Eugene Police Criticized by Therapist of Suicidal Veteran They Killed

Eugene police are taking steps to working with people who previously served in the armed forces as the Interagency Deadly Force Investigation Team continues to look into an officer involved shooting that ended in the death of a veteran named Brian Babb.

Babb was shot and killed by the Eugene Police Department after he reportedly pointed a gun towards an officer.

Wednesday, Babb’s therapist Becky Higgins published an editorial saying “City officials need to take steps to ensure this kind of thing can’t happen again.”

Now, EPD chief Pete Kerns is responding.

While investigators are looking into whether or not the shooting was justified, the department is acting now to take steps towards working with veterans.

Kerns said some of the steps they’ll take include police training taught by members of the vet center. They’ll work on learning to engage with the local military community.

Mark Gissiner, Eugene Police auditor, is also being appointed as a member of the shooting review board.

“I could still make a recommendation whether I think that the officer violated policy, it’s just not part of the vote in the use of force review board,” Gissiner said.

He said no matter the outcome, he will recommend a civilian review board for public input.

“I’m hopeful there will be steps that try to ensure it doesn’t happen again, but there are always volatile situations that occur. There’s always split second decisions that have to be made,” he said.

Kerns said as the department learns more, if there are any takeaways or learning points, they will welcome them.

“There’ll be a number of learning experiences as there as there always are in the rare instances in which there’s an officer involved shooting in this region,” Gissiner said.

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