Difficult, Split-Second Decisions for LEOs
Law enforcement officers know that gang members and violent criminals commit ruthless, savage and heinous acts. Law enforcement officers are aware that criminals and criminal acts are becoming more brazen. Law enforcement officers understand that use of force is still the most debated law enforcement issue in America. So earlier this month, when the Alabama Attorney General acknowledged a record level of lethal violence against law enforcement officers in his state after seven county and police officers were shot and killed over the last 13 months, law enforcement officers weren’t at all surprised. These fallen officers and the facts surrounding their deaths, painful as it is, need to be shared and reshared because the media, special interest groups, politicians, and lawmakers need to understand not only the exposures and dangers law enforcement officers face, but how often and how quickly and senselessly minor matters and incidents escalate and result in death.
- Birmingham police Sgt. Wytasha Carter was shot and killed in January as officers questioned two people suspected of trying to break into cars.
- Mobile police Officer Sean Tuder was shot and killed in January. He was trying to apprehend a suspect when he was killed.
- Auburn police Officer William Buechner was shot and killed in May while responding to a report of a domestic disturbance.
- Tuscaloosa police Officer Dornell Cousette was shot and killed in September while trying to arrest a wanted man. Cousette had spotted the suspect outside and was shot to death after chasing him into a house.
- Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams was shot and killed in November at a convenience store. The attorney general said he was responding to a noise complaint. The teenager charged in his slaying is the son of a deputy in a neighboring county.
- Huntsville police Billy Fred Clardy was shot and killed as a suspect opened fire when officers tried to intercept a suspected drug delivery.
- Kimberly Police Officer Nick O’Rear was shot and killed earlier this month while helping a neighboring department in a pursuit. The fleeing suspect shot him.
The mindset, activity and sophistication of offenders and criminals often force agents and officers to make difficult, split-second decisions under unique circumstances that only people who do this every day can truly appreciate. It is imperative for the safety of all, that the media, special interest groups, politicians, and lawmakers truly understand the circumstances today’s law enforcement officers are facing, and consider their words and reactions carefully, especially in unique or supercharged environments until all facts are known and presented by appropriate sources.
The liability exposures and legal aspects associated with law enforcement decisions are just as complicated as the issues surrounding policing today. These vulnerabilities are the reasons professional liability insurance is necessary. For brochures or additional information, email firstname.lastname@example.org