OPINION COLUMNS

Kudos to officers who do their job the right way

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, September 24, 2016
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Officers we see on the news these days often find themselves there because of questionable decisions they’ve made regarding use of excessive force that often have deadly consequences.

What we don’t often see are stories of officers who have de-escalated rather than escalated a situation.

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

Luckily, I’ve seen cases here locally recently where officers have responded to potentially deadly situations, which ended up with everyone safe and sound.

A few weeks ago, I was the “on-call” reporter when I heard about a situation involving a man with a gun who was threatening to kill someone, possibly someone who was hiding on the same property. It was reported that he had already fired his weapon at least once.

Police from several different departments responded.

Upon arrival, the officers could hear gunshots.

They backed off to stage a safe distance away and called for more back up, including a SWAT team and a DPS helicopter.

Gunshots could continue to be heard while officers were staged.

This looked like a situation that wouldn’t end well.

Luckily, a negotiator was able to make contact with the gunman on the phone. The officer was able to calmly talk to the man, who eventually agreed to put down his weapon, come outside and give himself up.

It sounded like a great story to me, but the officer didn’t want his name used. He simply wanted everyone involved to get the same recognition for their work on bringing the situation to a peaceful conclusion.

As it turned out, many of the gunshots officers heard were likely dove hunters in the area. Rather than panic and rush in, the officers moved a safe distance back and waited for help.

On Tuesday, several sheriff’s deputies responded to a man who was acting strangely at a local gas station and, after being approached by officers, pulled out a knife and threatened to kill himself.

After talking to the man, who refused to cooperate, the officers were able to deploy their Tasers to arrest him and, even more importantly, take the deadly weapon away from him.

It appears he only sustained minor injuries.

I’m sure there are plenty more of these situations that we might not ever hear about. For the officers involved in these situations, they often see it as simply doing their job.

But in these cases, doing your job the correct way can often mean the difference between life and death.

For that, we should all be thankful.

Brian Knox is the Messenger’s special projects manager.

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