Retired highway patrol sergeant reacts to third police-involved shooting in past month
FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) — Five Fargo police officers and a North Dakota State Trooper are on paid leave after 35-year-old Andrew Martinez was shot and killed in Mapleton.
A former sergeant with the North Dakota Highway Patrol says because of Fargo’s growing population, more crime and situations like police-involved shootings come with the territory.
“We wanted to be a big city. 30-40 years ago we weren’t. We were a small town, you knew a lot of your neighbors. We have now really increased our size. That’s what comes with growth…growth is good for a community but it also brings in some bad,” former Democratic-NPL State Rep. Ed Gruchalla of Fargo said.
Gruchalla adds younger officers are more likely to be reactive when pulling out their weapons due to inexperience.
“Law enforcement is no different than any other profession nowadays. There’s a lot of people that have retired, you lost a lot of seasoned guys, you got a lot of young people out on the streets. When I was a rookie, I reacted differently, I hadn’t been in a lot of serious situations, I may have overreacted when I was younger but as you get some time on it and learn people’s behavior and what to look for, maybe you become a little more cautious,” Gruchalla said.
While he admits that shootings continue to be a problem across the U.S., he isn’t sure of a solution. Gruchalla doesn’t think people should have their guns taken away, but he also believes owning them won’t solve much.
“I don’t think the 350 million people in this country can handle guns safely. I don’t mean just their gun, I mean the whole society. Our society is not in a position where if everybody’s got a gun, we’re all gonna be safe. It’s not gonna be that way,” Gruchalla said.
He says it’s important to identify what the problem is instead of scrambling for solutions. Gruchalla believes many criminals involved in these shootings were raised in crime-riddled backgrounds which may explain why we’re seeing more police shootings in a growing city.