On February 1, Lieutenant Michael Boutte of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office (MS) responded to a call for a subject attempting suicide in Necaise. Lt. Boutte was shot and critically wounded as he exited his police cruiser. He was airlifted from the scene to a New Orleans hospital, but succumbed to his wounds. The suspect was shot and wounded by another officer who responded to the scene. Lt. Boutte was an Air Force veteran and had served 8 years with the sheriff’s office. Pray for the Hancock County SO and the Boutte family.
The next day, February 2, five FBI agents were gunned down in the early morning hours while serving a child-pornography arrest warrant. The agents were serving the warrant on 55-year-old David Lee Huber in Sunrise, FL. According to early reports, Huber was alerted by a doorbell camera and met the agents with gunfire. Special Agents Laura Schwartzenberger, 43, and Daniel Alfin, 36, were both killed. Three other agents sustained non-life-threatening wounds. The suspect was found deceased inside the apartment a short time later. Agent Schwartzenberger served 15 years with the FBI and Agent Alfin 12. Please keep the families and local FBI office of the fallen agents in prayer.
A couple days later, on February 5th, a Greensboro, NC patrol officer responded to a report of gunshots. The officer approached a house where a suspect was seen with a rifle. Upon seeing the officer, the man retreated inside his house. The suspect, later identified as Drumond-Cruz, held a woman and two children hostage. The tactical team from nearby High Point was deployed to assist. The suspect shot at the officers and hit three with nonlife-threatening wounds. Officers returned fire and killed the suspect. The woman was found dead inside the house, the children were unharmed.
In February alone, there were five officer-involved-shootings (OISs) in less than two weeks in SE Idaho. Thank the Lord that no officers were physically injured in any of the incidents. Although the incidents occurred a geographical area that includes five counties, the population is just over 315k. That’s a rather small population for so many shootings. But five OISs in ten days is a lot for any area. Once again, we are reminded on both a national and local level of the dangers LEOs face daily. The threat is very real whether LEOs serve in a metropolitan area with a high population or a rural area with a less dense population.
In light of the shootings in our area, the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy of Idaho is hosting a dinner for officers and their spouses on March 21st. The dinner will include a short seminar on the dynamics of a gunfight on an officer’s body, soul, and spirit. If you would like to support the dinner with a financial donation, go to the ChaplainsOfIdaho.org and click on the blue donate button.
LECI stays busy with training and calls
The Law Enforcement Chaplaincy of Idaho (LECI) responded to seven calls in January. We are beginning to see an increase in requests for support. Most calls were for death notifications and follow-up with the families of the deceased. But we’re also receiving calls to support our Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) and their families.
Early Monday morning on February 8, the Idaho Falls PD (IFPD) called LECI chaplains to the scene of an officer-involved-shooting. A wanted man bailed out of a vehicle and fled on foot from Bonneville County deputies. Citizens called to report a man with a gun running through the neighborhood. Officers from IFPD responded to assist. An IFPD officer spotted a man with a gun in the back yard of a house. The man was confronted, and the officer shot. The officer’s shot hit the man and he died at the scene. The preliminary investigation revealed the man who was shot was a resident of the neighborhood, and not the suspect who fled. The suspect was arrested nearby a short time later.
The tragic incident remains under investigation by a multi-agency task force led by the Idaho State Police. LECI Community chaplains were on the scene shortly after the shooting and ministered to the wife and children of the deceased citizen. Law Enforcement Chaplains ministered to the officers on scene. In a media interview, IFPD Chief Johnson expressed his thanks for the support from the LECI chaplains. Please keep the family of the deceased and the IFPD family in your prayers.
The International Conference of Police Chaplains, Region 2, held a leadership training and retreat in Cannon Beach, OR from February 7-10. While most of the chaplains in attendance had a 3–4-hour drive, mine was several hours. But the drive and the time spent were well worth it. I reconnected with chaplains from Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. In addition to the training, I picked up some pointers about running a chaplaincy. On the way back to Idaho Falls, I had a productive meeting with Chaplain Ed Spano, Senior Chaplain for the Boise PD. He purchased copies of three of my books to help with his ministry. We plan to stay in touch and help each other ministering to LEOs.
I hope to get back on the road teaching seminars and conferences this year. If you know of anyone wanting to donate a Class C RV that is in good shape to The Strong Blue Line Ministries for my travels, please have them contact me.
Sunday, March 7th is the day! Cop Church, Western Springs Cowboy Church, and The Rev radio are hosting a night of worship with the 2004 CCMA Entertainer of the Year Clifton Jansky! If you are in SE Idaho on Sunday, March 7th, please make plans to attend. The concert will be at Watersprings Church (4250 S 25th E, Idaho Falls) and will begin at 6:00 pm.
Pray for your police.