Police departments across the country took steps Friday to protect their officers after shootings in Dallas Thursday left five police officers dead and seven wounded.
New York Police Department increased security at precincts across the city and directed that patrolling be done in pairs rather than by individual officers, said Officer Brian Magoolaghan, a department spokesman. A memorandum issued to New York police early Friday urged officers to “maintain a heightened level of awareness” and stay vigilant, Magoolaghan said.
Police in the nation’s capital also bolstered security around police stations and began patrolling in teams of two, said Dustin Sternbeck, director of communications.
A host of city police departments across the country directed their officers to patrol in pairs while on foot or in cars for greater security. According to police and media reports, those cities included Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, Las Vegas and Cleveland. Identical steps were taken by law enforcement in the Los Angeles area at the county Sheriff’s Department and the Glendale police.
Amid the rising police tensions, two officers were shot and wounded Friday in separate incidents, One occurred in Ballwin, Mo., outside St. Louis where an officer was shot three times in the neck during a traffic stop. The other was in Valdosta, Ga., where an officer came under fire responding to a report of damaged property at an apartment complex.
Law enforcement officials in Tennessee say a man shooting randomly at people early Thursday at a Days Inn hotel in Bristol and at vehicles driving along Volunteer Parkway may have been motivated by anger over police shootings of blacks. One driver was killed and three others, including a police officer, were wounded in the shootings, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The suspect, Lakeem Keon Scott, 37, was shot and wounded by police during a gunfight and transported in custody to a hospital.
Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes issued a bulletin to his officers, urging them to “stay safe.” He reminded them that the “overwhelmingly majority” of the community supports them.
“As we reflect on the events around the country and Dallas in particular, let us not forget what our families fear on a daily basis,” Llanes said in the bulletin. “Hug your family members a little tighter.”
The head of the police union in Seattle, Ron Smith, speaking on KIRO Radio, advised his fellow officers to “keep your head on a swivel.”
The police chief of Burlington, Vt., Brandon del Pozo, told the Burlington Free Press that when he woke up Friday morning to news of the Dallas shootings, “I was literally shaking. It was beyond words.”
He also directed his officers to conduct foot patrols in pairs until the threat of copycat killings passed.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown told reporters Friday the sniper involved in the shootings had spoken with a crisis negotiator before being killed during a stand-off Thursday night and confessed to wanting to “kill white people, especially white officers.”
Source: USA Today | Gregg Zoroya