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    GCSO Deputy shot latest in trend of violent warrant encounters

    By Parker Padgett,

    30 days ago

    SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — “If it wasn’t for that rifle plate that we would have been talking about an officer fatality,” Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott reflects.

    Yesterday, while serving a warrant for the arrest of Theodore Davis, Arnott said Davis went inside the home, started firing a rifle and hit a deputy in the back.

    “The deputy is doing fine. He was checked out of the hospital. He’s been released and now he is on time off until we complete the investigation and then also give him some time to recover,” Arnott said.

    The deputy was part of the Fugitive Apprehension Unit, which Arnott said is one of the most dangerous jobs in law enforcement.

    “You’re going after people that don’t want to be caught, and so they’re running from the judicial system. They’re running from law enforcement,” Arnott said. “They’re trying to conceal themselves, and they are criminals because they’ve committed a crime, for us to be after them in the first place.”

    For Arnott, this was a first in a law enforcement career spanning over three decades.

    “This is the first rifle round incident that in my 36 years at the department that I’ve ever seen,” Arnott said. “It doesn’t happen very often.”

    While this may have been a singular incident in Greene County, it’s the latest in a dangerous trend of violent interactions between officers executing arrest warrants, and the suspects trying to stay out of jail.

    In April, four members of law enforcement were shot and killed in North Carolina.

    In Washington D.C., three officers were wounded while serving an arrest warrant in February.

    Other shootings have happened in Indiana and Wisconsin in previous years.

    “You do see a nationwide trend of people trying to elude police or avoid being arrested,” Arnott said. Sometimes that comes with gunfire or other types of weapons that they use commonly. Officers are assaulted every day trying to take someone into custody.”

    Arnott’s not alone in that opinion.

    “The service of search warrants has always been a dangerous activity for the police,” Jim Bueermann, President of the Future Policing Institute and the Center on Policing and Artificial Intelligence said. “They’re fugitives, for a reason. They don’t want to go to jail or if they were in jail and escape, they’re not going back.”

    He said in some instances, suspects will use rifles for a specific reason.

    “We’ve seen that happen in several other incidents here in the United States where officers have been shot usually with a rifle or a rifle allows a criminal to shoot at the police more accurately from a much farther distance,” Bueermann said.

    Bueermann and Arnott said your traditional bulletproof vest does nothing against rifle rounds.

    “Those vests, most of them are rated for handgun rounds,” Bueermann said.

    So that’s why a donation in 2021 by the Cook Family Foundation was able to help save a life three years later.

    “The Cook Foundation is what helped us purchase all of our rifle plates,” Arnott said. “That is exactly what prevented this … is having rifle plates that we could not have afforded otherwise.”

    OzarksFirst reached out to the Cook Family Foundation, who sent this statement:

    “We are incredibly blessed to be in a position to make a significant and meaningful donation. We are happy our donation of rifle plates and shields have provided the protection our law enforcement needs. Providing the tools to support our incredible law enforcement is not only rewarding but an honor.”

    Arnott was able to show OzarksFirst the difference between the traditional vest and the rifle plate vest

    “This is an example of a 223 bullet,” Arnott shows. “That’s what the deputy was struck with. This bullet would penetrate [the bulletproof] vest and not stop it at all. This is when I talk about rifle plates. My whole point to this is this is what saved his life yesterday, and we are refocusing on how we can maybe get even lighter rifle plates that could fit in.”

    Arnott said there’s been national support on top of the local support he’s seen.

    “I think we see more of [these situations] because of social media and the news traveling so quickly,” Arnott said. “Immediately while on scene with this incident yesterday, I got a message from Washington, D.C., checking on our deputy that was involved in the shooting.”

    Arnott added that while the person inside typically has an upper hand in situations like Mondays, their experience and training are a larger advantage.

    “We’re always on the reaction side of it. That’s where they have the upper edge because they know the moves that they’re going to make. The thing that the bad guy doesn’t take into effect that we’ve probably trained and thought about all the moves that that he or she may make in advance,” Arnott said. “We do updated training, we teach mindset, and we try to do everything that we can do to keep them from being in harm’s way. There’s always an immediate panic at the beginning of any stressful situation, but they did what their training taught them to do.”

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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