Wichita’s Police Chief, Norman Williams, says he’s concerned by what he sees as a rise in the number of officer-involved shootings. Chief Williams has been a part of the Wichita Police for nearly four decades. Last night’s shooting continues what the chief calls a ‘disturbing trend’ – a trend he say is avoidable.
"I can't think of a time in my thirty-six and a half years with the Wichita Police Department that we've had this many officer-involved shootings," says Chief Williams.
Last night’s shooting in the 800 block of North Spruce is the eighth officer-involved shooting in Wichita in 2012. And it’s the forth one with a deadly result.
Williams says he’s not sure why there have been more police-involved shootings this year, but he says the key is not complying with officers’ commands.
Williams says, "Because when you look at each one of those situations, the officer gave commands for people to obey; to drop their weapons, to comply with what's going on. And they chose not to."
In last night’s shooting, Williams says the woman who was shot to death was approaching officers with a knife. The chief says officer have to decide quickly what to do in that situation.
"We have to make a decision in split seconds to use deadly force. And the only ones that can really answer that question are the individuals who have made that decision," says Williams.
He calls each officer-involved shooting unfortunate, because each shooting is tragic for the families involved as well as the officers.
Williams says, "Also affected is the community as a whole, because anytime we have to make a decision use - there again - that force that's necessary to deal with a dangerous situation, it impacts the community."
The chief says there isn’t a simple answer to most of these cases, but he hopes the use of deadly force by police will decrease.
"We just wish people would comply with the instructions that's given them by the officers, because, at the end of the day, you go to jail, you get out, you move on," Williams says.
The chief says the officers involved in these shootings had to process a lot of information quickly, and they had to decide quickly which tool would allow them to the diffuse the situation while limiting the number of injuries.