Former Dayton Police Asst. Chief weighs in on officer-involved shootings

Dayton police and SWAT surround a home on Burbank Drive. (Justin Kraus/WDTN)
Dayton police and SWAT surround a home on Burbank Drive. (Justin Kraus/WDTN)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – There have been four officer-involved shootings in Montgomery County in the past two weeks.

  • January 27, officers fired at suspects who they say drove toward them near Hawthorn Suites in Miami Township. No one was hurt in that incident.
  • January 28, Dayton Police had a shoot out with a suspect on Burbank Dr.
  • February 2, Centerville Police shot a suspect multiple times. After further investigation officers found the suspect was holding a replica gun.
  • February 5, Englewood Police shot and killed a suspect who they say got violent and wouldn’t listen to commands.

Bob Chabali has been in law enforcement for 37 years, 36 of those in Dayton. He says the number of officer-involved shootings isn’t alarming, calling them a call to duty in the best interest of the public.

“Officers have to make split decisions for life and death. To fire or not to fire,” said Chabali, former Dayton Police Assistant Chief.

He now trains officers in the Miami Valley to deal with high stress situations like officer involved shootings.

“I have been involved in those situations and personally responded (to officer involved shootings),” said Chabali.

Chabali says most shootings happen within three to five seconds of arriving on scene. He thinks people who have never been in those situations are too quick to judge law enforcement’s actions.

“To say, ‘Well, they should have shot to wound’, it just doesn’t happen. Once again, these are very high stress, critical, very fast evolving incidents,” he said.

Police say every suspect (s) in each of the four officer-involved shootings had a firearm or a replica.

“Not to take away from the tragedy of these families because it is a tragedy, but why would you carry a gun that is a replica gun? Why would you point a gun at a police officer knowing what the end result was going to be?,” said Chabali.

2 NEWS reporter Maytal Levi asked, “Do you think more people are inclined to harm police officers today than before?” He responded, “Officers are under the gun a little bit, literally. Being fired upon and more officer deaths have occurred.”

Nationwide, 64 officers were killed in firearm-related incidents in 2016. That’s 23 more than in 2015, according to National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund.

“Nothing justifies the violence that has occurred against police officers,” said Chabali.

He says officers involved in lethal shootings struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and typically leave the line of the duty within five years.

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