Right call

Law enforcement officials were ‘on the money’ in recent manhunt

A mericans are used to a certain amount of ‘Monday morning quarterbacking.’ The phrase refers to how clear everything looks in retrospect on Monday morning after the football games of Sunday afternoon.

There has been, unfortunately, a little Monday morning quarterbacking going on in regards to the all-out manhunt earlier this month in a remote part of east central Milam County, just east of Rockdale.

Authorities were called to a rural site to check out a report of a suspicious man who told passers-by he was in trouble and was trying to get a ride to Austin.

When the man was approached by officers he fled.

The previous day a convicted killer named Trent Archie had escaped from the Walker County Jail (Huntsville). His description, of course, had been circulated statewide.

Photos of Archie were shown to witnesses. They were inconclusive. Witnesses couldn’t say for sure the fugitive was Archie, or was not.

At this point assistance from the state was called in, including a helicopter, horseback teams, search dogs and lots more personnel.

After many hours of searching, the fleeing suspect was apprehended. He was not Archie. During the Milam County search, Archie was caught after a brief chase in Houston.

There’s no way the situation could have been handled any differently. Law enforcement must err on the side of caution and public safety. And that’s every single time.

What would the Monday morning quarterbacks have done differently, yelled “stop unless you’re not a convicted killer” as the suspect fled into the woods?

Look at it this way. Which would you prefer, a massive manhunt without a killer loose in the Milam County woods or no action taken with a killer loose in the Milam County woods?

Sure it was the former this time. But some day it may be the latter.

Good job law enforcement.—M.B.

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2011-07-14 digital edition

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