(WGHP) — Three shootings have involved law enforcement serving warrants in less than two weeks across North Carolina.
Some law enforcement agencies are revisiting their policies because officials do not know what they will encounter at each location. They try to educate themselves about the individual before they leave the office. It includes background checks and even surveillance days before a visit.
Every department has its own procedure when serving a warrant. Some dictate the number of people who go along or assign a special team.
“How are we going to approach the residence? Has he made threats to law enforcement? Has she made threats to law enforcement?” said Sergeant Jamie Brown with the Randolph County Sherriff’s Office. “Do they have weapons inside the residence? You want to gather as much information as you can while en route to serve the warrant.”
Those are some of the questions that come into play when law enforcement serves a warrant.
“From traffic stops to alarm calls to domestic situations to shootings, nothing is ever routine,” Brown said. “We want to go home to our family just like we want that individual to go home to their family.”
The RCSO uses the Patrol Division, the Criminal Apprehension Team and the Serious Emergency Response Team to serve papers.
“I’m sure departments are revisiting and looking at their policies and procedures and how to serve warrants,” said Damon Williams, president of the N.C. Association of Chiefs of Police.
Williams told FOX8 that the bursts of violence are increasing.
“We have to address mental health. We have to address our gun law issues,” he said. “We have to address those issues in the state. We can no longer ignore them. They’re real. They exist, and when you combine an individual with mental illness with a potential weapon, it’s never going to be a good result.”
Civil unrest, massive law enforcement shortages and public scrutiny over the past few years have changed the profession.
“Some of these people we encounter need long-term mental health care, and I don’t know if law enforcement has an answer for that because we’re not mental health professionals,” he said.
Williams said while tactical gear in the field is the first line of defense, it’s time to address the root cause.
“We do have to develop a plan with our partners that will resolve the issue of mental health in our state or we’re going to be in a lot of trouble in a few years if we’re not in trouble already,” he said.
Williams plans to meet with the N.C. Sheriffs’ Association within the next week.
He wants to strengthen laws and provide more resources to law enforcement. The association recently met with Governor Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein to discuss crime reduction.