Non-Lethal Force Used in Sublett Standoff

By: Ashley Davidson
By: Ashley Davidson

The end of the three-day standoff with Russell Sublett was everything the officers working hoped for.

Trooper Todd Holder, with Kentucky State Police, says, "it went perfectly and we couldn't have asked for a better outcome. Trooperwise- none of them are hurt, ATF agentwise- walked away with no injuries there, and minimal injuries to Mr. Sublett. So we couldn't have asked for a better scenario."

The use of non-lethal force was key in this standoff. From the beginning, Kentucky State Police said they wanted to have a peaceful ending to the standoff. In life or death situations they have to choose whether to use lethal or non-lethal force.

Holder says, "In this circumstance, what we had was a subject who was barricaded. He had no hostages at all and was not really posing a threat to the Kentucky State Police troopers or ATF agents at that time."

So that allowed them to use other methods, such as robots, K9 units and night vision.

Holder says, "The robot is a multiple purpose robot. Some have the ability to communicate one-way some have two-way communications, some of them have cameras on them."

Trooper Holder says robots are easier to use in these situations because they can be repaired if they are shot at or damaged, and troopers don't have to risk their lives. He also says in a standoff situation like Sublett's they always try to get inside the suspects head to learn how to handle future incidents. Most importantly Holder says using lethal force is a last alternative.

Holder says, "If we do have another option we'll try to take it. The last thing any of us want to do is take someone else's life."

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