Every day you walk out the door – you don’t know what situations you’ll walk into.
Chief JP Stevens may the chief of police in a small town, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t face danger when he goes to work everyday.
JP Stevens with Cheif of Rainelle Police Department said, “I’ve been physically attacked in domestic violence arrests. Once I had a glass lamp across my head and a girl taking a light and hitting me.”
Stevens has been an officer for almost twenty years, and he’s seen a lot over his tenure. He says the possible dangers is on his mind before every arrest, before every traffic stop, before responding to every call.
Stevens said, “On certain stops you get a gut feeling. They always tell an officer go with your gut feeling. If you approach someone and they start acting off the walls then your anxiety goes up right there.”
Stevens says most of crime these days leads back to one or two causes.
In May of this year, the Federal Bureau of Statistics released a study saying 51 officers were killed in the line of duty in 2014. That’s an increase of 89 percent when compared to the 27 officers killed in 2013.
While it’s not known how many officers will lose their lives in the line of duty this year, there has already been several high profile slayings.
Including the killing of Kentucky State Trooper Cameron Ponder, who pulled a car over. The suspect drove off, setting off a car chase. And after a pursuit the chase ended, and Ponder was shot to death in his police car.
And with everything that’s happened, do you second guess yourself when you pull someone over for speeding or just a traffic stop?
JP and I think the officers need to start changing the way the approach the vehicle. I’ve seen personally myself going by on the interstate officers approaching on the drivers side, which they say now is the most dangerous side of approaching a vehicle due to the majority of people are right handed and they’re expecting the officer to come up on the right hand side.
Stevens wants officers to approach the vehicle on the passenger side, because there’s more protection for the officer from possible gunfire.
Stevens says 10 years ago you didn’t worry about your life when pulling someone over for a simple traffic stop, but now with all the violence towards police, he says it should be in every persons mind.
Stevens says it all comes down to respect for human life.
“I believe in police officers and all lives matter. To scrutinize police officers, I get upset when I hear that. All officers ain’t bad, if you’re an officer and you do bad then you should be punished for it, and there’s way to do that then protesting and putting other officers lives in jeopardy.