Lynchburg Police say internal investigations — and commonwealth’s attorney reviews — have determined that three officer-involved shootings in the last 26 months were all within the law and department policy. The first involved a suicidal subject with a knife on Triangle Place in November of 20-17. Two others were in 20-18, including one involving a pursuit that ended in a shootout with a wanted murder suspect in Campbell County. Reporter Andre Whitehead was present as Chief Ryan Zuidema commended the officers for their conduct under fire:
The third incident was on Norwood Street, when Zuidema says a suspect pointed his gun at an officer. Zuidema also released dashcam and officer bodycam video of these encounters, saying police are trying to be as transparent as possible with Lynchburg citizens.
NEWS RELEASE: The Lynchburg Police Department has completed its internal investigations into the officer-involved shootings that occurred in 2017 on Triangle Place and in 2018 on Norwood Street in Lynchburg and on Sunnymeade Road in Campbell County.
Commonwealth’s Attorneys reviewed each of these incidents and found that the officers acted within the law. Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Bethany Harrison reviewed the incident on Norwood Street, Campbell County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul McAndrews reviewed the incident on Sunnymeade Road, and Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle reviewed the incident on Triangle Place. Each determined that the use of force was justified.
The Lynchburg Police Department also completed internal investigations for all three incidents and determined that the involved officers acted within policy.
The Lynchburg Police Department has been a nationally accredited agency since 1989, and that accreditation requires the department to meet hundreds of standards. As with all incidents involving the use of force, the Lynchburg Police Department reviews all associated training, policies, and procedures to ensure our officers have the information and equipment needed to make the best decisions during all calls for service.
As a result of these incidents, we will continue to provide Crisis Intervention Team training for all officers and upgrade our equipment to more safely address critical incidents.
We want to thank Bethany Harrison, Paul McAndrews, Colin Stolle, and the Virginia State Police for their objective reviews of these incidents.
Additionally, we would like to thank the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for their assistance in the Sunnymeade Road incident.
These are just a few examples of the dangerous situations officers face every day and the difficult, split-second decisions they have to make. We are appreciative of the work our officers do on a daily basis and want to thank them for the sacrifices they make to keep our community safe.