Fourteen Officer-Involved Shootings In OKC This Year

Tuesday, December 9th 2014, 6:27 pm
By: News 9

Officers fatally shot Jerry Nowlin, 39, Sunday, after he allegedly pointed a gun at officers.

12/7/2014 Related Story: Police: Suspect Dies After Being Shot By Officers In NE OKC

The shooting was the fourteenth incident this year involving the use of deadly force by the Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD).

Nine of the shootings resulted in the deaths of suspects.

One year's worth of statistics does not necessarily constitute a trend, but an OCPD spokesperson said it does put a strain on the force.

"Obviously it is something that is a little bit alarming when you look at the statistics it just seems to be increasing,' said Paco Balderrama, a captain of the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Captain Balderrama said it's unclear why the number of officer-involved shootings is higher this year, but he released records that show the number of officer-involved shootings have fluctuated in the last five years.

2014: 14 shootings, 9 fatal

2013: 6 shootings, 6 fatal

2012: 8 shootings, 2 fatal

2011: 6 shootings, 2 fatal

2010: 10 shootings, 4 fatal

2009: 3 shootings, 3 fatal

Cpt. Balderrama said the department reviews each incident, looking for possible policy or procedural changes, "Whatever we can do in training to better equip our officers, if it saves one life of an officer or a citizen that's what we want to do," he added.

Balderrama also pointed out, while there is frequently public outcry from families of the suspects who are shot, those same suspects have shot at 34 officers in the last four years and 13 officers were hit.

"Anytime there is an incident, there is always going to be a conspiracy as far as what occurred, instead of the facts, the evidence," he said.

For that reason, each officer is placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation is conducted.

The time spent on administrative leave can vary from one month up to eight months, depending on the complexity of the investigation.

With the 14 officer-involved shootings this year, 25 officers were put on leave, nine are currently off-duty.

"We were already shorthanded so it does cause a strain on every shift where we lose officers," Balderrama explained. Even with officers out on leave, the streets are still policed, he added.

In such situations, officers are asked to work and get paid overtime to help cover the shifts of the officers who are temporarily off of the streets.

Balderrama said most of the shootings are found to be justified and those officers return to work at the completion of the investigations.