Local Officials Describe when they Use Deadly Force

March 11, 2006 -- Posted at 4:47 p.m. CST


JONESBORO, AR -- Police officers put their lives on the line each day when they are on duty.

Each day officers must act quickly to disarm a situation.

On Tuesday, March 7th, officers with the Arkansas State Police surrounded 21-year-old Erin Hamley.  Hamley matched the description of a prison escapee fromMichigan.

Officers ordered Hamley to put his hands above his head.  Hamley didn’t obey the officers’ orders, and was then shot and killed by an Arkansas state trooper.

Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCann talked with K8 news regarding how officers in Region 8 would respond when facing a situation like this one.

McCann said that we can all say what we think we would do, but that could all change when faced with the situation.

“Unfortunately, these decisions are made within just a second or two seconds.  It’s a very quick decision, whether to shoot someone or not shoot someone,” said McCann.

Officers are trained for situations involving dangerous suspects.

“In that situation, normally, if you thought that it was a dangerous person you would order them to the ground, and tell them to put their hands over their head,” said McCann.

But when faced with your their own mortality, officers must act in the way they feel is necessary. 

“The standard training and what you're told is if you're in fear for your life, then deadly force is necessary,” said McCann.

McCann said when facing a suspect who could be seen as dangerous, there is often no other option

“A lot of people think there’s a problem with being scared.  There’s nothing wrong with being scared.  It is controlling, being scared,” said McCann.

The Arkansas state trooper involved in the shooting will now face an investigation by the Arkansas

State Police, and then the case will be turned over to a prosecutor who will decide whether or not the officer is at fault.