Pensacola Police Department focuses on equipment and technology

It is remarkable that no lives were lost with the number of bullets fired in a chain of events that began on January 22 with a downtown Pensacola shooting incident and continued in a brief shootout with Pensacola SWAT officers on Thursday.

Still, Pensacola Police Department Chief Eric Randall said he knows for certain that one of those bullets would have cost an officer his life if not for a shield that protected the SWAT team member from a shot while executing a search warrant.

Randall said the brief shootout between Pensacola SWAT officers and a suspect highlights a need for equipment and training that follows today’s policing.

“The importance of the equipment is not only for the protection of officers but also for the protection of the community when we respond to these events,” Randall said.

Investigators are still pursuing leads in the January 22 shooting incident that left two people seriously injured after an unknown shooter fired multiple shots with a rifle at a vehicle while stopped at a traffic light in Palafox and Garden streets around 3 a.m.

No suspects had been identified in the case. However, police executed a warrant looking for evidence related to the case at a residence located at 2515 N. Seventh Ave. early Thursday morning.

Shooting:Pensacola police are investigating an early morning shooting at Garden and Palafox streets

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Pensacola Police Department spokesman Officer Mike Wood said that due to the high-risk nature of the incident, the SWAT team was used to serve the search warrant. SWAT officers knocked on the door that morning and announced their presence and waited about 15 seconds before breaking into the front door.

Wood said that’s when Cory Marioneaux, 24, interfered in the investigation by firing a single shot at officers as they entered, hitting the ballistic shield instead of the officer’s face.

“I know a lot of times there are questions about what equipment the police are carrying,” Randall said, noting that’s an example of why it’s needed.

Law enforcement across the country has come under fire for the militarization of police in recent years, especially as public trust has declined around events such as the unjust deaths of George Floyd and Breonna. Taylor.

An Escambia County Sheriff's Office vehicle responds Oct. 19 to the Pensacola Police Department headquarters where a man committed suicide in the parking lot.  PPD borrowed an emergency vehicle from ECSO during the situation.

A widespread response to these events have been calls for defunding the police, but this call comes at a time when officers say they need equipment and technology that keeps up with what they face in the services of 21st century font.

“You plan, you rehearse, you dig and you practice, and there are so many factors that come into play in the work that we do,” Randall said. “The only factor you can’t control is the human factor.”

Randall said the use of ballistic shields, helmets, vests, communications, robots, drones and rescue vehicles makes police departments and communities safer every day.

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“I think it’s important that we invest in public safety,” Randall said, adding that training, equipment and technology are critical to the day-to-day work of law enforcement and to effectively fighting crime. crime in the city.

As one officer’s life was saved by his ballistic shield on Thursday, Randall said the PPD had lost another piece of vital equipment.

“One of the things we look at to assess the agency is the tools and technology the agency needs to move forward in order to be able to deliver services to the city effectively and efficiently. “, said Randall.

PPD was caught up in a scenario where the department had to borrow an emergency vehicle from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office on October 19 last year when a man drove to the police department and drove up. committed suicide in his vehicle in the parking lot with a self-inflicted gunshot.

“Sometimes you never know why,” Randall said. “It was a situation where you had this suicidal individual with a gun in the middle of the parking lot in the middle of the day.”

Randall said it was nothing new for multiple agencies to respond to an event like this or the terrorist attack at NAS Pensacola. One thing he said is that they are focused on exploring opportunities for grants and other funding to acquire what the department needs to save more lives.

“There’s always this unknown variable that you have to be prepared for,” Randall said.

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