Wichita Falls Police Department Sgt. Charlie Eipper told a rapt audience at the University Kiwanis Club noon luncheon today that he has been under fire several times during his career, but that the Lord has been watching over him and his fellow officers. Eipper made his presentation at Luby's Cafeteria today in Wichita Falls.
He said during 16 years of working on the SWAT team he's never been shot at, but things on the gang task force have been different as he has been shot at in that role on the streets of Wichita Falls more than once.
"I can remember two times I was shot at while working with the gang task force. On one occasion there were reports of three men firing gunshots in a neighborhood. They then ran into a house. Another officer and I entered the house searching for them. I'm in the attic, and I hear shooting from outside. The bullets were fired at us from an alley behind the attic. The officer with me got down and told me to do the same, but I was looking for the shooters. I got down too though after I saw the street lights shining through the bulletholes in the attic roof," Eipper said, smiling slightly as he recalled to the incident to a fascinated crowd of Kiwanians.
Eipper paused before recounting a second dangerous episode in which he was involved.
"We're chasing some guys in my Tahoe and they start shooting back at us, hitting my vehicle. It irritated me that I was driving so I couldn't return fire. I had to order the guys with me to return fire at the guys we were chasing," Eipper said, noting there is a dangerous side to serving the community in law enforcement.
He talked more about the SWAT team of which he's the leader.
"We have 50-60 operations a year on the SWAT team, and I've been doing that 16 years so you can do the math and estimate how many of these situations we've been involved in. Fortunately, there were only two times when we had to use deadly force during that entire time. Being a Christian I've had to resolve the issue of using deadly force based on the Scriptures," he further said.
He said he's researched the Bible regarding the use of deadly force and come to the conclusion that what he is doing is okay, saying, "It's part of my ministry."
Eipper said he has written a book entitled "Jesus Christ on Killing." His book deals with when it is appropriate to use deadly force as a law enforcement officer. He said he addresses the issues of deadly force, the death penalty and other significant issues in our criminal justice system in his book.
He said that although he has completed the manuscript he has yet to have his book published.
"If I don't find a publisher, I'll ultimately self-publish. I've had several people express interest in the book, and I've got some interviews lined up already to promote it," he said.
Prominent Wichita Falls dentist John Thornton asked Eipper what can be done about certain bars in the city which are the subject of at least one call a day to the police involving possible crimes. Before Eipper's speech, Thornton was presented the Charles Hixson Award, named after the founder of Kiwanis International. Thornton's wife Yvonne and son Josh were also present for that ceremony. The Hixson is for outstanding service to the community and particularly participating in events such as the Pancake Festival which support children's charities.
Eipper responded that the police co-ordinate with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in such situations.
"The TABC can ask that those clubs be closed down for 30 days," Eipper said.
Eipper was a star quarterback for Wichita Falls Hirschi High School and Midwestern State Unviversity before he entered the military and then the police force. While in the military he flew Huey helicopters which were patched up from damage suffered in the Vietnam War.
Wichita Falls is fortunate to have a leader like Chalie Eipper protecting the community as part of law enforcement. He has had an outstanding career.
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