SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio – The dangers of police work - especially in domestic violence situations - hit close to home for Chief Robert Browder and his Springfield Township officers last weekend.
They not only had to come to grips with the killing of two officers in Westerville, Ohio, Springfield Township officers also had to deal with a fatal domestic violence call that put them at risk as well.
Browder himself has close ties to Westerville Chief Joe Morbitzer and felt a personal sorrow in the shootings there Saturday.
“Friday afternoon, ironically, I was in Columbus speaking at a graduation ceremony for a leadership program in Ohio,” Browder told WCPO. He was meeting with Morbitzer, with whom he’s served on a board for years.
“He’s a great leader. He’s a great policeman,” Browder said of Morbitzer. “He volunteers himself to teach younger officers, younger chiefs. “I just can’t imagine what he must be going through right now.”
Browder returned from Columbus Friday night to a fatal domestic violence incident. Springfield Township officers answering a call on Tag Drive found Kaneesha Moore, 21, with multiple gunshot wounds.
That sent Browder’s officers searching for the suspect with canine Paco, who was shot by a suspect in 2016.
“Canine officers are in the worst of the worst situations,” Browder said. “Friday night our canine officer was tracking a murder suspect because the canine track located that individual.”
When Browder’s officers found the suspect, they watched him shoot himself in the head. Though none of his officers was injured, they had to take the images from two shooting scenes home with them, and that takes an emotional toll.
“There are so many things that police officers see in a day that most people don’t realize,” Browder said.
The suspect, still not named pending charges, is recovering at the hospital.
Springfield Township officers woke up the next morning to learn that a domestic incident an hour and a half away ended tragically for Westerviile officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli.
“It’s happening every day,” Browder said. “With this line of work, you have to realize that these things unfortunately can and do happen.”
Browder has reached out to Westerville’s chief and, like many local agencies, will send officers there for the funerals.