With the recent police shootings—one in Dallas killing five officers, and one in Baton Rouge killing three—local law enforcement has started to implement slight changes to protocol to ensure officer safety.
“We’ve told our deputies to be extra vigilant when they’re out there. Keep aware of your surroundings,” Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant said. “You have to be on your toes more than ever now. It’s not just when making a traffic stop or going to a home for a domestic disturbance call, it’s everywhere and it’s everthing.”
The Fort Worth Police Department is now having all officers double up when out patrolling the streets, but as of now, the sheriff’s office has not implemented that change due to the amount of manpower for the county.
“We don’t have enough people to double up deputies in a patrol vehicle. We don’t have that luxury,” Bryant said.
As far as the Stephenville Police Department, Chief Jason King would not disclose specific details on changes but did say there have been some.
“I have not paired them up, but we have made some changes in our response protocol,” he said. “This is to enhance officer safety, but it’s not anything that would be noticed necessarily by our citizens or create a longer wait time when calling the department. I have communicated with the department on changes and discussed awareness and alertness.”
In a previous interview, King told the E-T that the community has always shown great support for local law enforcement, but even still, safety precautions must be taken in the wake of the shootings that hit fairly close to home.
Bryant touched on the difficulty of being cautious, but not overly cautious in situations.
“You can’t let your guard down an inch anymore,” Bryant said. “On the other hand we have to make sure that we let them know that even though you have to be more careful, you can’t overreact because if you do you could put yourself in danger.”