Dispatch officials explain what happens when police respond to calls

Dispatch officials explain what happens when police respond to calls
Tonya Davis (Source: WALB)
Tonya Davis (Source: WALB)
Chief Brian Childress (Source: WALB)
Chief Brian Childress (Source: WALB)

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Two days after a deadly officer involved shooting in Valdosta, the police chief spoke out about the dangers his officers face responding to calls.

Valdosta Police officers have been involved in two shootings in less than three months. Both shootings started as typical calls with no indication of a violent threat.

The chief says officers must be prepared for anything on any call.

It's important to know that officers often have very limited information when they arrive at a location.

The Lowndes County 911 Center receives about 830 calls each day.

"They gather basic information which will tell them what's going on with the call and what the actual emergency is," said Tonya Davis, Operation Supervisor.

Dispatchers say it's important to get as much information as possible.

"Sometimes it does take us several times or asking the question a different way to get the information from the callers to make sure that we are getting and verifying that the information is as accurate as possible," said Davis.

Dispatchers then pass the information on to responding law enforcement agencies, and it's the only information officers get until they arrive on scene.

"Sometimes when they get on scene things are a little bit different than the way they are presented to us," said Davis. "So once they are on scene anything that conflicts with what we've given them they will give us those updates.

Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress believes that no call is a routine call.

"I would argue that a non-priority call is just as difficult as a priority call. Ask Randall Hancock. Ask Alyssa Shirey," said Chief Childress.

Chief Childress is referring to two officers who ended up firing their weapons this year.

Both calls came in as low priority calls - one for a break-in and another for a child custody dispute.

"Nothing anymore, nothing for these men and women who wear this uniform is routine... nothing," said Chief Childress.

Chief Childress says his officers have to be prepared for anything.

"Every one of those calls requires split seconds of judgment," said Chief Childress.

Chief Childress stands behind his officers and says they are taught to shoot to stop. Not kill.

"Police chiefs and sheriffs need to start being more honest with the public and calling it like they see it," said Chief Childress. "If we're wrong, we're going to say we're wrong. If we're right, we're going to say we're right."

Chief Childress says he will not interfere with the GBI's investigation into this week's shooting, but he believes his officer did what she had to do.

He says video makes it clear that Officer Alyssa Shirey was reacting to a dangerous threat.

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