MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — As police continue their investigation into the shooting death of Florida State Trooper Joseph Bullock in Martin County, one local law enforcement officer believes Bullock handled the situation with caution, and did things by the book.
John Kazanjian is the president of the both the Palm Beach, and statewide chapter of the Police Benevolent Association, which represents deputies and officers.
“The most dangerous encounter you can have is a traffic stop,” said Kazanjian, who worked most of his career with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
At a news conference in the wake of Wednesday’s shooting on I-95, Florida Highway Patrol Commander Gene Spaulding says the tragedy shows the challenge law enforcement officers face in dangerous times.
“You always have to be prepared,” Spaulding told reporters. “You have to balance that fine line between rendering assistance, yet protecting yourself and the community.”
Kazanjian showed WPTV NewsChannel 5 how training and the approach to law enforcement has changed in recent years.
“You want to keep your eye on the back of the vehicle,” said Kazanjian, who says in traffic stops, officers and deputies now approach drivers from the passenger’s side. “For traffic reasons, this and that, plus you get a bird’s eye view through these windows here, you can see what’s going on with the driver.”
Kazanjian believes that from the traffic stop to the shooting, Bullock approached the disabled vehicle in Martin County by the book and with caution.
That still didn’t protect him from the vulnerability of an ambush.