Local News

Deputy's Shooting Death Prompts Sheriff to Review Bulletproof Vest Policy

Posted April 30, 2003 2:11 a.m. EDT

— The Randolph County Sheriff's office will review whether bulletproof vests should remain optional for officers after the fatal shooting of a deputy over the weekend.

Sheriff Litchard Hurley originally said his officers were "encouraged" to wear vests. But that policy could change after the shooting death of Deputy Toney Summey on Sunday.

"I don't know of anything (the officers) could have done any different," Hurley said. "Believe me. I've asked myself several times since (Sunday) night if there's anything we could have done different as far as training."

Many officers say there's no such thing as a "routine" call anymore and that they need to always expect the unexpected. They also know that all the training there is doesn't necessarily prevent incidents like Sunday's, and all they can do is be as careful as they can.

Another deputy, Nathan Hollingsworth, was wounded in Sunday's shooting, which occurred when the officers tried to serve a man with arrest warrants for domestic abuse and worthless checks.

Authorities said Alexander Charles Polke, 36, of Franklinville, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting. He was denied bond Monday and will be transferred to Central Prison in Raleigh.

Authorities said Polke managed to get Summey's gun from him during a scuffle and shot Summey, who died at the scene. Preliminary autopsy results show that Summey, 41, was shot once in the neck and twice in the abdomen.

Polke then allegedly shot Hollingsworth in the arm before surrendering to authorities.

Hurley said Hollingsworth was wearing a bulletproof vest, but Summey was not.

Few sheriff's offices in the area require officers to wear bulletproof vests.

Rockingham County adopted such a policy in 2001. Davidson County has required officers to wear vests since 1994, but Capt. Chris Coble said officers are allowed to work without vests when temperatures exceed 85 degrees.