Using Deadly Force Right or Wrong?
By: Arnold Wyrick
By: Arnold Wyrick
WEST FRANKFORT, IL -- When is it right for police officers to use deadly force? Are there any rules they must follow before deciding to pull the trigger? According to West Frankfort's Chief of Police Mike Dinn, his officers are instructed to only use deadly force as a last resort to settle a situation.
And Chief Dinn points out that domestic disturbance calls are the most dangerous for officers.
"Every one of them is unique. It's almost impossible to predict what you're going into. They are one of the most highly volatile, highly charged emotional situations that officers can go into," Chief Dinn said.
That's why his officers train constantly on how to deal with domestic calls.
And West Frankfort officers follow a rule of thumb to keep at least 15' between them and the other person.
"If somebody charges say with a knife or is pulling out a weapon, that's the kind of perimeter to go by. So you should have enough time to seek cover, or move out of the way, and gain an advantage point to respond to the situation," Chief Dinn said.
And his officers are trained to first attempt to diffuse the situation with verbal commands. If that doesn't work then they can incorporate physical action, only if there are no weapons involved.
If weapons are involved, "Then you have your mace sprays and your tazzer guns things like that. And if that fails then, and only then are my officers to use lethal force," Chief Dinn said.
It's a decision that must be made sometimes in less then a second. But one that officers must live with for the rest of their lives.
"Deadly force, there's nothing that compares to it if you have to take somebody else life. It's horrific, very emotional, and damaging. A lot of people don't come back from it regardless of the psychological help they give to the officer," Chief Dinn said.
The use of deadly force by the Marion Police Department is being questioned by Russell Campbell's family, and the Illinois State Police, after he was shot in his families home Wednesday evening.