Law Enforcement Danger In Domestic Disturbance Calls - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/7/2007-East Texas

Law Enforcement Danger In Domestic Disturbance Calls

It's instances like the one that took Constable Geddie's life and Tuesday's shooting that really drive home the dangers law enforcement face each day, especially when it comes to these extremely volatile domestic calls.

For Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith and his deputies, domestic disturbance calls are most common. This year alone in Smith County alone, deputies have answered almost 1100 of these most dangerous calls.

"They were the one's I feared the most when I worked patrol," said Smith. "We didn't go there because of doing routine patrol. We are going because we were called there."

In his 30 years of being Sheriff, J.B. Smith says domestic disturbance calls are the hardest to predict, and sometimes the hardest ones to protect.

"The scenes are so terribly hazardous for the officer when they arrive," said Smith. "Everything can go wrong in a heartbeat."

East Texas has seen it's share of deadly scenes stemming from domestic disputes. The most recent: the shooting in Whitehouse where an officer shot and killed a woman.

"The most hazardous job in the United States of America is dealing with that human emotion," said Smith. "You don't know their mindset you don't know their mental capacity."

Smith says what makes law enforcement's job so difficult is not knowing the dangers behind the door. It is incidents like the shootings in Henderson County last month, where two Sheriff's Deputies were fatally shot.

"Who's got a gun, who's got a knife, who they are mad at. Why they are mad there is so many variables," said Smith.

In June of last year East Texas lost Constable Dale Geddie when he was shot by a man inside a home with a gun.

"There is going to be a lot of second guessing of what should have happened at these scenes. That officer only has a split second to make a decision between life and death," said Smith. "It's an awesome responsibly that these officers face on a daily basis."

However, Smith says he wouldn't trade his job for the world. He and East Texas law enforcement have dedicated their lives to protect and serve East Texas.

The Sheriff also said that because of the way the law works they cannot leave the scene without resolving the disturbance. normally, he says, someone will go to jail.

Danielle Capper, Reporting.


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