Use of force very infrequent at Hermiston Police Department

Policers officers in Hermiston were able to peacefully end a tense standoff with a suicidal man in the 500 block of West Standard Avenue last week. When police arrived on the scene, they discovered a man with a loaded handgun threatening suicide and demanding officers shoot him.

No matter the circumstances, a police standoff is one of those situations that can quickly go bad very fast.

That’s why the actions of the Hermiston Police Department Friday are so significant and should be a prototype for excellent police work and restraint.

The standoff centered around a suicidal adult in the 500 block of West Standard Avenue. When police arrived, they discovered a man with a loaded handgun threatening suicide and demanding officers shoot him.

Officers began to talk to the man and waited for a crisis negotiator from the police department. The crisis ended when police persuaded the man to give himself up, hand over his weapon and agree to a mental health evaluation.

It was a tense situation with plenty of potential to turn deadly at any moment. Without any doubt, police had enough legal justification to use deadly force several times during the crisis. Instead, police focused on intervening and attempting to calm the situation. There was no rush to seek closure on the incident with an assault on the man’s home. Instead of busting through doors, police held back and sought to end the crisis peacefully.

That kind of restraint deserves praise and should make the residents of Hermiston take great pride in their police force.

Police are, indeed, delegated to serve and protect their communities. Part of that service involves holding back and seeking every measure to end a standoff such as the one Friday in a peaceful way.

The resolution of the incident shows clearly that Hermiston police are focused on protecting every member of the public, even an individual who is threatening them with a firearm.

Police don’t get the kind of praise they deserve on a regular basis. The world we live in often pushes the worse cases of police work to the forefront without the kind of context that is needed to explain specific actions.

Police shootings make headlines and gather viewers on TV, but are hardly a day-to-day reality. Instead, police work is hard, sometimes boring and occasionally dangerous.

The situation last Friday in Hermiston carried all the hallmarks of yet another tragedy — for the police and the individual at the center of the situation.

Instead, the crisis ended peacefully because the Hermiston Police Department made helping — rather than hurting — a local resident a priority.

The Hermiston Police Department deserves high praise for its actions.

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