09:52 AM Shootout On Interstate In BirminghamRickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Nov 11 2023 10:25 AM
JEFFERSON COUNTY: Last evening on I-59 in Jefferson County a shootout between two groups.
When RSN refers to "last evening" we are saying after 4:00 PM in the late afternoon.
Just this week our area law enforcement endured a stolen vehicle chased from Eufaula to Headland. The suspect driving the vehicle produced a firearm towards officers which required the use of deadly physical force.
Just yesterday Dothan Police chased a stolen pickup truck out South Park Avenue. When safe to do so, the Dothan Police Officers trained and certified in pit manuevers performed a pit spinning the stolen truck off the road and took the suspect into custody.
So the dangers exist in our area.
LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
It is tough to combat what happened in our area this week and to prevent it from happening. The Eufaula chase was a stolen vehicle from North Carolina traveling through Alabama.
When Henry County Central 911 was notified the chase was southbound on Highway 431 passing the Alabama Welcome Center at speeds of 115 miles per hour plus, Henry County Sheriff Deputies and Abbeville Police hit Highway 431. ALEA - Troopers hit Highway 431.
When the vehicle reached the officers who threw spikes out to deflate his tires, the suspect at 115 miles per hour went into the median to avoid the spikes.
The officers had to throw their spikes back into the patrol vehicle and then attempt to catch the chase which was continuing at 115 to 130 miles per hour.
Headland Police was getting into place. Kinsey Police set up spikes both in the median and ready to deploy in the roadway. Chief Mock had his patrol vehicle set up as a shield in the event the driver decided to target Chief Mock.
Houston County Sheriff Department, Dothan Police and multiple ALEA - Troopers were rolling north of Highway 431.
Someone had asked why it took so long and how did the suspect get that far.
When called chase southbound at speeds of 115 to 130 miles per hour and you are not sitting in position waiting, you have to respond to get into position. And you never know where the officer(s) are at in comparison to the emergency. And Henry County is not overrun with law enforcement officers.
The officers set up to deploy spikes and suspect avoids them, then from speed 0 to 115 miles per hour, you have to catch up with the vehicle.
As the vehicle got into Headland multiple Henry County Sheriff Deputies and Headland Police Officers had arrived. Then the suspect changes lanes at Henry County 22 and Highway 431, traveling south in the northbound lane. Now all of the motoring public is in danger.
The suspect attempts to hit the median to cross over to the southbound lane, wrecks but continues to attempt to come out of the ditch. A Henry County Sheriff Deputy then blocks his path forcing a conclusion.
The law enforcement officers did everything possible to end this situation without any loss of life or injury. But the suspect had other plans. And when his weapon was pointed directly at the officers, and on the radio someone said shots fired, the law enforcement officers had no other choice.
The suspect, not any law enforcement officer, created this situation. And the suspect made the choice of how this was going to end, not any law enforcement officer.
HOWEVER in this sitation: Eufaula Police operate on a radio system. No one in Henry County can talk with them.
Henry County Sheriff and Abbeville Police operate on a radio system but do have a combined dispatch with Henry County Central 911. And Headland Police has the ability to swith over and talk with Henry County Sheriff Department.
Kinsey Police does not have the ability to talk with Headland Police or Henry County Sheriff Department. Houston County Sheriff Department does not have the ability to talk with Headland Police or Henry County Sheriff Department. Dothan Police does not have the ability to talk to Headland Police or Henry County Sheriff Department.
ALEA - Troopers, some have a portable on Houston County Sheriff Department. But their radio system barely will talk with their own dispatcher and they do not have the ability to talk to Dothan Police, some have portables to talk to Houston County Sheriff Department but not all ALEA Troopers do. ALEA - Troopers do not have the ability to talk to or monitor Headland Police, Henry County Sheriff Department or Eufaula Police.
There is a system and way. Most law enforcement administrators are embracing it. Some radio vendors are fighting it. One law enforcement administrator is resistant.
But interoperable communications is important and saves lives. But this week, the chase from Eufaula into Headland, points to the importance to this system that allows agencies to monitor and talk.
And I would really hate for those decision makers to wait until officers or citizens are killed when effective communications could help stop a situation. Because these administrators and Legislators will have blood dripping all over their hands.