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Insiders: A look at Tallahassee Officer Involved Shootings and Where They are Happening Most

In 2014 TPD had eight officer involved shootings.
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Posted at 10:30 AM, Feb 06, 2015
and last updated 2017-12-13 05:25:12-05

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TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- It is one of the most difficult decisions a police officer has to make, when to fire their gun. Tallahassee police officers say it's a very quick and personal decision to protect themselves and the lives of others.

Officer David Northway says that the spike in officer involved shootings was simply based on circumstances. "Our officers only take action in the line of duty to prevent somebody's death other than themselves or for themselves. So if we are having a spike in shooting, or you saw one of the last year, it was simply based on circumstances."

There has been a spike in the number of officer involved shootings in Tallahassee, but why are they on the rise? In 2014 TPD had eight officer involved shootings. (See the map below for dates and locations). In 2013, there was only one officer involved shooting and in 2012 there weren't any.

 Criminologist Carter Hay says it takes time to detect and develop any patterns. "For rare events like this, when there is a spike, it is difficult to know what to make of it. There often can be random, chance fluctuations that turn out to be temporary aberrations. Over the next year, we could be back to having 1 or 2 such incidents. The general rule on crime and law enforcement trends is that it takes some time to spot trends," says Hay.

However, on average, officer involved shootings tend to be clustered in areas with elevated crime levels experts say.

"If you look at what's going on in Tallahassee recently most of those shootings are taking place in the core part of the city. They've taken place in areas where there is a large congregation of individuals transient individuals students or people coming through town they rarely take place in subdivisions in areas of more established neighborhoods," said Frank Leonard, a criminologist at Tallahassee Community College.

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