NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges is all too familiar with how the Texas Rangers conduct criminal investigations of officer-related shootings. He's been through them numerous times.
On Wednesday, Bridges spoke about the disturbing reality of the deadly force happening on his watch. For each new deadly force shooting incident involving the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Department, the old ones resurface.
"We've had four shootings in four years which in the past that's compared very high," Bridges said. We had one in about 10 before."
Bridges blames the need for deadly force on drugs and mental illness and not his deputies.
"They have not been over-aggressive," Bridges said. They have in some means they have probably been less aggressive in not wanting to be in a gun fight and sometimes that can get you hurt."
Training is emphasized by Bridges. He said policy reviews are conducted after each incident.
"In all four of these situations I firmly believe that if officers had not had the training that they had that we probably would have buried two or three officers by now," Bridges said.
Bridges acknowledged that technology provides less lethal force.
"With Tasers, pepper ball guns, bean bag guns, you know, all that helps, but in the end if the suspect just doesn't want to cooperate and he wants to be on a mission to get in a shootout with police, there's not much we can do about it," Bridges said.
The fatal shootings always get news coverage. Bridges would like more people to hear about the violent situations that officers bring to a peaceful end.
"That officers are handling those situations, and they're coming in our favor, but you take a totality of those situations and ultimately one of them is going to end bad eventually," Bridges said.
According to "the Washington Post," there were nearly 1,000 police-related shootings last year.
This case will be presented to a Nacogdoches County grand jury, in the same fashion as the three other fatal shootings.