RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — For the second time in less than two weeks, a North Carolina deputy was shot while delivering papers to a home.
A Caswell County deputy was shot multiple times while delivering a domestic violence protection order Wednesday.
Last week, three Wayne County deputies were shot while delivering an involuntary commitment order; Sgt. Matthew Fishman was killed.
Serving papers is a frequent assignment for deputies, and Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said it comes with a risk.
“You’ve approached the residence, you’re knocking on the door, and you’ve got this process that you’re seeking to serve and you don’t know what’s on the other side, you don’t know what a person’s thinking,” Baker said.
According to a spokesperson for the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, the department served 34,633 civil papers in 2021, and 26,039 civil papers so far this year.
“Today it’s probably the most dangerous assignment inside of this agency, the sheriff’s office,” Baker said.
Last June, Wake County Sgt. Ronald Waller was shot twice while executing an eviction notice. He was in the hospital for more than a month.
“It was a really bad situation on that day, but he’s determined to get back to work,” Baker said.
He said Waller is doing well. Baker said the department did not change any policies in light of the shooting, but immediately reviewed the process of serving papers.
“We tell our deputies, hey, if you feel like something’s not good here then don’t be afraid to back away, let’s call let’s get some support out there so we could deal with the situation because we don’t know,” Baker said.
Chenita Rountree works in the mental health field as an outpatient team leader at UNC REX hospital. CBS 17 asked her if she sees another way involuntary commitment papers could be served.
“We don’t know the emotional state of people and what they’re going through, and I don’t know of another way that we can do it, you know, because if people are being served in their home who knows what they have behind those closed doors,” she said. “And it’s unfortunate that law enforcement is the first line of defense that we have to go serve those petitions, I don’t know of another way it could be done.”
Baker said his office served more than 1,400 involuntary commitment orders last year.