Wisconsin Shooting Prompts Concerns About Officer Background - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Wisconsin Shooting Prompts Concerns About Officer Background

"The bottom line is, in this business we police ourselves and we have to be accountable to that," said Randall County Sheriff Joel Richardson "The bottom line is, in this business we police ourselves and we have to be accountable to that," said Randall County Sheriff Joel Richardson

The shooting spree by a young police officer in Crandon, Wisconsin has prompted questions about how law enforcement officers are chosen. In Randall County, applicants have to go through a rigorous process, including a background check and psychological evaluation.

"The bottom line is, in this business we police ourselves and we have to be accountable to that," said Randall County Sheriff Joel Richardson. Texas law has strict standards when it comes to certifying people to become officers. One of the major issues in Wisconsin shooting was his age. He was only 20. In Texas, the minimum age requirement is 21.

"Here at Randall County Sheriff's Office, our minimum age for hire is 21 and we feel that that's where anyone is mature enough to perform duties here," said Sheriff Richardson. Officers at Randall, Potter, and Deaf Smith Counties do not have to undergo periodic re-evaluations.

So, Sheriff Richardson says the best way to prevent what happened in Wisconsin is to always be monitoring the officers. "I think if they're supervised, well you should recognize signs that there might be trouble," said Richardson.

But he admits, even the most closely-monitored officer can go off the deep end. "All the people that do this job are human. They are suspect to certain pressures and stress levels in this job and you can't always control that one bad apple," said Richardson.  

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