North Idaho reacts to officer-involved shootings - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

North Idaho reacts to officer-involved shootings

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Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2014 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - People in the community are talking about the recent officer-involved shooting of the black Lab, Arfee. They're commenting on social media and have posted nearly 200 comments on this newspaper's website.

The animal, originally reported to be a "vicious pit bull" by police, was inside a van parked outside the Java on Sherman coffee house Wednesday when it was shot and killed by a Coeur d'Alene police officer.

The officer was responding to a call about a suspicious van.

The Press discussed the issue with some Kootenai County residents spending time in downtown Coeur d'Alene Friday.

Here are some of their thoughts about the way law enforcement officers have recently handled intense situations throughout the region.

Traci Stluka, Coeur d'Alene: "I read last night about the Java incident and thought that was pretty shocking. I feel pretty bad for that guy. It's pretty sad, and confusing. It feels like there's some missing pieces to that story ... you would just hope that police officers use their best judgment. That would be your hope, in an ideal world, I guess."

Billy-Ray Fields, Post Falls: "Bullcrap ... There's no way that dog could have came all the way out that window. It's just wrong. If the officer gets a report of a suspicious van somewhere, he should walk up, yeah, and see if there's somebody in it, otherwise stick around and wait. There's no reason to shoot a dog, unless it comes out the window and actually comes at you. If it's still in the vehicle barking at you, it's just doing its job."

Do you have any thoughts on how we could rectify the situation?

"Give all police officers non-lethal firearms. Rubber bullets. Why does the officer have to shoot to kill? Why can't he shoot to wound? ... I think it's just the cops are overusing their power ... who do they think they are, judge and jury?"

Alyx Guy, Coeur d'Alene: "About the Java one, I thought that was pretty interesting because a lot of people do leave their dogs in their cars and dogs can be protective over their cars. I have a little one and she's pretty protective over it. It just seems really odd that the officer thought it was a pit bull and it didn't look anything like a pit bull. I saw that on the news today, I was like, that's so sad, you know. Judgment, as well.

Do you have any thoughts on how to better the situation?

Maybe they should realize what kind of dogs there are, like what are more vicious compared to other ones. That would help, too.

Jeff Dickenson, Dalton Gardens: "The thought of having somebody's dog die... if someone was to harm my dog, I mean, I don't have any kids, this is my kid, so I can really appreciate the bond that somebody might have with a dog, but I'm also thinking of personal responsibility... I watched the video of that cop when he had to shoot that kid, you could hear it in their voice, like, 'Hey, dude, I don't want to do this, but I am the line you do not cross' ... we need to have line to where we have to respect the law and order, and they are the police ... This cop probably has a dog of his own, probably has kids, his kids probably love the dog, I guarantee you, if he was sitting right here, we'd probably sit back, have a beer and kick back together. I don't want to see him made out to be a villain, but if he did something wrong, if he was overzealous and they can prove that, then he should be punished as well, because he is a police officer and he should be, as an authority, held to a higher standard. I believe that our system works."

Randi Holecek, Rathdrum: "It's a little ridiculous. To me, they seem trigger-happy, especially growing up here and right outside of Spokane ... The black Lab that they said was a 'vicious pit bull.' Yeah, that's dumb."

Jeff Block, Coeur d'Alene: "The emotional reaction is to blame the police officers, cops gone wild ... I think there is an underlying issue of crime in this community that has these peace officers on edge, they're stressed out. People forget that it is a very stressful career, a lot more stress than you and I have in our careers. They have to confront the worst stuff that they see ... I get both sides, and I get the reactionary part to blame the rogue cops and what have you. ... The last thing we want to do is create a bunch of hysteria on the police officers without getting the facts in order."

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  • PacerToo posted at 12:12 pm on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    PacerToo Posts: 105

    If they are that stressed, they should be receiving mental health counseling, not walking around with a loaded weapon!

  • DJ posted at 10:44 am on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    DJ Posts: 156

    The local cops remind me of the local bald face hornets - Bullies pissed off at everyone

    It will ALWAYS be an us vs them mind set.

    They are above correction/reproach/suggestions from the citizen's. And don't dare try to talk to them at a traffic stop. You could end up dead. Even if you know your Constitutional Rights. They are completely meaningless to a cop and will get you no where.

  • VeraKnows posted at 8:40 am on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    VeraKnows Posts: 1

    Former LEO here. I read in an article the Officer approached the van with gun drawn.
    So in my experience, in all likely hood he was (the Officer) already in a shoot or be shot mindset. So as he approached, he startled the dog and it scared the beegeezit out of him (remember the pre-formed mindset) so he shot. What if it had been a teenage kid with headphones on and playing on an iPod? Same result perhaps because of the mindset. Should find another line of work.

  • dogismycopilot posted at 6:57 am on Mon, Jul 14, 2014.

    dogismycopilot Posts: 10

    No more internal investigations. The Chief needs to go....right now!! Get the council together today and fire this guy. Fire the guy who shot the dog...clean house down there. Also, just stay out of CD'A. When the local business community feels the pain it will change.

  • private citizen posted at 1:24 pm on Sun, Jul 13, 2014.

    private citizen Posts: 779

    Very good reason to stay away from CDA. My family and our friends WILL NOT spend any time or money in CDA. We do not want to be shot or have our pet be shot. I guess the dog park is more a "visual menu" for what is available in the pet fare for shooting practice. Bullies. A personal opinion pertaining to safety. We will drive in other directions to neighboring states or Canada for the day. We get your stay out of town (CDA) or you will be shot message. Am I scared? you bet I am!

