Local law enforcement agencies implementing new measures to protect officers
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF) – The ambush killings of three Baton Rouge police officers and five Dallas cops have law enforcement across the nation including the Tennessee Valley taking different safety precautions to protect their officers
“Shot’s Fired. Officer Down. Shots Fired. Officer Down,” is the quote from a 911 caller in Baton Rouge that now has been heard by millions of people across the U.S. As a result of the recent killing of officers in Baton Rouge, which followed the ambush killing of officers in Dallas, many law enforcement agencies are ordering their officers to patrol in pairs. The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is now one of those agencies.
“Before, we always operated with one deputy and another who would be available to back him up. Now we’re operating with two deputies per vehicle and we’ll be doing that for the unforeseen future,” said BCSO Spokesperson Ed Ramsey.
In Hamilton County, Sheriff’s deputies have been told to check their surroundings when on patrol or while responding to calls. The Sheriff’s Office has also temporarily suspended the civilian ride-along program.
“Unfortunately we would love to have them in the vehicles and working with us and seeing what our officers do on a daily basis, but it is an added safety risk right now. We don’t want them to be put into a position where they can be harmed,” said HCSO Spokesperson Matt Lee.
In East Ridge, Police Chief J.R. Reed issued stern instructions to all his officers.
“Remember your training. That is a big key. Remember your training and be constantly aware of your surroundings,” Reed said.
In Cleveland, off duty police officers will be allowed to come in and work as back up to on-duty officers. Plus 911 dispatchers are being told to screen calls to make sure officers aren’t walking into an ambush.
“If you feel like something is not right about the call or how the call came in or the information you are getting, take extra time to slow down the response and make sure that you’re back up officers are close,” said Cleveland Police Chief Mark Gibson.
In the wake of the recent police killings involving high powered rifles, News 12 can confirm that there are agencies in the Tennessee Valley that are currently trying to obtain ballistic vests that would hold up to bullets fired from rifles.
Right now, the average vest worn by police is only good at slowing down bullets from handguns.
There are other measures that local law enforcement agencies are putting in place but those measures will not be disclosed to the public.