COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ.)
Shootings of police officers have shaken multiple American cities already in 2022, building off an increase in such shootings in 2021.
According to NPR, guns were the second-leading cause of police deaths in 2021, with 61 officers killed. This was a 36% increase from the previous year.
Although police being shot rarely happens in Columbia, Corporal Kyle Green, with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, told ABC 17 that it's still alarming to see.
"Well certainly it's a disturbing trend you know with the significant increase of officers being shot," Green said.
Police departments train officers and establish policies for dealing with potentially dangerous situations. The Columbia Police Department policy manual tells officers that if they are in an incident where the person hides or conceals something and doesn't listen to officers' commands, officers should believe that person is armed.
Shootings of police officers are rare in Columbia. The last fatal incident was in 2005 when Molly Bowden was gunned down during a traffic stop.
"We know in this line of work that individuals are going to be seriously injured and killed and that's tragic but we want to do everything we can to prepare ourselves," Green said.
Below are a few steps Columbia police officers must follow when they're approaching a vehicle if the level of danger is high or unknown:
- Consider weapon readiness/Have in mind potential escape routes
- If a driver steps out of a vehicle voluntarily, the officer must decide whether to order them back in the vehicle
- Cosideration given to placement of drivers hands and the potential of a weapon located on person
- When approaching the driver stay as close to vehicle as possible
- Observe occupants and interior of car
- If in the dark, avoid passing between the lights of the patrol vehicle and the violator's vehicle
- Make contact with the driver, introdce yourself and explain the reason behind the stop
- Conduct checks of driving records
- Return to the vehicle but remain fully aware
- Provide traffic stop information and return to vehicle
Two St. Louis officers were shot and hospitalized this week after a police chase resulted in gunfire in a Ferguson neighborhood. In Houston, three officers were shot Thursday, but they are in stable condition.
"I mean, here, officers are here working hard, you know, they're doing everything that they can to keep people safe, and we keep having these critical incidents", St. Louis police commissioner John Hayden said.
Another officer, Jason Rivera, was shot and killed in Harlem last week. Thousands of people attended his funeral Friday.