Responding to an Officer Down

This is part of a story that was in the news the week before last:
The gunman who shot Jeffersonville, Ind., police Cpl. Daniel Lawhorn and Patrolman Keith Broady opened fire without warning from his second-floor room at a Motel 6, police said yesterday.

When the officers knocked on the door of Room 204 about 7 p.m. Thursday to check out a report of illegal drugs, Robert Dattilo “came out with a gun in his hand and immediately fired,” Detective Todd Hollis said.

“He opened the door with one hand and fired with the other,” Hollis said at a news conference where police released radio communications from that night.

“We found a pair of binoculars at the window. We have reason to believe Dattilo was watching” as the officers arrived.

Both officers are at University Hospital in Louisville.

The condition of Lawhorn, 39, who was shot three times in the right leg , was upgraded yesterday to fair. Broady, 32, who was shot once in the chest above his bullet-resistant vest, remained in serious but stable condition…
Recently, Jeffersonville police recently released the audio recordings involving the two officers being wounded. You can listen to the transmissions by going here or read some of the text by following this link.

After listening to the recording, I think it was a good job by all involved. The dispatcher did especially well in trying to provide necessary information while otherwise remaining calm and quiet and the other officers the same for all not clogging up the air with saying "Where's he at?" and "I'm in route" a hundred times.

It is funny how the audio tapes of incidents get my heart going faster than when there is video--just makes it more realistic I guess.

Responding to a call for an officer assist will get the blood pressure racing for any officer. Responders tend to drive much faster than normal (or supposed to) in an effort to arrive at the location.

Two police bloggers offer very good insights into what it is like to respond to help an officer: The Roanoke Cop and Officer Smith.

I can remember being new in patrol when our dispatcher sent out an “Officer Down” call in a remote area on the edge of our jurisdiction. I can remember driving well over 100 mph in route to the scene (as fast as I was comfortable in safely driving), and having to pull to the right to let another officer pass me who was driving much faster like a missile.

Fortunately, the call was bogus and no one needed help. Unfortunately, then we all had to explain why our car recorders showed us operating at such high speeds. My supervisor was understanding and did not say a word about it-—but the supervisors of others were not so impressed.


copswife said...

I understand driving fast to get to the scene of something like that but it does worry me. My husband just told me about driving too fast on roads he was not familiar with. Gravel out in the booney roads! I hope you all remember that fast is good but getting there alive is better.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks CW. I tried to emphasize driving fast but safely and that will vary by officer. The story where I described my quick response was based on great driving conditions--open Interstate, early in the morning (no traffic), dry roads, and better lighting due to a full moon.

Obviously, my gravel and dirt road response was much slower.