CSU Police Chief Letter to Campus About Grand Jury Review of Campus Shooting

Dear CSU students, faculty and staff,

As you may have heard, the District Attorney yesterday presented to a grand jury all the issues surrounding the shooting that occurred on our campus in March 2014. The District Attorney said last evening that she would follow the grand jury’s recommendation that no further investigation was needed, a decision that validated the actions of our officer on campus that day.

The Columbus State University Police Department is appreciative of the District Attorney’s review of this matter. We were confident in our officer's actions on the day of the incident, and our confidence did not waver. We were pleased to have that confidence validated by the grand jury.

This decision should underscore the lesson from this situation: if anyone brings a loaded gun onto a college campus, creates a sense of alarm by displaying it, refuses to drop it when ordered by the police, flees from police while still carrying the gun, and endangers the safety of hundreds of students, the police have a responsibility to use whatever force is necessary to eliminate the threat.

In this case, we followed our training – and the law. We will use all appropriate force, including deadly force, to protect our students, faculty, and staff.

We support the need for external review on any incident that involves loss of life, which is why we contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation immediately after this incident. The GBI's response and follow-up investigation was expeditious and thorough. The results of their inquiry, to include crime lab analysis, were presented to the District Attorney in August 2014.

We truly understand community sensitivities to officer-involved shootings. We feel a crucial step in restoring and preserving much-needed trust in our law enforcement system is to conduct open, transparent and timely reviews. This way, the public's right to know is satisfied and due process is provided to all parties involved, including the police officer being scrutinized.

Without timely reviews, the confidence to do a dangerous job is eroded and questions linger among the public AND law enforcement officers. Such uneasiness can seriously impact a police department's ability to proactively protect the community they serve.

The Columbus State University Police Department extends its sympathies to the families involved and we appreciate the continued support of our community.

Sincerely,

Rus Drew
Chief, Columbus State University Police