SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The risks of police officers are often even higher when they respond to calls of domestic violence, something the Springfield Police Department knows all too well. 22News spoke with Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood about the dangers these calls pose.
Three officers were shot in Bristol, Connecticut on Wednesday night. Two are dead and another is recovering. These officers were lured to a residence under the guise of a domestic violence incident, one of the more dangerous situations officers can face because there are so many unknowns.
“That’s the high intensity of domestic situations, so we’re dealing with emotions, we’re dealing with unpredictable behavior, we’re going into a situation where we don’t know necessarily if there are weapons in the home or what they game plan is,” said Clapprood.
Springfield Police, no strangers to the dangers of domestic calls, as they lost one of their own, Officer Kevin Ambrose. Officer Ambrose was shot and killed in the line of duty on June 4th, 2012. He was in the process of saving a mother and her child at the Lawton Arms Apartments when he was killed by the woman’s boyfriend.
Superintendent Clapprood said domestic violence calls are some of the most dangerous for police officers, ranking right up there with SWAT team responses and traffic stops. Springfield’s crime analysis center can provide officers a little history on the address they are responding to, including if there are registered firearms or prior police visits. Although officers are trained, many times they don’t have the upper hand.
“If they want to kill a cop, then they’re going to kill a cop. It’s a hard thing for me to say, but we’re limited in what we can do right off the get-go,” Clapprood continued.
All of this taking place with the backdrop of domestic violence awareness month. Last year alone the Springfield police responded to 8,000 domestic disturbance calls and a quarter of those calls involved a weapon.