Benton Harbor Police Chief speaks after two officers were wounded in shooting

NOW: Benton Harbor Police Chief speaks after two officers were wounded in shooting

BENTON HARBOR, Mi. -- Two Benton Harbor police officers were shot Thursday night, after wanted suspect Dustin Levell Saffell immediately opened fire on Sgt. Reginald Gee and officer Blake Kinzler. 

Saffell was killed when they returned fire.

Gee and Kinzler were sent to the hospital; Kinzler was treated and released, but Gee was still recovering at Lakeland. 

“I’ve been here twenty-three years. The last time this happened was before my tenure," said Chief Dan McGinnis, the Director of Public Safety for Benton Harbor. 

Already short six officers-- now with two on paid medical leave-- McGinnis worried about the future: "There’s been a proliferation of gun violence, not just here but across the country as a whole—so it does make me worried, moving into the summer.”

But he said that even with the staffing shortages made worse by the shooting, his other officers are doing everything they can to protect the city. 

“We improvise, adapt and overcome," said McGinnis. "We’ve adopted that mantra. My guys have rose to the occasion, they’ve taken extra shifts, working a little longer, filling in some gaps where need be.”

And the deadly confrontation may even spur positive changes.

“I'm seeing people now stepping up, saying ‘you know what, enough is enough, what can we do to help our community?'" McGinnis said. "That’s also happening.”

Despite the challenges facing the department-- and the city-- he believes they will be able to keep the community safe this summer. 

“We’re Benton Harbor. We just do what we do. We improvise, adapt and overcome," he said. 

McGinnis added that they will also have some extra support from the Berrien County Sheriff's Department as well as the Michigan State Police to help, as needed, in the Summer months. 


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