Column: Risk ever-present in law enforcementCan’t happen here? The incident Feb. 18 in Mahnomen, Minn., confirms that it certainly can.
By: The Forum, Worthington Daily Globe
Can’t happen here? The incident Feb. 18 in Mahnomen, Minn., confirms that it certainly can.
What started out as a routine report of a drunken driver ended with the shooting of a Mahnomen County sheriff’s deputy and an eight-hour standoff that involved dozens of law enforcement officers from several jurisdictions. Two suspects, who have had previous encounters with law enforcement, were arrested.
Deputy Christopher Dewey, 26, was shot in the head and abdomen. He was critically wounded and was found lying on a driveway, where he apparently had located the pickup truck associated with the drunken-driving report.
The suspects barricaded themselves in a mobile home after the shooting, prompting authorities to engage in the standoff, which ended without further violence.
The standoff demonstrated several things we sometimes forget in our low-crime region. First, every law enforcement officer, no matter how small or rural the beat, is at risk all the time. Officers like Dewey put their lives on the line every time they put on the uniform and go out on patrol.
Second, the cross-jurisdictional response of area law enforcement agencies was a wonder to behold. It didn’t take long for three SWAT teams and officers from state, federal and local agencies to come to the aid of the county Sheriff’s Department. It was an impressive display of coordination and cooperation that should remind area residents of the professionalism in the region’s law enforcement ranks.
The story is still unfolding. Meanwhile, the shooting is a reminder that the law enforcement mandate, “to protect and serve,” is fraught with risk for the men and women who patrol our towns and neighborhoods every day.