Local law enforcement increasing awareness after shootings - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Local law enforcement increasing awareness after shootings

CORDELE, GA (WALB) - Tragic shootings involving police officers over the weekend have led to a heightened sense of awareness for all law enforcers. One South Georgia Sheriff is reminding his deputies to be aware anytime they're sitting in their patrol cars.

Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock says officers must always be aware of what's going on around them, no matter how safe they feel.

Isaiah Walker has been a sheriff's deputy for two years now, and he knows that being aware is the best way to be.

"You've got to constantly be thinking about your surroundings, what you're doing and neighborhoods you may be in. There's no safe place for us to be sitting doing a report or anything," said Crisp County Deputy Isaiah Walker.

That lesson was hammered home when two officers were shot and killed in New York City and another in Florida over the weekend.

"Our awareness is certainly heightened, would be a good way to put it," said Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock.

Whether someone walks up to the driver side of the patrol car or the passenger side of the patrol car, Sheriff Hancock wants his deputies to be aware.

"Sometimes they're writing a report or they're putting in information, and we're just saying hey, make sure you're aware of your surroundings and what's happening while you're out there on patrol," said Sheriff Hancock.

Sheriff Hancock says the number of officers killed by gunfire has increased nearly 60 percent in the last year. He says law enforcers should be on their toes all the time.

"They've all been trained. Everybody has been trained to be aware of their surroundings and what's taking place. After a few years and nothing happens that complacency sets in," said Hancock.

The sheriff would be pleased that complacency hasn't set in on his deputies.

"I will do my report, but at the same time I'm still constantly looking, checking my mirrors," said Walker.

Practices that could save his life.

Sheriff Hancock says with the increased tension between law enforcement and civilians, it's important to try to know the mindset of anyone they may approach.

Copyright 2014 WALB. All rights reserved.

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