Officers paid tribute to Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter Thursday afternoon. A phalanx of police motorcycles and cruisers rode along as Painter’s body was taken home to Rainier, from the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Clackamas.
Friday the suspect accused of killing Rainier police Chief Ralph Painter may be arraigned in Columbia County court.
Daniel Butts was arrested, and could face aggravated murder charges.
Although much about the case is still unknown, statistics paint a grim picture of the risks officers like Chief Painter face every day on the job. April Baer explains.
The FBI collects data on officers who are assaulted or killed on the job.
Those numbers indicate a surprising phenomenon. Most officers who are killed on duty serve in big cities.
The smaller the community, the less likely the risk of a lethal day on patrol. But when communities get below a certain size, those risks begin to increase.
Cities with less than 10,000 people represent the second-most-likely place for officer deaths, according to the FBI’s groupings of fallen police over the past decade.
David Klinger “Clearly, officers in smaller towns do have a substantially different job.”
David Klinger used to work as a policeman in Redmond, Washington. He also served as an officer in Los Angeles.
He’s now an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri – St Louis. He studies how officers approach dangerous situations, and how training can help them.
Klinger says in smaller towns, crime rates are different, and officers tend to know the people they police. But that doesn’t really make the job safer than a big-city beat.
David Klinger “Officers need to be constantly reminded about the nature of the dangers they face. Believe it or not, even in the high-risk communities such as inner-city, high-crime areas, officers can get lulled into a false sense of security. Police administrators and police trainers have to be constantly reminding officers, what might appear to be routine might lead to something that could lead you to get shot or stabbed or whatever the case might be.”
Police say Chief Painter was responding to a call about an attempted car theft Wednesday at Rainier Sound Authority, a car stereo retailer.
Daniel Butts, a 21-year old from Kalama, was arrested for the shooting. He also was injured in the incident.
Oregon pays for police training from a fund that’s fed by fees on traffic violations. The money lets the Department of Safety Standards and Training staff two continuing education positions.
They help local police departments sharpen skills, free of charge. The simulators that have proven effective at honing officers’ split-second decision-making can be set up in trailers.
DPSST Director Eriks Gabliks says that’s one of the ways his agency helps smaller agencies who don’t have the money to staff their own training departments.
Eriks Gabliks “We do not charge for any of our services, and we’re very fortunate about that. We also have very good partnerships with our local law enforcement agencies. The simulators, our coordinators drop them off, set them up, but we train the local department’s instructor to operate it and use it. We could drop it off in Tigard for two weeks, then we take it down, set it up in Canby for a week. That’s really how we stretch our limited dollars.”
Gabliks says it’s common for his staff at the police academy to see officers from some of Oregon’s smallest towns. And he notes, the vast majority of police departments in Oregon are comprised of less than twenty officers.
According to the city’s website, Rainier’s population is about 1700, and the police department has four reserve officers.