The tragic, heroic, exasperating law enforcement summer of 2022 so far

The tragic, heroic, exasperating law enforcement summer of 2022 so far

By Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D

There are plenty of occupations that aren’t on a 9-5 schedule, but America still seems to run on the assumption that weekends exist and summertime is for relaxing. Here are some things that your police officers have been doing in the dog days of August.

In Indiana, K9 handler Seara Burton was shot while her canine partner, Brev, was sniffing for drugs on a traffic stop of a moped. The operator fired on Burton and a fellow officer. At the time of this writing, Burton is still fighting for her life after the August 10th shooting.

Michigan Trooper Nicholas Talbot used rescue equipment from his patrol vehicle to help save a ten-year-old swimmer trapped in the current at the base of Four Mile Dam in Alpena Township on August 11th. While to boy followed the Trooper’s instructions to secure himself, a volunteer firefighter, Christopher Kinsey, use the flotation device from the Trooper’s equipment to swim to the distressed youngster and get him to shore.

The headline of an article posted on the WMTW television station news website tells a succinct story: “Maine woman shoots herself in the butt with officer’s gun during the struggle”. Tameika Girardin, 24, had been arrested on August 16th for burglary and was being escorted by officers when Girardin began fighting while handcuffed. When she grabbed for the officer’s holstered weapon, she caused it to fire, striking her rear end.

A Saturday trip to a local Home Depot store by an off-duty Elko, Nevada police officer was interrupted when the officer noticed a man pushing a cart full of merchandise past the registers and into the parking lot. The officer called in a theft in progress and identified himself as a police officer when confronting the suspect in the parking lot. Christopher R. Prado, 42, abandoned nearly $1400 of merchandise and fled into a nearby apartment complex where officers located him based on the off-duty officer’s information.

Joplin Police Officer Rick Hirshey, a 21-year veteran, returned to school as a school resource officer at St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary and Preschool. He returned to work after being shot in the face in a March attack that killed fellow police officers by a man they were investigating for a reported armed disturbance. The suspect shot arriving officers and fled in a stolen police car and was subsequently fatally shot by officers after a pursuit.

August 6th found two Connecticut police officers rescuing a suicidal woman from the precipice of a parking garage, pulling her to safety.

Back to school at Lincoln High in Stockton, California nearly started with a bang Monday, August 15th as a brawl between students escalated as a 17-year-old student drew and brandished a loaded handgun. A police officer at the school disarmed and arrested the juvenile.

Carla Jefferson, age 51, was arrested on August 8th by St. Petersburg, Florida police for making harassing phone calls and misuse of the 911 system. Jefferson has logged more than 11,000 calls to 911 in 2022, none of which were to summon help but all were to curse and criticize law enforcement.

Four juveniles, ages 12, 13, 15, and 16 were caught in a stolen car in Whitehall, Ohio on Monday, August 15th after it rammed a police vehicle. After the collision, the driver attempted to drive away but was pinned in by another patrol car as officers ordered the occupants out at gunpoint. Police Chief Mike Crispen reported, with disgust, that the 16-year-old driver smiled and laughed while being arrested “It seems these juveniles are not concerned with the ramifications to their actions and they think this is funny,” Crispen said.

In Dallas, police officers noticed that many children in their Northwest Division had inadequate footwear. In 2017 they began an annual effort to help the local kids and this school year were able to provide athletic shoes to over 500 kids. Funding was from a cooperative effort between police and local industry.

How was your summer?