Law officers play key role in workplace shootings

By Staff
COMFORTING HELP Meridian police officer Ricky Roberts comforts the family member of a Lockheed Martin worker after she collapsed at the scene of the shooting on July 8, 2003. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star.
By Erin Hilsabeck / staff writer
July 8, 2004
Every day, law enforcement officers deal with situations that can include anything from brush fires to home burglaries and routine traffic violations.
Workplace shootings like the Lockheed Martin shootings one year ago today that left eight people injured and seven dead are rare and usually not motivated by any single incident.
But they remain prepared. And last year, Lauderdale County sheriff's deputies and Meridian police officers quickly arrived on the scene at the Lockheed Martin plant.
Even though shooter Doug Williams had already taken his own life, law officers were prepared for any additional violence. They also helped control the growing crowd outside the plant.
Open communication
Kerley said open lines of communication are the best defense against workplace violence.
He said communication between middle-level management and rank-and-file company employees can help determine the status of worker morale and define what conduct is abnormal.
Since the average person only sees a police officer in crime-related situations, Kerley said, it is important for workplace management to have non-emergency meetings with police.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie agreed: "We want people to know we're accessible."
Conflict resolution and negotiation training for law officers varies from state to state. At Lockheed Martin, Kerley said, these tactics were unnecessary since the shooting was over when officers arrived.
Powerful tools
But police officers and sheriff's deputies still realize that words are powerful tools against potentially violent people.
Sollie said the Lockheed Martin shootings didn't lead him to increase the number of Lauderdale County sheriff's deputies in his department.
The sheriff and Kerley said they don't even believe things would have been different last year if Sollie's department employed more deputies than it had at the time of the Lockheed Martin shootings.
Keith McCary, Meridian Police Department's assistant chief, said police officers like the sheriff's deputies also treated the shooting like any other crime scene.

News

Russellville Parks and Rec adult softball league grows interest

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Thomas Randall Miller

Franklin County

Community Spirit Bank announces promotion

Franklin County

Police search underway for man wanted in three states

Franklin County

Local students earn collegiate honors

East Franklin

PHOTOS: East Franklin Junior High awards honors

News

Traveling band makes stop at Phil Campbell High School

News

Russellville Parks and Rec holds adult sandlot softball game

Galleries

PHOTOS: Community celebrates Fourth of July with annual Jam on Sloss Lake

News

Second Canadian Phil greeted by town

Franklin County

Franklin County Schools lead nurse school nurse named administrator of the year

News

Former Russellville resident performs in ‘Miracle Worker’

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville, Red Bay public libraries enjoy summer reading program events

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight: Robbie Richardson

News

University of Mississippi announces spring Chancellor’s Honor Roll

News

PHOTOS: Community turns out for Phil Campbell Festival

Franklin County

University of Alabama announces spring graduates

Franklin County

Dean’s, president’s lists students named for UA spring term

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Hugh Plott

Galleries

PHOTOS: Inaugural downtown Russellville Art Crawl winners

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville Public Library holds princess, pirates bounce party

Franklin County

Northwest Shoals Community College signs 24 students in FAME class

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Tony Chard

News

Car show benefit helps raise needed funds

x