Our View: Standoff, shooting highlights hazards of police workThe Saturday night/Sunday morning standoff and shooting incident again calls attention to the hazards of being a police officer. You never know when that life-threatening call for help will come.
The Saturday night/Sunday morning standoff and shooting incident again calls attention to the hazards of being a police officer. You never know when that life-threatening call for help will come.
In the weekend incident, a father allegedly fired shots at his son and three other teens in the family’s St. Croix Height’s home.
At the end of a seven-hour standoff, Daniel Craig Christenson, 43, was shot as he exited the front door of his house. Christenson left the house with his gun in hand and did not respond to any commands from the police at the scene. When he raised the gun, officers fired.
Within a few minutes of the first call for help, Hudson Police Department officers were on the scene. They were soon joined by members of the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department, Wisconsin State Patrol and the Emergency Response Unit from both St. Croix and Pierce counties. In all, about 50 law enforcement officers were on the scene during the standoff.
A standoff can be a long, grueling event for police officers.
In this case, a suspect was inside a home and had already demonstrated that he was more than willing to freely shoot his weapon at people. Every officer on the scene was in harm’s way.
Of course, the poor teenagers in the home were apparently the intended target of Christenson. Fortunately, they used their heads and were able to escape the home through a basement window. This had to be a terrifying ordeal for the teens. On television, the police barge into buildings and rescue the victims – in real life it generally doesn’t work that way. It takes time to devise a plan to safely rescue people in a building. Fortunately the intended victims were able to escape the home before police had to make a move. For the intended victims, however, the minutes must seem like hours.
As the police take their positions, they all hope for a good ending to a standoff – no police officer takes pleasure in shooting a human being. Shooting of a suspect is always a last resort.
In this case, apparently the suspect first exchanged gun fire with officers near the rear of the home. The suspect then exited the front of the home and pointed his weapon at officers and was shot.
We pay tribute to all the officers who were involved in this incident. It was a long, traumatic experience and will likely have an impact on many of the officers for a long time to come.
Sometimes we joke about police officers spending time in donut shops – although those stories are extremely exaggerated. Officers really earn their keep when they respond to incidents like the one on Saturday night. Interestingly there have been more of these gunfire incidents locally in recent years. Most of us don’t have the mental or physical courage necessary to respond and try to put an end to an incident with an irrational person willing to fire a gun.
Thanks to local law enforcement officers for a job well done.