By now, everyone reading this is familiar with the story of Ogden, Utah, Police Officer Ken Hammond who confronted 18-year-old Bosnian refugee Sulejman Talovic as he shot up the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City with a pistol grip shotgun. By the time Officer Hammond confronted Talovic, he had already killed five people and wounded three others. Hammond had been out to dinner with his wife when the situation unfolded in front of him. While he could have left the area with his wife, he chose to remain and place his life in danger, confronting a suspect who was armed with a weapon superior to his and, by doing so, undoubtedly saved the lives of other mall patrons. There have been some naysayers who have criticized Officer Hammond for his actions, but they need to crawl back into their holes as they obviously do not understand what Officer Hammond did. He placed himself between those that he is sworn to protect and those who would prey upon them!
Set aside all of the routine functions that a law enforcement officer performs on a daily basis (taking reports, responding to calls for service, investigating crimes after the fact, barking dogs, and so on), if you break it down and really look at what we want our police officers to do, it is to seek out those that would hurt us and interdict them before they do so. It’s that simple and, unfortunately, there are a large number of citizens and police administrators alike that just don’t get this basic concept. Is this not what Officer Hammond did? No, he was not the officer who actually neutralized the suspect, but he did pin him down so that he could not hurt anyone else and he did so with limited firepower and none of the basic equipment available to the patrol officer. What would happen if you were put into a similar situation? Would you be able to perform at the same level as Ken Hammond?