With social media at the fingertips of most area residents, the number of opinions voiced about the standoff last week on Broadway Street quickly outnumbered the number of antelope in the Bighorns.
A small, but vocal number of individuals advocated how Sheridan police should start breaking down the doors and rush in, guns blazing. Most people appreciated the Sheridan Police Department’s willingness to consider the lives at risk. As the incident entered its third day though, more individuals became restless and more advocated a swift end to the standoff. Lucky for Sheridan, law enforcement’s patience outlasted the impatience of online naysayers.
While law enforcement agencies and officers across the country face criticism for acting too quickly and too impulsively, Sheridan law enforcement endured criticism for measured resolve. How ironic. Situations like the one last week are not precise like a cops-related TV show where a story line is neatly wrapped up in 60 minutes. Here, we had 60 hours during a busy Labor Day weekend with ongoing rodeo and tourism events juxtaposed with real-life, Special Response Team involvement and crisis negotiators working toward a peaceful resolution.
Once the event ended, however, all praise went to SPD and those who assisted. No one at that point said he had wished guns had been blazing. No one could refute that SPD’s tactics worked. Oh how quickly the tides of public opinion turn.
The law enforcement officers who stood by patiently, putting trust in the overall plan, didn’t want to be there anymore than the business owners wanted to be closed and residents wanted to be displaced from their homes.
Law enforcement’s reasoned approach to what could only be defined as a deadly situation is admirable. Their willingness to put life above inconvenience and above public pressure could not have been easy. Kudos are deserved. While law enforcement officers rarely take a curtain call, an ovation has been earned.