Number of deadly force incidents raises questions - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Number of deadly force incidents raises questions

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Four people in West Virginia have been involved in fatal shootings with police in the past week.

On January 8 police shot and killed 44 year old Jimmy L. Hamlin Jr. In Lewisburg after he made a threatening gesture at police.

On Thursday January 10 Logan County murder suspect John Dempsey was shot and killed after a police chase ended in a standoff.

Then on Saturday January 12 Jason Dillon was fatally shot by police in Mercer County after refusing to drop a large club.

Also Saturday deputies in Kanawha County shot and killed Lawrence Vaughn in Quick after he shot a pistol toward them from his doorway as they responded to a domestic call.

With so many incidents just in the past few days in may seem like incidents of violence against police are on the rise.

The West Virginia State Police monitor the number of assaults against police.

The numbers for 2011 and 2012 are close. The numbers for 2012 are incomplete. Final numbers may not be available until February. But so far it looks like incidents are on a downward shift.

But with four incidents already this year, of police using deadly force it raises some questions for law enforcement.

"What we teach in the academy is that you need to rely on your training and your experience when you are caught up in a critical incident. And a lot of times when you are in these situations there is so much information to process you almost have to think like a computer," said Sgt. Michael Baylous with the West Virginia State Police.

He says the reasons why people are showing aggression toward police, could vary based on your world view. Baylous says many factors could be contributing, ranging from drug use to a growing disregard for authority.

"Prescription drug abuse is very common, illegal drugs, and a whole generation that has grown up with violence in video games and seeing it on the screen from Hollywood. It has just been a real change in our culture," Baylous said.