Has Sgt. Chapin's death changed police policy and procedure? - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Has Sgt. Chapin's death changed police policy and procedure?

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(WRCB)  --  At 10:24 a.m. on April 2, 2011 emergency officials received the first call, a hold up alarm at the U.S. Money Shops on Brainerd Rd. Sgt. Tim Chapin was on the scene within minutes and found himself in the middle of a gun battle.

"He saw the gun go down at one point, away from the suspect and tried to use his taser to bring him into control," explains Deputy City Attorney Phil Noblett.

A second gun on the suspect cost Chapin his life. "I believe Officer Chapin was acting properly through his policy, he was trying to do the best he could in making the decision," Noblett says. 

"Our goal is to use the minimal amount of force to resolve the situation," says Sgt. Mark Smeltzer. "Last thing we want to do is to have to take somebody's life."

Channel 3 wanted to know if Chapin's death has changed the way officers train.

"People are looking at the concern about police officers coming into encounters with violent suspects and they have to deal with what is involved, but you can't suppose that every individual will have two or three guns either," Noblett says.

Officers are trained to make life changing decisions in a split second. "It can be overwhelming," explains Cpt. David Roddy.  

Roddy says a North Hollywood bank shootout in the late 90's initially changed how officers view potential suspects. The two bank robbers were armed with automatic rifles and wore bullet proof vests.

 "We've put that into our training as more of an awareness. It's out there and you can and possibly will experience that," Roddy says.

Chattanooga's use of force guidelines are reviewed annually. Nothing has changed locally since Sgt. Chapin's death but that doesn't mean it won't in the future.

"Police incidents will require them to look at it again, regarding incidents like Officer Chapin's to determine whether policy should be revised," Noblett says.  

"The real world, when it comes to deadly force situations, no way compares to what the majority of people believe them to actually be," says Roddy.  

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