Wednesday, September 10, 2008

City reeling as a New Haven police sergeant killed in crash and second officer injured

Sgt. Dario "Scott" Aponte, 43, died in the crash and Patrol Officer Diane Gonzalez, 47, was critically injured

Read the full story here:

And an earlier story here:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

September 15, 2008


As many others, I haven been keeping an eye open on the stories printed regarding the recent crash involving two New Haven Police officers which as of the time of this letter ended with one officer killed and one in critical condition. I have read many comments by the general public in which some stated a domestic dispute call is not an emergency and the officers should not have been responding the way the were. Being a retired Paramedic, I have had the opportunity to see first hand what a domestic dispute can lead to. These are things the public may or may not be aware of. In a domestic dispute, I have had people stabbed, cut, assaulted severely and even shot. When dispatched to a domestic, you do not always know what you are walking into. That goes not only for medics, but the other public safety people responding to the call. Police and fire and EMS personnel are more likely to be injured at a domestic call than most others. A call can escalate in mere seconds mostly unexpectedly. Should police, fire and EMS respond to domestics lights and sirens? That decision is based on the information provided to the dispatchers. In the New Haven call, The officers were outright told the assailant was going to kill the victim, sounds to me like a “hot” response was warranted.

I also took the time to look up some statistics as I personally know that domestics are some of the most unpredictable calls public safety respond to.

The National Criminal Justice Reference Service states, and I quote “Domestic dispute data were collected from cases reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation over a 10-year period. Data showed the most dangerous time in the domestic dispute call was the first minute. Many police officers responding to domestic disputes were killed while arriving at or approaching the call scene. Most killers were armed and often knew police officers were coming. Almost all police officers killed during the approach stopped in front of the residence. They also failed to use cover and other standard response tactics. About 10 percent of killers hid outside the residence, waiting for the police officer. Several police officers were killed upon initial contact with the suspect, i.e., relatively early in their response. In more than 40 percent of fatal calls, the police officer had some indication there was a greater than usual danger potential. Recognition of this danger and implementation of appropriate tactics would have resulted in fewer police officer deaths. Several incidents occurred when the police officer tried to take forcible control of the situation. Alcohol and police officer impatience played major roles in these incidents. Slightly over 20 percent of police officers killed were victimized after having considerable contact with disputants. About 57 percent of suspects were suicidal. The videotape offers several suggestions to improve police officer safety in domestic dispute cases: realize the first minute is the most dangerous, be patient, restrict movement, assess each individual, and stay alert for the unexpected.”

Two other more recent studies show: Police deaths soared 44 percent during the first six months of 2007, with 101 local, state and federal officers dying on duty compared with 70 during the first half of 2006, according to the fund’s report.
Traffic-related fatalities led the deadly trend — 45 officers killed in the first half of this year compared with 33 dead by the same time last year.
Of this year’s traffic deaths, 35 officers have been killed in auto crashes. Six officers were hit by a car and died, and four died in motorcycle wrecks.
Most police officers are alert to the danger inherent in traffic stops and domestic violence calls, where–according to Winter Haven Police Chief David Romine–“the officer has no idea what he is walking into.”
My heart and prayers go out to those involved in this horrible incident. It goes to prove that when anyone in public safety goes to work, they truly do not know if they are going home at the end of their shift. After 9/11, people realized just how important public safety workers are, while it is ironic that this tragedy happened on September 10th, it is also ironic that the public has lost the sight that they had 7 years ago and that is the importance of public safety personnel. My personal opinion is that each and every person reading this should walk up to a police officer, firefighter or EMS worker and say thank you for keeping them safe, as well as remembering what could happen.

Joseph Tomaso, Retired Paramedic CT/NY

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