Shootout During Traffic Stop
In Hot Springs, Arkansas, the 2016 Regional Officer of the Year, Police Officer Brent Scrimshire, was shot and killed during a shootout that occurred at approximately 6:30pm on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. It started as a routine traffic stop, it ended in a shootout. The incident occurred on the 100 block of Kenwood Street.
There are no specific details as to what went wrong during the traffic stop. However, after pulling over the suspect, a gunfight ensued between Officer Scrimshire and the offender. Both Officer Scrimshire and the suspect were hit during the firefight. Officer Scrimshire fell victim to his wounds after being transported to a local hospital for treatment. The suspect, who now faces charges, pulled through and will have to answer for his actions in court where he will most likely face murder charges.
Dangerous Routine Traffic Stops
What happened to Officer Scrimshire happens more often than people realize. Two of the most dangerous situations for an officer are routine traffic stops and domestic violence calls. According to the Journal of Criminal Justice, routine traffic stops are inherently dangerous. Traffic stops are a significant risk and pose a threat to the physical safety of law enforcement officers. It is actually not unusual for a routine traffic stop to turn into a violent situation.
At the time of this study conducted by the Journal of Criminal Justice in 2001, the conclusion was that during traffic stops thousands of officers had come under assault and at least 300 officers had been feloniously killed or murdered by drivers or occupants of vehicles that had been pulled over on traffic violations. These types of studies are meant to help officers prepare for situations they may face on the job, but even being well prepared cannot always protect you from someone who is intent on criminal actions.
Gun Violence & Law Enforcement
As of 2018, statistics show that numbers on gun violence as a cause of line of duty deaths among law enforcement officers are on the rise. According to the preliminary data, gun violence had a 12 percent increase over the previous year in the number of officers who were killed in the line of duty. There were 52 officers who died from gun violence in 2018. Each year the numbers are climbing. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund additionally stated in their information that handguns account for the majority of fatal gun violence incidents against law enforcement officers.
Hot Springs Police Department
Police Officer Brent Scrimshire had been a member of the Hot Springs, Arkansas Police Department for about six years. He was well liked by those in the community and by his fellow officers. Officer Scrimshire had been awarded the coveted Regional Officer of the Year in 2016, and just recently as Employee of the Quarter, an award which he had won several times, in October, 2019. His supervisors stated that he was chosen for his dedication to his job, work ethic, and professionalism. He also wanted to be the first one to do more for his community.
Outpouring of Support for Hero
Having done so much for the community of Hot Springs, the police department and other officers wanted to give the citizens a way to grieve their loss of Officer Scrimshire or to simply pay their respects to someone who had given his life in order to keep them safe. Officers brought Scrimshire’s Police vehicle to park in front of the police department allowing visitors to create a make-shift memorial out of his vehicle. An outpouring of support came from individuals in the community as well as departments and other officers across the country. His vehicle was covered with many tributes, flowers, and cards as a way to show they cared for the family and to remember one of their city’s finest officers.
Officer Scrimshire left behind his wife and two young children, who will have much to bear without him there to hold them up in life. His wife is in the healthcare industry and as a couple they worked as a team to give back to all that they knew both personally and professionally. A go-fund-me page was put up to help his wife and children get through this very difficult time. A memorial fund has also been created at Farmers Bank and Trust, in Malvern, AR, for Officer 1st Class Brent Scrimshire. He was awarded the Regional Officer of the Year for always going above and beyond his duties. This time, he put his own life on the line, in order to keep everyone in his community safe. He went above and beyond in his last moments.