CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In the last two days, the Corpus Christi Police Department has had to place three officers on paid administrative leave for two officer involved shootings. It’s a standard practice across the country following these types of incidents.
“Number one, it’s part of the investigation as our practice," said Interim Police Chief David Blackmon. "We put them on admin leave, it is a paid leave, but that’s for the investigation. It’s also to ensure that mentally and physically they’re able to return to work. So, we take that very seriously. Being involved in a shooting is a very dramatic incident.”
“In both cases our police officers were either fired at or attempted to be fired at with a criminal with a gun," Peter Zanoni said, city manager. "So, in both cases our police officers were defending themselves and protecting us, fighting crime.“
While the investigation into the alleged crime continues, police also look at if officers actions were warranted. In the meantime, resources remain available to those officers on leave.
“There’s a real in-depth protocol that’s in place, includes working with a psychiatrist and there’s a network of support," said Zanoni. "So, there’s a whole elaborate protocol that’s put in place anytime a police officer's in a situation like that.”
Chief Blackmon said the department does have a therapist on retainer and can refer officers to other professionals if it’s needed.
“Everyone’s different," he said. "It depends on what the incident is, how traumatic it is. Because we’re talking about, obviously this one’s officer involved shooting, but there’s—police officers every day go through a variety of different things that are very traumatic or has potential to be traumatic. So, depending on what that it is, it could be several meetings to an extended period of time depending on what that is.”
Three officers are now on leave. Four just returned from administrative leave following an officer involved shooting in March. Despite this, Blackmon said there is no concern for being understaffed.
“We’re going to do what we need to do," said Blackmon. "If we need to bring officers in or we need to pay overtime or if we need to move officers around from division to division, we’ll—we’re going to do what we need to do to make sure the shifts are staffed and the community’s safe.”
Zanoni added that the force hires cadets from the police academy each year, mostly filling in for those that retired. This year, he said they will have one of their largest classes of 50 cadets who are soon to join CCPD.