Local Law Enforcement Weighs In

By: Stephanie Baker Email
By: Stephanie Baker Email

One of the lead investigators is Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum. A local officer went to training school with Chief Flinchum and has some insight on the big question: were they ready?

They're both part of the elite one percent across the country to train with the FBI National Academy.

Lieutenant Mark Farmer with the Aiken Department of Public Safety says he and the chief learned side-by-side how to handle attacks of this magnitude.

It’s a small-town campus police department handling the worst school shooting in US history, from the initial killing spree, to the ongoing investigation.

"He’s a good professional officer, he does a great job, and he's doing the best he can," says Farmer.

Farmer also went to the FBI National Academy. He says that training is helping Chief Flinchum lead the investigation. But, he also says nothing could have prepared him for Monday’s mass-murder.

"We take all the precautions we can. But when you have an individual that's willing to take his own life...there's very little you can do to stop it,” says Farmer.

Still, there are questions about whether Cho Seung Hui's recent behavior could have predicted the crime and if police could have stopped his second round.

But, Farmer says the chief did the best he could with the information he had.

"Unless you know the totality of the circumstances, you really can't play armchair quarterback and say the police did this or that."

Now, Farmer and his classmates from the Academy are flooding their website with words of encouragement and praise for using their training to respond to a shooting that left almost three dozen dead.

"I can't even put myself in his shoes. I hope to god I never have to," says Farmer.

Farmer says many of his classmates have emailed the chief to find out how he's holding up, but so far they haven't heard anything back.

Another officer from this area knows Wendell Flinchum. Jasper Cooke, the Director of Public Safety at Augusta State, also knows him.


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