KILLEEN, TX — The Killeen PD officer who shot and killed 52-year-old Patrick Lynn Warren, Sr. after a psychiatric 911 call has been moved from administrative leave to administrative duty.
Officer Reynaldo Contreras, a five-year veteran of the department, was placed on administrative leave after the January 10 shooting.
Police officers are typically placed on administrative leave following a shooting and not allowed to return to work until taken off leave. Administrative duty means an officer can return to work but is not allowed back on patrol.
While Contreras is not back on the streets, some citizens are still weary.
“They’re putting the cop back out there. They haven’t made any significant changes at all. They haven’t done anything to make me feel safer,” said Deezil Greezil.
Some feel bringing the officer back is disrespectful to the family and shows a lack of concern for mental health issues. On the other hand, others see no problem with Contreras returning to work as long as he has no contact with the public.
“I don’t believe he woke up wanting to take anybody’s life. No officer wants to have to do that. I think that he is also suffering mentally, emotionally, all of that,” said Shekeya McCallister.
Criminal Justice Expert and former police investigator Dr. Tammy Bracewell says putting an officer on administrative duty after a leave period is standard procedure.
“Some place's administrative leave is 30 days, some places it’s 90 days, some places it is out the duration of the investigation,” explained the now Texas A&M University-Central Texas assistant professor of criminal justice.
Locals believe Killeen PD should focus on getting more resource officers and improving their crisis intervention skills.
“As a person that also suffers from PTSD, in the event I need help and my family doesn’t know how to help me and they call 911, they won’t help. I don’t feel safe that the right person is going to show up,” said Greezil.
“With new recruits, they should have them be trained to be able to provide that type of trophy. One officer in the area should not be utilized for an area with such a large population,” said McCallister.
Killeen PD Public Information Officer Ofelia Miramontez say Contreras will remain on administrative duty until the end of the investigation. Dr. Bracewell says civil service agencies have up to 180 days to complete the investigation.
As to why Contreras is back to work in the middle of the investigation, Miramontez says the process of having an officer return to duty is handled on a "case-by-case basis."
Since the shooting, the Warren family has called for Contreras' termination and arrest.
Lee Merritt, attorney for the Warren family, issued the following statement.
"It’s very unfortunate that Texas is mishandling a statewide mental health crisis and brutalizing the most vulnerable among us. Furthermore, to allow the officer to go back on duty is a slap in the face to this family.
We will be filing a lawsuit after the case is presented to GJ and the US DOJ opens an investigation. We won’t know everyone we will include in the suit until after the completion of a thorough criminal investigation."
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