‘It will always be in our minds:’ Law enforcement impacted by domestic violence calls and loss of fellow officer

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 5:20 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Law enforcement officers continue to put their lives on the line to protect the public from dangerous criminals, and last week the death of Madison Officer Randy Tyler proved just that.

The death of Officer Tyler is one that is hitting the officers that serve your community hard.

“Anytime a member of the law enforcement community goes down, somebody that’s just across one border from you that was there to help you, it’s like losing one of your own, and it hurts all the same,” Rankin County Undersheriff Paul Holley explained.

Tyler lost his life while assisting Brandon Police in a domestic violence situation that turned into a standoff — a situation that puts officers’ lives highly at risk.

“A domestic violence situation... they are absolutely the most dangerous call that a law enforcement officer could respond to. It’s an emotionally charged situation, and it’s dealing with conflict,” Jackson Interim Police Chief Joseph Wade said.

“You never know the situation you’re getting into. You may get called, and they just want advice when you get there, or it can quickly escalate,” Lt. John Applewhite with the Pearl Police Department, who assisted with the situation in Brandon, explained.

Department leaders say a loss of life doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it affects everyone — especially those who continue to serve you.

“You just start becoming a lot more aware of responding to domestics and what the outcome could really be,” Applewhite said.

“It’s a reality that we face, that we know about, and we hear about, but experiencing something that hits so close to home that happens right here in our backyard, one of our own, it’s going to be in the back of their mind,” Holley explained. “But that was as closest it’s hit to home and a long time in this area, and it’s something that weighs very heavy on the hearts of every law enforcement officer, every man, and woman with this department.”

According to Pearl Police and Holley, the last officer that lost their life in Rankin County was Detective Mike Walter while he was serving an arrest and search warrant.

To move forward, agencies are working to improve response and address officers’ concerns.

“We train for those situations. We evaluate those situations. It’s okay to back out, revert to your training, assess, evaluate, ask for backup, because it hurts not only the agency, it hurts the community,” Wade said.

“We try to make sure that they get the help that they need, whether that’s talking to somebody with mental health, or going through additional domestic violence training to try to help prevent this situation from escalating next time,” Holley said.

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