Madison police officer shares story of prior officer involved sh - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Madison police officer shares story of prior officer involved shooting

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Madison (WKOW)-- The Madison Police Department has experienced five officer involved shootings over the last 19 months. Officials say each incident has a unique set of circumstances attached to it, but all five have been emotional experiences for the department. The incidents are certainly hard on family members and friends. However, officials say the officers involved in the shooting also experience physical and emotional anguish.

"Once this has happened to you, you're a suspect. They isolate you. They talk to you just like we would talk to anybody else who is involved with a death investigation," Madison Police Lt. Dave McCaw says.

August 28th, 2001 is a date that is emblazoned on Lt. McCaw's memory. It was the day he took a man's life after a several-hour standoff in the Comfort Inn and Suites on Madison's West side. The man had robbed two banks and had locked himself in his hotel room. Police had contact with the man for several hours and tried to convince him to leave the room. Officers eventually lost communication with the man and decided to check on him. Once inside the room officers say the man pointed a pellet gun at officers. That's when McCaw and a colleague made the life-changing decision to open fire.

"I've replayed that moment thousands of times in my head. In the first 24 hours I had probably already been through it a hundred times," McCaw says.

"It was just nonstop. Everything just starts to spiral out of control, your health, you don't feel like eating. The nausea of being up all the time or waking up all the time is very difficult."

McCaw says all officers are given access to physicians and psychiatrists to help them through the mental wounds that come after taking a person's life. They also get an extended period of time off so they can recover and communicate with their families, because when news of the shooting becomes public knowledge family members are brought into the situation as well.

"Unfortunately for my kids they were younger and kids can be a little bit brutal and repeating what their parents say. So, some people not supportive of it voiced their strong opinions and then that got to my kids ears."

Despite all of the support, McCaw says it's "time" that truly heals all. Once investigators determine if the shooting was justified you can begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually the public's eye moves on and forgets about the shooting.

Watch the video above for a WKOW Web Exclusive Full Length Interview with Lt. Dave McCaw.

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