Police expert weighs in on Louisiana house fire
Wed, 13 Nov 2013 05:16:07 GMT —
What exactly happened outside of the house fire that left 3-year-old Riley Miller dead is still unclear.
At the Louisiana City Council meeting on Tuesday, Dr. Joel Shults addressed the October 31 incident in which Riley's stepfather, Ryan Miller, was stunned by a Taser in an attempt to enter the house and save his stepson. Dr. Shults has more than 35 years of experience in police education and use of force training. Currently, he serves as a police executive in Colorado.
Dr. Shults spoke on behalf of Sgt. Jeff Salois and the Louisiana Police Department. He said the entire story from that night has not been heard, but urged the Louisiana Police Department to give its take very soon.
"I'm really here tonight to urge that they get the information out as soon as they can, filter it through and figure out what is not going to threaten the investigation and get that information out so we can get the truth out," Dr. Shults said.
He believes that once the whole story is known, attitudes towards the Louisiana Police Department and other first responders on the scene should change.
"These first responders will not only be vindicated - they should be rewarded for a job well done," he said.
According to Dr. Shults, the truth differs from what the public currently knows about that night. He says several factors, such as the danger of the fire to others, played into the decision to prevent Ryan Miller from attempting to enter the burning house. Shults noted the intense heat of the fire had caused siding on a neighboring house to buckle, meaning the fire had to be suppressed quickly before further damage or harm to others.
Dr. Shults wants the public to know that Louisiana Police had reason for its use of force against Ryan Miller.
"It's nobody's right to interfere with a legitimate rescue operation and that really was the issue, that the people who were trained and able and equipped to possibly make an effective rescue were hindered and delayed because of Mr. Miller's actions," Dr. Shults said.
Still, many may ask why Ryan Miller was not allowed entry to his own property, at his own risk.
"The police officers on the scene had the best assessment of how dangerous that was and it was definitely a death mission for anybody to go into that without the proper preparation," Dr. Shults added.
Shults stressed that the public has the right to know more about the incident. With time, he says, the truth will come out and show the officers were not out of line in their actions.