Photo: Ron Holman/Visalia Times Delta

One of the many interesting aspects about my job is that I get to experience things most people never will.  For instance, my tangential role in yesterday’s kidnapping and police shooting event.  Beginning in Porterville, a male subject kidnapped a woman and drove away with her.  We got a BOL (Be On the Lookout broadcast) from Porterville Police Department not long after the initial kidnapping.  I was working our channel 2, which is the north end of the county.  Since we didn’t know where the suspect might be going, I broadcast the details, which included the vehicle description, it’s license plate, the names of the suspect and victim, and that the suspect was armed.   That’s usually the end of it, as it’s rare for patrol units to simply run across the subject of a BOL (although it DOES happen).

Through technological means, a possible location of the suspect was traced to Tulare.  Tulare PD located the vehicle, and at some point attempted to make contact with the suspect.  In the following moments, Tulare PD officers were forced to open fire, killing the suspect.

Although the initial call of 1199, officer needs help, was dramatic enough in itself, the most amazing moment was later that night, when we got to hear a recording of the “shots fired!” transmissions from the police units.  While they were still firing.

There are times when television shows and movies just can’t do justice to the drama and danger that can descend on a police officer at any moment.  The initial “shots fired” transmission was chaotic, but a few moments later, another “shots fired! shots fired!” came across, and you can hear multiple weapons being fired.  I’ve never heard one like this, the radios and recorders seldom capture the actual events.  Most of the time it’s only the moments after the incident that are recorded for posterity (and the courts).  This one was one for the books, and the recording will probably make it’s way into training courses for future officers and dispatchers.

Kudos to the Tulare Police dispatchers who handled this event with professionalism and dedication.  It’s not easy to be the one keeping your cool when everything around you is crazy.

The Visalia Times Delta’s story, here.

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