatives. These complaints have mostly centred around officers using their firearms as the first option when coming to a scene.
The issue with going for a gun straight away is that it more often than not brings RP to a screeching halt. It stops whatever was going on and pivots it to the presence of a gun. It also almost always results in an uncontested "win" for the officers involved. We are not here to win. We are here to be involved in the creation and realisation of stories. If every time you played Goleneye with your friend he played as Oddjob (a massively unbalanced character who was nigh-on impossible to hit) you probably wouldn't play with that person any more. If you were a criminal, and a particular cop went for a gun every time they showed up, you likely would want nothing to do with that officer. It is incredibly detrimental to RP.
There have also been complaints regarding inmates being shot. These individuals have virtually no way of reacting to a gunshot, and there's almost never any real reason to shoot them. Get creative. Use batons, or spray, or fists. If you do use a gun, think about using it for something other than its intended purpose (It's the HPD. Use your imagination.) If it fits the scene, consider discussing it OOCly with the inmate first. Take a moment to consider what that player now has to deal with as a result of being shot in a situation where there's no real reason for guns to come out to begin with. They now have to go to hospital, and their character is laid up for even longer than they would have been from their jail time alone.
Now, there are certainly times when it is appropriate to use a firearm. If there's already a deadly weapon in use, it is absolutely appropriate. Go for it. However, if there's no reason to pull it out, leave it in its holster. There are much more interesting tools at your disposal than a firearm. You have batons, pepper spray, TASERs, and even bare fists. Your gun should be a last resort.
Discarding the issues that it poses with RP, I would encourage you all to consult the firearms guide located here: http://thecrackden.com/guides/firearm/ . You'll notice that toward the bottom there is an entire section devoted solely to the HPD. In that section, it states that we have a zero tolerance policy regarding firearms rules. At the very bottom of the page it says "Remember, the use of firearms should always be a LAST resort." The HPD is given a significant amount of power IC, and to a certain extent OOC. This includes the fact that it is remarkably easy to obtain a firearm if you are a member of the HPD. This is both because and why we hold members to a significantly higher standard than ordinary citizens.
Up until very recently, there hasn't been a significant problem with any of this. Issues were stamped out very quickly, and complaints disappeared. We grew a bit more lax in regards to looking into the use of firearms by officers. There didn't seem to be any problems cropping up. Now, however, a significant number of reports are ending with "suspect was transported to HGH with gunshot wounds", and criminals are complaining that guns are being over used. If this continues to be a problem, individuals will begin to lose their gun privileges on a temporary basis. If it occurs multiple times, it will be elevated to an admin, and guns may be taken away from those individuals permanently. I do not want that to happen. I would much rather see people begin to adopt alternative tactics on their own with no need for intervention at all.
By far the majority of players in the HPD already live up to our standards as far as firearms and RP etiquette are concerned. If there is an issue, we will go out of our way to try and offer individual coaching to address it, and if you have any questions or concerns at all, please don't hesitate to approach myself, Kyna, or Tyr.