“It is time that we have more systemic accountability in policing,” he said. “Apologizing for poor decisions is just not sufficient.”

But Mr. Sherman, whose son is a police officer, was unsure whether criminal accountability was the right path for handling officers who failed to protect others. He noted that officers initially responding to a scene with a basic service handgun on their hip may find themselves ill-equipped to confront the high-powered weaponry of a gunman.

Lawmakers have the responsibility to change those dynamics, he said, by banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. He also said legislative solutions such as stronger background checks, safe-storage laws, red-flag laws and more opportunity to hold gun manufacturers liable are options for protecting communities from the threat of mass shootings, short of putting so much responsibility in the hands of the police.

“The responsibility is primarily with lawmakers,” he said. “We are putting officers in these positions.”

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