Fmr. Wichita police chief talks seriousness of officer-involved shootings

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In the wake of Tuesday's officer-involved shooting in Haysville, and the high profile officer-involved shooting of unarmed Missouri teen Michael Brown, local law enforcement is speaking out about how these incidents impact those who wear the badge.

Richard LaMunyon was a part of four officer-involved shootings during his 30 years with Wichita Police. Twice, the suspect died. Once the suspect went to jail. Once he was shot in the hand.

"I've been on both sides of it. I know it's an emotional thing," LaMunyon said.

For 13 years, LaMunyon was also the department's top cop, overseeing several instances where situations turned fatal.

"One thing you have to keep in mind, police officers deal with people at their worst, their absolute worst," LaMunyon said. "They come into a chaotic situation. Their job is to bring calm, protect people, protect themselves."

The retired chief says using deadly force is always a last resort, and never an easy decision. It requires assessing the threat, the scene and the well-being of those nearby, he says, all in a matter of seconds.

"If an officer has to use it, deadly force, it impacts that officer. It's not something like on TV where they just put it in their holster and go again. This is a very serious thing," LaMunyon said. "It's the last thing in the world an officer wants to do or be involved in."

Any officer who uses deadly force is put on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.

In Wichita, the police department will do an internal investigation, and the Sedgwick County District Attorney's office and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation will do outside investigations.

LaMunyon says in his experience, the vast majority of officers are found justified in using deadly force.

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