Five officers were killed and seven were wounded Thursday night in Dallas by at least one gunman. Then Friday morning, a Ballwin police officer was shot during a traffic stop. The officer is in critical but stable condition. Antonio Taylor, 31, has been charged in connection with shooting the Ballwin officer. Other incidents of police being shot have happened elsewhere in the U.S. Friday.
Jeff Roorda with the St. Louis Police Officers Association says the Dallas shooting has prompted St. Louis Police to work in pairs and wear protective vests until further notice during all response calls.
“There’s always a second officer there watching the responding officer’s back,” said Roorda. “They put an order out to commanders to redouble their efforts to make guys go out with their bulletproof vests on, which is the policy anyways but sometimes it gets a little lax.”
Roorda thinks similar policies should be adopted statewide.
“I think it’s time for politicians to put their money where their mouth is. Not only does this keep police officers safer, it makes them perform their job better. Two heads are better than one,” said Roorda.
Roorda thinks police will continue to be targeted.
“It’s more dangerous than ever. There is open hostility towards law enforcement,” said Roorda. “There is hate speech being uttered every day about law enforcement, some of it coming from the highest levels of our government. A lot of it is being fomented by the media. It’s a tough job that’s getting tougher every day and it was really tough last night.”
Roorda says every bad or questionable police incident is analyzed.
“There is no such thing as a missed opportunity for law enforcement in this country,” said Roorda. “We learn from our experiences.”
Roorda says law enforcement has been “irresponsibly demonized” over the past two years and he hopes the public will begin to view officers no different from everyone else.
The shootings of police this week followed the fatal shootings by police of two men – one in St. Paul, Minnesota on Wednesday, and one in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tuesday.