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Law enforcement show of force indicates no call taken for granted in this day and time

Gaston, SC (Paul Kirby) – Neighbors were understandably concerned when they got near their homes between Gaston and Swansea Wednesday afternoon and suddenly saw a home’s yard full of deputies and other officers heavily armed. They immediately began calling everyone they knew, including The Lexington Ledger, to see why deputies were not only there in numbers, but some were armed with assault rifles.

As it turns out, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department said that they had received a call about a domestic dispute, and that one of the individuals involved in that situation might be armed according to the caller. Although according to the sheriff’s department, that turned out not to be true, they took no chances when dealing with the situation. They responded in force and heavily armed so that if the situation did deteriorate, they would be more than able to respond accordingly to protect themselves, others in the home, and even the suspect from harming himself.

This incident was just one day after a Sumter County Sheriff’s Deputy was shot and killed while performing a seemingly mundane law enforcement task of serving some eviction papers. Was he aware that a property dispute regrading that land had been going on for decades and tempers were running especially high when he responded? Sometimes feelings of the heart, even if they’re over a piece of land, present law enforcement officers with the most dangerous situations they can encounter in their daily jobs.

In 2017, more officers were shot responding to domestic violence calls than any other type of firearm-related fatality, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. From 1988 to 2016, 136 officers were killed while responding to domestic disturbances such as family arguments, FBI data shows. By comparison, 80 were killed during a drug-related arrest in the same period of time.

These are but a few examples of how dangerous situations can be when one’s heart gets involved and begins to cloud a person’s judgment. These are but a few examples of why law enforcement turns out with such a show of force when the call for service classified as domestic in nature is called in.

In the case of the Sumter deputy, it sounds as if a dispute about family land had brought about the same passions. Remember, love for a land thought to be rightfully left to you by granny may stir the same strong feelings as calls about a wife, a girlfriend, or a husband within the hearts of those involved. As those feelings of an individual being personally done “wrong” in some way rises, so does the danger to the law enforcement officers who are tasked with deescalating the situation without the loss of anyone’s life.

Wednesday evening near Gaston, it turned out the suspect was not armed. He was taken into custody by the deputies without incident. That’s the best outcome we can hope for.

The next time you see officers showing this great deal of force on what seems like a routine domestic call, remember there is no such thing. Every call an officer responds to could be the last he’s every going to make.

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