  • Bob Loblaw posted at 8:20 am on Sun, Jul 13, 2014.

    Bob Loblaw Posts: 413

    Thanks, CdA Press, for correcting the propaganda you so dutifully repeated after the incident. BUT, where are the questions about WHO wrote that press release?

  • ancientemplar posted at 2:07 pm on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1287

    Most LEOs are spot on but this jerk is a risk to the public at large as long as he is an LEO. His thought processes are a little askew. He should be gone. That would help re establish some faith in the local LEOs.

  • JimmyJohn posted at 1:46 pm on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    JimmyJohn Posts: 378

    Maybe you can go tell that to Mike Kralicek or the thousands of law enforcement officers who have been seriously injured or the families of those that lost their lives. The majority of military personal are non-combat positions, do you have the same disdain for them as well?

  • vetran posted at 12:13 pm on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    vetran Posts: 39

    The motto of the local police academy is:
    Don't suffer from PTSD
    Go out there and cause it

  • Cookie posted at 11:04 am on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    Cookie Posts: 90

    Really? Really? How can you defend something so indefensible? You have no heart, apparently.

  • Lovebugsmom posted at 10:02 am on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    Lovebugsmom Posts: 126

    "Protect and Serve with Excellence"??? Wow.. Where is the police academy? They truly need to teach common sense, oh wait, it's common sense.

  • Joe D posted at 9:10 am on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    Joe D Posts: 3372

    When Rocky Watson was the Sheriff of Kootneai County, he's deputy's somehow got the nick name of "Rocky's Raiders. I'm wondering now with Ben as the "New Sheriff in town" if they might be called "Ben's Ball Busters". Just say'in...

  • michaelb posted at 8:29 am on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    michaelb Posts: 14

    Putting their lives on the line is a myth. Police work is not even in the top ten of dangerous jobs. They are shot at almost the exact same percentage of the population as civilians. The real world is not TV. Most injuries on the job for police are traffic accidents while not in pursuit or on the way to a call.

  • michaelb posted at 8:25 am on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    michaelb Posts: 14

    "Do you have any thoughts on how we could rectify the situation?"

    Discipline bad behavior

  • michaelb posted at 8:22 am on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    michaelb Posts: 14

    Russ Jones, a former narcotics officer with the San Jose Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency: “I don't understand it at all. I guess somewhere along the line a cop shot a dog under questionable circumstances and got away with it. Word got out, and now it seems like some cops are just looking for reasons to take a shot at a dog. Maybe it just comes down to that — we can get away with it, therefore we do it.”

  • lapua208 posted at 7:19 am on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    lapua208 Posts: 238

    Here you go JimmyJohn.... their words, not mine.

    ""The statement acknowledged that the department's initial report identifying the dog as a pit bull was incorrect and stated the department "had a veterinarian examine the dog and it has been identified as a Lab mix."""

  • SHIPOFFOOLS posted at 7:17 am on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    SHIPOFFOOLS Posts: 1228

    Some of these comments are "proof" that there are some people who simply have diminished "reasoning" abilities....Take a look at what we ALL KNOW and then THINK. Dead dog. Broken window caused by bullet. CDA cops responding. Now let's USE OUR BRAIN....Is cop have his gun HOLSTERED while approaching van? If you say YES, then this means that cop unholsters his gun, aims at dog and SHOOTS dog entirely AFTER dog lunges.....OR only other scenerio.....Cop approaches van, gun drawn. Looks in window of van and dog does what dogs do....surprise. Cop's got trigger finger is on trigger and BOOM....DEAD DOG. CDA police chief is VERY GLAD it was not a child lunging or CDA tax-payers would be paying $$MILLIONS...

  • lapua208 posted at 7:16 am on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    lapua208 Posts: 238

    JimmyJohn- the NEW release from the Police says "Lab/Mixed Breed." Those are their words.

  • lapua208 posted at 6:42 am on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    lapua208 Posts: 238

    Over zealous trigger happy LEO's. Not good for public relations or the safety of the citizens. And the argument of "walk a mile in their shoes" or that "they put their lives on the line" does have some merit however that's exactly the point of the selection process and academy training.... to ensure the best possible people are given weapons and authority.

    Based on many of the recent events in our area I would suggest that there's some need for retraining and greater civilian over site of the LE departments. As demonstrated many times over in other cities, the police can't police themselves, there's too much rule bending and looking the other way in their fraternal brotherhood. When civilians are monitoring and calling the shots accountability increases.

  • JimmyJohn posted at 6:30 am on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    JimmyJohn Posts: 378

    Just like the police labeled the dog as a pit bull those against the CDAPD are calling it a lab. You criticize the police for their mischaracterization but t then do the exact same thing yourself. It is a mixed bred dog, not a lab and not a pit bull.

  • FIy in the ointment posted at 2:10 am on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    FIy in the ointment Posts: 1515

    Watch any episode of 'COPS' and you'll see and hear live video on national television as police officers ramble on-and-on about how much "fun" their job is, and as anything television has scripted to entertain the masses, the show airs video of police "having fun."

    Are shift "debriefings" as equally enjoyable?

  • Freemanofthemosthigh posted at 12:53 am on Sat, Jul 12, 2014.

    Freemanofthemosthigh Posts: 762

    keep up the great work CDAPD

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