Chief Praises All Involved in College Street Standoff Resolution

By Jeremy Coumbes on August 25, 2023 at 2:53pm

Jacksonville’s top cop is praising several members of area law enforcement after a combined operation that he says could have had a very different outcome.

Jacksonville Chief of Police Adam Mefford recently issued a number of letters of commendation for officers with the Jacksonville, and South Jacksonville police departments as well as the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office following the stand-off with an armed robbery suspect on August 7th.

Police responded to a call of an armed robbery at Dunlap Court Beverages and encountered a suspect fleeing the area. According to police reports, the man pointed what appeared to be a handgun at the officers before retreating into an apartment in the 400 block of West College Avenue. After an approximately three-and-a-half-hour stand-off, police were able to take the man into custody with only minor injuries and no officers injured.

Mefford says in hindsight, it was a very tense and dangerous situation that jeopardized not only the safety of law enforcement but also the public, in general, had things not gone as smoothly as they did in the end.

It was a team effort by everybody on scene. We had an after-action review like we do with most critical incidents where we get together with all the parties involved. We talk about obviously what went well. We talk about things that we could do differently.

In most cases, there’s no wrong thing that was done. We’d rather use them as training moments to what we could do better next time. If you don’t do that then your responses stay stagnant. So in every critical incident, we review things that could have been done a little better.”

Mefford says it is fortunate that in this case a lot of things went right. He says that can be attributed to the continued training area departments conduct on a regular basis. “During our after action we discussed, were we properly prepared to handle something like this in Jacksonville, i.e., your stand-off with a potential armed individual. And when we went through our after-action, we determined that we had the proper equipment to handle that situation.

You know, we had some little things that we discussed, some communication issues when you have different agencies involved and things such as that. But all in all, we reevaluated our training, we reevaluated our equipment, and we determined that JPD is on the right track when it comes to being able to protect the community and also to bring a peaceful resolution to very tense, very unpredictable situations.”

Mefford says once they were able to determine the suspect was the only person inside the residence, they were able to slow everything down and work through different scenarios of how to bring the situation to an end.

He says that was especially important in a situation with a suspect who was at times showing aggression that included pointing his handgun out the window of the home in the direction of officers.

And to be able to maintain that position of cover, maintain that patience in that situation was key. I think wearing down an individual in that type of situation by not being the aggressor also helped us start to bring that situation to a close. Again, I can’t say enough about the training of the agencies that were involved, the equipment that the city, the mayor, the council have allowed me to purchase over the last few years have been priceless. But not just in this situation but all situations in general and we got to see a good display on our end of how those things would play out and how they would work.”

In all, about 25 officers from different agencies worked together to peacefully end the standoff. The suspect was taken into custody after tear gas was deployed and the JPD Special Response Team entered the residence. He was treated a the hospital for cuts from broken window glass and remains held at the Morgan County Jail pending his next appearance in court.

Mefford says recognition is deserved to not only the officers on scene but also those who kept the perimeter secure to keep the public safe, as well as West Central Joint Dispatch personnel and the rest of the support staff who worked behind the scenes to keep the public safe and bring the tense situation to a close.