For those cop critics out there who imagine police incidents happen in slow motion and that cops have all kinds of time to decide how to respond to rapidly-changing situations, I invite you to look at a video the Napa County Sheriff’s Office just released. You know all those You should have and You could have or Why didn’t you types who think cops should be perfect—always?
Well, sheriff’s Deputy Riley Jarecki was pretty darned perfect recently. The deputy observed a suspicious male, later identified as Javier Hernandez Morales, 43 years old, parked along a rural road near Napa, California. She stopped to investigate.
Deputy Jarecki first spoke to Morales through his front passenger window. As the video begins, she asks Morales if she could “look around to make sure…” (the video does not contain the preceeding sentence). He says she can. She tells him not to move and walks around to the driver’s side.
She asks the man to roll down the window, but he hesitates. After a few seconds, Morales rolls down the window, whips out a revolver, and fires point blank at Deputy Jarecki. Fortunately, he misses her.
Deputy Jarecki tactically retreats, calls “shots fired” on her radio as she moves behind the vehicle, and then repositions to engage the suspect, returning fire. Calm and collected, she stands and fires multiple times into the vehicle, eliminating the threat—to her, her fellow officers, her community, and anyone else in this life.
Now, while her actions were outstanding, the thing I think people (especially cop critics) should focus on is just how damned fast this all happened. Napa County Undersheriff Jon Crawford described the events: “It’s graphic, it’s brutal, it’s sudden.” So sudden.
Deputy Jarecki comes from a family of three generations of police officers. Her grandfather is retired from the Napa Police Department, and her father is a sergeant with the sheriff’s department. Napa County Sheriff John Robertson told KTVU, “We are extremely proud of her, she did a great job, her dad’s very proud of her.” We all should be.