Caught on Camera: JPD officer faces potentially dangerous situat - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Caught on Camera: JPD officer faces potentially dangerous situation

He says some houses in north Jackson are prime targets because they're open and exposed instead of boarded up.    Source: WLBT He says some houses in north Jackson are prime targets because they're open and exposed instead of boarded up. Source: WLBT
As part of his job, Officer Robert Watts checks out abandoned houses.     Source: WLBT As part of his job, Officer Robert Watts checks out abandoned houses. Source: WLBT
Inside, he found an empty pack of cigarettes and a key fob that unlocked the doors of a car right next to the abandoned house.   Source: WLBT Inside, he found an empty pack of cigarettes and a key fob that unlocked the doors of a car right next to the abandoned house. Source: WLBT
Interim Chief Lee Vance says this kind of anti-law enforcement attitude is a perfect example of why community-involved policing is so important.    Source: WLBT Interim Chief Lee Vance says this kind of anti-law enforcement attitude is a perfect example of why community-involved policing is so important. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Our camera was rolling as a JPD officer found himself in  a potentially volatile situation with a possible person of interest Thursday. On any given shift, patrol officers with the Jackson Police Department patrol  neighborhoods, businesses and roadways.  

As part of his job, Officer Robert Watts checks out abandoned houses.  

"Let's say somebody starts squatting in there. They might put up a door or board it up and then leave the back door open to make us think that it's boarded up." Watts said. "I just make a mental note of how the house looks, and if I see anything changing, obviously somebody's been inside."  

He says some houses in north Jackson are prime targets because they're open and exposed instead of boarded up.  

"We look for food wrappers, cigarette butts, cigarette lighters, mattresses where they've been sleeping, clothes," Watts said. "They normally store stuff. [We] make sure they aren't storing stuff from other houses [that] they've stolen."  

That's what brought him to a house on Launcelot Street. Inside, he found an empty pack of cigarettes and a key fob that unlocked the doors of a car right next to the abandoned house.   The man who answered the house next door says that's his vehicle.  

"My keys were stolen by some guys," the man said.  

He refused to give his name or driver's license to the officer.  

"What's your name? How old are you?" Watts asked.  

"I don't want to talk to the police," the man answered.  

The man acted surprised when Watts told him the key fob was found next door. After a few minutes, the man became irate and cursed at the officer several times.  

"Give me your license and I'll give your keys back," Watts said.  

"You better give me my (expletive) keys back, (expletive)," the man responded.  

After Watts called for backup, other officers arrived to neutralize the situation.  

Interim Chief Lee Vance says this kind of anti-law enforcement attitude is a perfect example of why community-involved policing is so important.  

"You got a chance to see firsthand just how quickly these things can escalate," Vance said, referring to the situation between the unidentified man and Officer Watts.

"That's why our officers have to receive the best training, the best support that we can offer them, so that they will be equipped to make those decisions that sometimes have to be made in a  split-second."  

Paperwork brought to the house proved that vehicle belonged to the man on Launcelot Street.  No charges were filed.   Watts said it's difficult to make crimes associated with abandoned houses stick because the home's owner has to be contacted first.

Copyright 2014 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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