At 3AM my phone rang; I was expecting the worst from Africa, instead it was bad from KCC. One of my guys – Matt Roberts – had shot and killed one man and wounded another while they were trying to carjack a car on the street in front of college.
I was at the college at 3:45; this day was not going to be a good day either. I talked to the college security desk as I drove.
The two villains had dragged the man out of the car in his driveway and he had been fighting them when both of them pulled a knife. Matt had been walking the street in front of the college on the foot patrol segment of the beat. Matt was across the driveway when the action started and had immediately gone to assist.
As soon as the knives appeared, Matt shot both of them with a 3 round sequence to each target. One died immediately and the other was in surgery at the hospital 300 yards away.
I stopped as close to the scene as I could get and walked there. There were news trucks with towers in the air filling the street and reporters running everywhere. They joined all the police and rescue trucks that had the scene lit up like noon time.
I walked up to the yellow police tape, moved several people out of the way, and then ducked under the tape. Even though I was in my KCC uniform, an officer immediately headed my way to stop me.
I identified myself and presented my KCC security badge, “Direct me to the person in charge.”
“For the town, that would be Chief Dustin Banks and State Police Major Ashley. They are over there by the car,” he replied as he pointed.
The officer had keyed his radio to announce that I was on the way as I walked towards them.
“Well, the world traveler has returned. I wondered if you were going to have to fly in from some distant far off land,” Major Ashley said.
“I’m only here for a little while longer, you will not even miss me when I am gone,” I replied.
“So the rumors are true that you are leaving,” Major Ashley replied.
“Yes, at the end of the year; I am working a reduced schedule now,” I replied.
“What can you tell me about what happened here, that I don’t already know?”
“Looks like your man interrupted a carjacking and used deadly force when they pulled weapons on the car owner. Naturally we have to go the distance with the investigation. We have his sidearm and will hold it until we are through and the DA reviews the evidence and makes a decision,” the Major replied.
“I will assign him to a desk until something is settled,” I replied.
“Why was he not wearing a body cam?” Chief Banks asked.
“Student body was against it. The student union said it was an invasion of their privacy and against their rights to be filmed any time an officer was in their area. I guess they never gave it a thought that the entire campus is under 24/7 video surveillance.”
“The board made the final decision but it did not break my heart, there is enough second guessing of what everyone does without having to put video into the mix. There are already agencies that are critiquing the video so closely, people are leaving the police force.”
“No two people react the same way to same situation: all scenarios can’t be answered by a script out of the book. Believe me, I have I have been there and done that. To sit down and dress down an employee because he said but instead of or is just plain ridiculous, let alone the massive cost.”
“Hire the best people you can; give them the best training that money can buy. Hire enough people to avoid high levels of unnecessary stress and fatigue caused by hours and hours of overtime; those are the two worst things that cause mistakes,” I said.
“You can do that; we don’t have that luxury of being the boss with the money. We ask but we never get what we want,” Major Ashley replied.
“Change the approach, use better documentation, overload them with the facts and data,” I replied.
“I almost sure that none of our cameras cover this side of the street in this area, but I will look. Where is my man? Have you finished with him, is he free to come to the security office?” I asked.
“We will review his statement and question him again tomorrow. Take him over to your office. We know where to find him. We have told him – and you can reinforce it – not to talk to the media,” Major Ashley replied.
I walked with Matt back to my Suburban and then drove to the office.
“I assume that you know you are assigned to a desk until there is a final report,” I said.
“Yeah, I know, that is not going to help though; I’d rather be busy and not have the time to think about it,” Matt replied.
“I have someone who can help with that; I will set you with an appointment. They are very good at helping in these situations. I have spent time with them myself,” I replied.
“Don’t go second guessing yourself; you did what had to be done and you had to make that decision in a split second. It was the right decision,” I said.
Bob Jackson and Mr. Nobles paid the department a visit shortly after 8. Mr. Nobles wanted to do some kind of press release; in fact, there were reporters waiting at the administration office press room.
I wrote one out for them.
“By now many of you know that early this morning one of our security personnel responded to an attempted car jacking at a residence across from the college that resulted in the death of one of the assailants with the other being hospitalized. Due to the early morning hour and the on-going police investigation, KCC has no official statement at this time. However, once all the details are known a press release will be issued. I need to emphasize that no students were involved nor were any in immediate danger.”
“I just don’t like that one of our security people was involved in this,” Mr. Noble replied.
“Car jacking is a crime of opportunity that takes less than a minute; it could have easily have been in one of the staff or student parking lots. Be glad it happened across the street and we are not answering questions about why it happened on the grounds or how safe are our students,” I replied.
“Matt was helping someone in distress; a good thing to do. Just think about it for a minute. Would you have gone to give assistance? Most people would not. Matt didn’t shoot them until they pulled knives to kill the guy and him.”
“Car jacking has been a crime that happened mostly in the cities. This is two in the county in the last two months. Serious crimes are moving our way,” I replied.
“Marcy’s proposal will be finished in a few days. If you want to distance the college on issues like this – that are complicated – give the proposal a good look. JBG would take the public thrashing when it happens, and it will happen again no matter what route we take to try to stop it,” I replied.
It was 2 when Major Ashley and Chief Dustin came to the office looking for Matt.
“He is on night shift – that starts at 11 – he is usually here 30 minutes early,” I replied. Then I added. “I have an appointment for him to see my company shrink tomorrow morning.”
“You have a company shrink?” Major Ashley asked.
“Two of them actually; all new employees spend time on the couch to make sure their head is on straight before being permanently hired, issued weapons and after any incident,” I replied.
“Like I said last night, when you control the money you can do it the right way.”
“Do you hire retired police officers? I got another year and will be eligible for early retirement; I have had enough of this mess. It’s time for someone else to deal with it.”
“If you are ready to stand beside me on the roof top call Jason; HR is his baby.”
“If that is what it takes; I may be on the roof with you but I may not be standing as tall as you do. I’m wondering where you keep them?”
“That pair of brass balls you’ve got; it took a big pair to stand on that roof in Kampala,” he replied.
I smiled and chuckled at that, “You will have to ask the girls, they have found them a time or two.”
“I can’t believe I heard you say that to her,” the chief replied.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.