In 30 years of law enforcement work, Oakwood Police Chief Randall Moon’s closest call came last month.
While approaching a scene on Oakwood Hills Drive on Feb. 2, Moon and other officers faced a shotgun blast shot through a man’s front door.
“I’m eligible for retirement and you think about that and you’re like, ‘My God, why am I out here? What am I doing?’” Moon said. “And that’s what I’m thinking when I’m crouched down. ... ‘What am I doing? Thirty years. Quit man, geez.’ I just love it too much.”
No one was injured in the incident, and an Oakwood man was charged after dispatchers convinced him to drop his weapon.
“It was a combination of an effort between our dispatchers and our officers that brought everybody home safe that day,” Oakwood investigator Todd Templeton said.
Moon, Templeton and Cpl. Tal Parden approached the scene after receiving a call about a man off his medications and with a weapon.
“You really don’t have time to be scared,” Moon said. “You just have to react. And you not only have to react to the shooter, but you have to react to your officers as well and take control.”
Parden, who served four years of active duty in the Marines, including a deployment during the Gulf War, grabbed an AR-15 rife out of his patrol car.
Training kicks in, Moon said, such as knowing to take protective cover behind an SUV and remain calm. Moon told officers to stand down from firing into the residence and keep away from the front door.
The heads-up from dispatch and seeing the man re-enter the home, Templeton said, helped keep officers safe.
“Had it been a rookie officer or somebody else, they probably would have gone up there, knocked on the door and been shot,” Moon said. “We were pretty fortunate.”
Once the situation settles, officers find a way to unwind and process the events from a high-pressure scene.
“We offer officers any kind of psychological counseling or even a preacher, if that’s what they want,” Moon said.
After officers arrested the suspect, they and Moon sat on the steps and talked through their decisions and consequences.
The moment doesn’t last long, however.
“Instead of having a chance to unwind and take a deep breath, while that officer takes him to jail, I immediately go to start answering an accident,” Moon said. “When I get out and apologize to the people for being late to the accident, they’re real smart-alecky. ... You want so bad to say, ‘Look, I just got shot at, and now I’m over here working a wreck. What do you want?’”
The process for Parden takes around three hours to think through what just happened.
“You’ve got to just accept what just happened, run it through your mind and hopefully you can just get rid of it,” he said.
While the standoff doesn’t change how Moon and Templeton approach each new scene, it’s something they keep in mind.
“It’s a reality check. You realize just exactly how much bad is out there in the world and what can happen and change in a matter of minutes,” Templeton said.