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Mark Rivera

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Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.

Departments : Shots Fired

Shots Fired: Ogden, Utah 05-26-2006

Sgt. Troy Burnett was having a bad day, and it got worse when a young state trooper pulled over an ex-con white supremacist.

August 01, 2008  |  by - Also by this author

Post Mortem

Maw's actions—while self-destructive—were perhaps predictable in retrospect. Facing federal indictment and possible life in prison, Maw knew where his life was headed.

Asked about Maw's desire to close the door, Burnett believes the man was either angling to ditch the gun, or put the car in drive and take off.

"He actually had a baggie of meth in his pocket," Burnett says. "He was probably spun up a little bit, but he wasn't tweaking like a normal methhead bouncing all over the place. He wasn't that bad."

Burnett reflects that his agency's scenario-based range training helped.

"Maybe a month before this, we did our qualification and this kind of scenario was played out in live fire training where we had to quickly draw and fire at close range. It wasn't quite identical, but it was close. We were simulating taking down information and then all of a sudden had to drop it and fire quickly. I absolutely believe my training played a factor in this situation. I was always confident in my close range shooting ability, and the ammo I'm absolutely pleased with. It did its job."

Burnett, like most cops who have been in a shooting, is willing to analyze what went right and what went wrong during the incident.

"When I critiqued myself on this situation, I wish I had called over Turley at an earlier point. I think I gave Billy a lot of time to plan by having him sit in the car. If we had dealt with him sooner, he wouldn't have had an opportunity to plan or go after the gun.

"If I could change things, I would probably have dealt with Billy before dealing with the woman and not given him a chance to formulate a plan," he says. "Maw had a long time to figure out what he was going to do. I really feel like that was what he was doing sitting in his car. He knew especially if he got caught with a gun, that was another federal hit; he would never see the light of day."

In retrospect, Burnett also believes that Maw's reaction to dropping his wallet was a red flag. Maw's physical response to the act was so inordinate as to suggest that the man probably thought that he'd dropped his firearm from his waist.

Finally, Burnett has promised himself not to make anymore "rash decisions."

At least, not when it comes to wearing his vest.

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