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Former officer talks about mindset in officer-involved shootings

Posted at 7:45 PM, Aug 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-07 20:45:25-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There are many questions and few answers following an officer-involved shooting Monday night.

Kansas City Police said a man first threatened to harm himself and then threatened police. The department said that's when an officer shot and killed the man.

But, that wasn't the first shooting involving an officer this month; it's the third.

"No officer wants to be involved in them, but they are a factor of what happens in policing," said Dr. John Hamilton, a former KCPD officer and professor of Criminal Justice at Park University.

Hamilton was with the KCMO Police Department for 27 years before taking a teaching position. He said as an officer, the decision to shoot is life or death.

"The other thing is you are looking for your safety and the safety of other people around. So, what you have to judge very quickly at a moment's notice," said Hamilton.

In 2017, there were eight officer-involved shootings in Kansas City alone. While this number may shock some, Hamilton said he has a message for the public.

"Part of the concern I have is I would hope that the public would understand that this is a very serious thing. So, when a weapon is pointed at an officer, the officer is going to respond with lethal force," said Hamilton.

But when it comes to guns and violence, some in the community said it has to stop.

"I lost a brother in February, and I just feel that somebody has to do something about these young people and all these guns. I don't know what, but some kind of way. There has to be something else to do than killing everybody," said Kansas City, Missouri resident Joseph Taylor.