BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Two officer-involved shootings have happened in Central Illinois within the last week; one in Peoria, the other in Decatur.
Both of those cities, less than an hour from Bloomington-Normal and both the Bloomington and Normal police said instances like the Decatur shooting in which officers are struck are a “unfortunate” reminder policing can be a dangerous job.
Two officers were shot by a man Wednesday morning in Decatur, following a routine traffic stop.
“It brings some recognition that bad things can happen to us and it makes us become more diligent and more aware of our surroundings,” said Bloomington Police Department public information officer, Brandt Parsley.
That man, Jamontey O. Neal, 32 of Decatur was killed after police returned fire.
This incident came just a week after Peoria Police shot and killed Vincent Richmond, 59 of Peoria.
Both of the circumstances surrounding those shootings are under investigation by the Illinois State Police.
Parsley said BPD will use similar instances as learning tools for their department’s officers.
“A lot of times, in our shift briefings, we will watch the videos where things have gone horribly wrong because it’s a great training point,” Parsley said.
Parsley said deadly force is a last-ditch effort, and officers are trained vigorously on when and when not to use it.
“We’ve got a whole force continuum and it’s all dictated by the person we’re trying to place in custody,” Parsley said.
In Normal, the town’s police department went through an officer-involved shooting of their own following a shootout at a mobile home park.
Normal officers shot and killed a man who had shot and killed three people while also injuring three others. Chief Steve Petrilli said ISP found in that instance, officers had every right to pull the trigger, but officers are still affected by taking someone’s life.
“It’s a very traumatic event; not only for the officers involved but the department as a whole,” Petrilli said.
Petrilli said officers were given support during and after the incident and other similar situations. He believes in transparency with the community as well.
“You really are affected from every angle, but we do everything we can to make sure post-event we’re doing everything necessary to get the officers what they need, but also the community what they need as far as information and feedback as to what actually happened and why it occurred,” Petrilli said.
Petrilli said he has reached out to the Decatur Police Department and offered his support. He also said he spoke with Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria last week.
“We have a pretty tight-knit group; The Chiefs of Larger Illinois Cities, both Shane and Eric are members of that organization,” Petrilli said.