A former Killeen City Council member asked Killeen officials to put a stop to police using forced-entry “no-knock” tactics while serving warrants.
Larry K. Cole sent an email to current council members and Mayor Scott Cosper on May 21 regarding the death of Detective Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie, who was shot while he and members of the department’s SWAT team attempted to serve a “no-knock” warrant on the morning of May 9.
“A few months ago, after reading an article about a wrongful forced entry that resulted in the death of a homeowner, I wrote the city manager and chief of police an email encouraging that Killeen adopt a policy of no forced entry during the hours of darkness,” Cole wrote in his email. “Unfortunately, my advice was set aside and we now have a dead officer.”
Cole was elected to the council in 2006. He served until November 2011, when the council was ousted in a recall election. On Tuesday, Cole said he sent the email out of concern.
“My position is that there is too much risk, not just to the officers, but to the neighborhood,” he said. “I don’t think the risk warrants the reward.”
Cole said the mayor did respond to his email but declined to comment on the incident due to the ongoing investigation.
“However, this is a very sad and tragic incident and we appreciate your support and concern with this matter,” Cosper wrote in the email, which provided to the Herald by the City of Killeen.
Councilman Jonathan Okray also received Cole’s email. He said other residents raised similar concerns in the wake of Dinwiddie’s death. Like Cosper, Okray indicated he was waiting for the department to finish its investigation of the shooting before making any judgements.
“We have a competent chief that will conduct a competent investigation,” Okray said. “I don’t want to armchair quarterback.”
While the department continues to investigate the tragic event, Cole called for an investigation by an organization outside of the Killeen Police Department.
“I want to take this opportunity to recommend that you form a committee or commission, preferably by an outside agency or local citizens, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Officer Dinwiddie,” Cole wrote.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Killeen Police Department has had some outside assistance in the investigation.
“The police department is the lead investigating agency, but the (Texas) Rangers did provide assistance at the request of the police department,” said Tom Vinger, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety on Tuesday. “The Texas Rangers routinely provide investigative assistance on a variety of cases at the request of local agencies.”