Domestic Calls Among The Deadliest For Officers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/28/05

Domestic Calls Among The Deadliest For Officers

It is the call that every law enforcement officer dreads - a signal 79, domestic disturbance. They are among the most dangerous calls any officer can receive.

In 33 years as a law enforcement officer, Jackie Rhodes has answered his share of domestic calls. So, Rhodes says when he heard it was that dreaded call that cost two Wiggins officers their lives, his heart jumped.

"I was concerned about the officers' families, their brother and sister officers they're working with and now they won't have that opportunity anymore. It's just a sad, sad day and it kind of brought back to mind the officers in Long Beach that were responding to a domestic call and were killed," says Rhodes.

Those officers were Steve Morgan and Jim Northcutt. In 1998 they were shot to death while answering a call at a house.

"It's one of the most dangerous calls that we can respond to. We never know what we can expect. We don't know if they're going to have weapons in the house. We don't know what kind of shape the victim's going to be in, how much danger there's going to be to the officer or to other people in the area until we get there."

Officers say that uncertainty makes it tough to prepare themselves mentally.

"You have two people that are in heated stress. You get there and you never know what's going to happen. Somebody might have a gun, somebody might have a knife, one party might be beating the other party up. It's just an unknown situation until you get there and try to resolve it, and hopefully resolve it in a safe manner," says Biloxi officer Randy Moen.

Domestic calls increase during the holidays.

"Not being able to come up with money for presents and whatnot. Financially, it creates stress," says Moen.

"This year a lot of people don't have houses because of Hurricane Katrina. It's going to be a long season," Rhodes says.

by Marcia Hill

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