Today’s Investigative Special Report – December 3, 2012 Law Enforcements Specialized Investigations The Jovan Belcher Story and the World Law Enforcement Works In

By Lawrence W. Daly
Forensic Expert – Senior Author

The tragedy that took two young lives yesterday in Kansas City is not unlike the types of calls law enforcement officers have to deal with on a daily basis.  The stories are similar, the names are different, but in the end innocent lives are lost due to circumstances most people believe they would never be involved in.

English: Jovan Belcher, a player on the Kansas...
English: Jovan Belcher, a player on the Kansas City Chiefs American football team. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There is no justified meaning for what Jovan Belcher did today, nor will the motive of why he took the life of his girlfriend, Kasandra M. Perkins and his own be public knowledge for some time to come.  There is always a history and motive to uncover the role of determining those facets of the matter will be the responsibility of law enforcement.  Therefore, until the detectives reconstruct what occurred in Kansas City it is important not to pass judgment but prayer for everyone who knew he and his girlfriend, Perkins, and their families.  Although in this article we will outline the possibilities of what may have occurred between Belcher and Perkins.

Law enforcement officers are training and educated from the first day they decide they want to become a law enforcement officer to begin the process of learning officer safety and how to work around all types’ violence acts.  Many officers are washed out in the field-training program because they can’t handle the destruction violence leaves in its path until it finds its finality.

It takes a special law enforcement officer to arrive at a domestic violence situation and upon approaching the residence where the incident is taking place and within seconds, not minutes, make a decision, which may cause someone their life, including the officer.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 2011 statistics indicate that 72 officers were killed in the line of duty.  Of the 72 officers who were killed of these 72 felonious deaths, 19 officers were killed during ambushes and four died while responding to disturbance calls (one being a domestic disturbance).

These statistics tell us that officers are at risk at all times under any and all circumstances.  Let us examine and evaluate what the killings did not explain when it came to those officers who were assaulted.  The FBI stated the following:

English: The Seal of the United States Federal...
English: The Seal of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. For more information, see here. Español: El escudo del Buró Federal de Investigaciones (FBI). Para obtener más información, véase aquí (Inglés). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In 2011, 54,774 law enforcement officers were assaulted while performing their duties.  Of the officers assaulted, 26.6 percent suffered injuries.  The largest percentage of victim officers (33.3 percent) were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls.  Assailants used personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) in 79.9 percent of the incidents, firearms in 4.0 percent of incidents, and knives or other cutting instruments in 1.8 percent of the incidents.  Other types of dangerous weapons were used in 14.3 percent of assaults.
Definitely the statistics speak for themselves.  Imagine the number of officers assaulted, the number could be its own medium size city.  One officer killed or injured are one too many.  However, life has many twists and turns and people under stress, that most people can’t phantom or understand the illogical reactions of people who find themselves standing on a cliff with what they believe they have nowhere to go make astronomical decisions which have a severe consequences i.e. taking of their lives or others or both.
Research provides us much insight into the murder-suicide scenarios and the National Institute of Justice is one of the leading authorities in reference to why these tragedies happen.  They state:
Common characteristics of murder-suicide in families include:
·                   Prior history of domestic violence 

·                   Access to a gun 

·                   Threats, especially increased threats with increased specificity 

·              Prior history of poor mental health or substance abuse, especially alcohol
Previous history of abuse is by far the most dominant risk factor.  In one study, 82 percent of the men who killed their intimate partners were known to the authorities — treatment professionals, the military or the criminal justice system, for example 
In most cases, the man exhibits possessive, obsessive, and jealous behavior.  There is a gradual build-up of tensions and conflicts after which an event leads the man to act.  The triggering event is often the woman's announcement that she is leaving.
The time immediately after a woman leaves an abusive partner is the most dangerous

If the National Institute of Justice is correct in their ideology behind why they believe murder-suicides occur it is then important to evaluate what happened in the Jovan Belcher incident on Saturday, December 1, 2012.  The ideology allows us to focus on:
1.      It is apparent that Mr. Belcher had a weapon.
2.      It is unknown if there had been any types of previous discord between he and Perkins.
3.      Mr. Belcher was in excellent condition, a pro-football athlete, and had started 10 games as a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs just this year.
4.      It is unknown if Belcher had any substance abuse issues and speculating about this aspect of his life would be unfair.
5.      It is unknown if there was any previous history of abuse which generally stems from a dominant personality which becomes a risk factor.
6.      It is unknown if Belcher was known by others, teammates, management, law enforcement or treatment professionals that he had any problems occurring in his life.  It is one thing to be a good guy with teammates, but he may have demonstrated a different personality outside the locker room.
7.      It is unknown if Belcher exhibited possessive, obsessive, and jealous behavior.
8.      It is unknown if there had been a gradual build-up of tensions and conflicts which may have lead to the ultimate act.
9.      It is unknown if Perkins who just had a child on September 11, 2012 was possibly leaving him.

As stated above law enforcement has the role and responsibility to gather 1-9 and come to a conclusion about what went wrong with Belcher.  Everyone who knew Belcher and Perkins will not want to air dirty laundry about two people who no longer are alive.  However the approach by law enforcement must be one of sensitivity, empathy, and consideration for time for grieving, but in the process obtain the necessary information to understand the clues, facts, and evidence.
English: A Picture of FBI SWAT officers. Origi...
English: A Picture of FBI SWAT officers. Origionally from http://buffalo.fbi.gov/specialty_programs.htm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There should be a major concern for Perkin’s mother who watched Belcher kill her daughter as well as General Manager Scott Pioli and Head Coach Romeo Crennel from the Kansas City Chief organization who he thanked for giving him a chance.  All they did for him and then they watched as Belcher put the gun to his head, turn, and pulled the trigger.  Failing not to mention the many law enforcement officers who possibly observed the event from a distance would also need counseling.
Many years ago this author while investigating a Rape of a Child allegation traveled to the alleged perpetrator’s home to locate and apprehend him for raping his 10-year-old stepdaughter.  The perpetrator had just been released from a Texas prison for murder and told his wife that he would never go back to prison.  While the mother took a short nap this man raped his stepdaughter and in the process the mother woke to the screams and crying by her daughter.  The lady and her daughter fled their home and called police.  After performing interviews of the mother and daughter I went to their home to arrest the alleged perpetrator.  As I pulled up in front of his house he had just backed his vehicle up and as I pulled up into his driveway our eyes met.  He immediately took off and the chase was on.  After a short chase he pulled into a parking lot got out of his truck and shot himself in front of me.
police officer and motorcycle
police officer and motorcycle (Photo credit: Metropolitan Police)
This memory has never left me and I think of it often.  Therefore, when I write that Perkins mother, the two coaches, and law enforcement officers will have to deal with this tragedy.  It will take years and I mean many years to soften the visual of a man who takes his life in front of others.  Belcher may have had his reasons, but this author has this unsettling feeling that not only did Belcher take a life, he injured many more.  His teammates have spoken out about the hurt his actions have caused.  There is so many questions unanswered which may never be explained.  The pain will last forever and as time goes on the pain may lessen but the memory will never be forgotten.
Law enforcement officers may tell you that it is part of the job so see the dark side of life and most will tell you they can deal with it.  The questioned asked often of officers is what is it you see when you close your eyes has major significance not only in law enforcement but soldiers who see death and violence over and over.
It is the hope and prayer of this author that everyone from law enforcement, to coaches, to players, to family and friends that the Belcher incident will be a learning situation for all.  Until then my prayers are with all of those involved.  It is a sad time for everyone and it is important that everyone be supportive of those who are hurting and questioning why.

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