Sheriff defends officer's decision not to shoot murder suspect
Clearwater County Sheriff Darin Halverson is under fire after one of the officers who responded to a murder in rural Bagley last week did not use his gun, and then witnessed a murder unfold in front of him.
BAGLEY, Minn. — Clearwater County Sheriff Darin Halverson says he's received at least two dozens messages with the same question.
"Ask me if the officers were just standing around watching somebody murder somebody else, and that was very disheartening to hear that some people would actually think that," explained Halverson.
That's why he took the time to write to the community Monday, defending the officer's decision saying he did everything right in this situation.
"Remind people of the split second decisions that officers have to make all the time," commented Halverson.
The sheriff says the main point to understand, Officer Ken Olson was totally unaware that 27-year-old Christopher Colgrove had a knife until he pulled it out and stabbed 53-year-old Dawn Swenson. He claims he did as he was trained: used non-lethal force first by using his taser, which did not work. Police suspect that was because Colgrove was high on a substance.
Sheriff Halverson says if Officer Olson knew Colgrove had a knife, then maybe he would have pulled out his gun. However, he said there was still another split second decision to consider.
"The victim was right in between the subject and the officer, and that also would have created problems if the officer would have used his service weapon," explained Halverson.
Sheriff Halverson also wants to make it known to the public that at no point did Officer Olson think twice about using his gun because of the protests going on across the country.
"A little bit of a shock to hear the opposite, a lot of people wanting to know why it wasn't used. I understand that as well," said Halverson.
The sheriff says Officer Olson, who has been a cop for about two years, is holding up well and did not take any time off.
It's believed his body camera captured the events as they unfolded.