Special Report: Protecting Our Protectors

Special Report: Protecting Our Protectors

Police work is an inherently dangerous job, but more and more cops are being targeted for harm because they are officers.

Two New York city police officers were gunned down in an ambush last month, sending shock waves through the nation. Cops in every community, even Albany, Georgia, now have to stress the danger to themselves.

"We don't want them to be overly paranoid. But we do want them to be a little bit paranoid," said Albany Police Major Russell Barnes. "Because that helps to keep them on edge, keep them at the orange level of alert."

Even police officers in small communities like Leesburg have to be on guard, thinking that confident killers do not only threaten big city cops.

"I'm not going to say it won't happen, because things have happened before I never thought would happen in Leesburg," said Leesburg Police Chief Charles Moore.

Most cops fill out reports in their patrol cars, parked on their beat. Their attention is on their computer, so they tend to park where no one can come up behind them.

"Every now and then look up. Look in your rear view mirror. Look in your side mirrors. Crack your windows, use your hearing," Richard warned.

Officers are also being trained to stay on guard while on the road.

"We talk about leaving some space between yourself and the car in front of you when you are stopped. Things like that, so that if something comes up, you have some options to respond with," said Moore.

Veteran police worry that cops may not be ready in case of an attack, because of national criticism of use of force.

"They hesitate now before they make a decision. Sometimes you have to make a split second decision in law enforcement," said Moore. "And sometimes you wait too long on that decision, and it can cost you your life or someone else's life."

A hard job where the protectors are facing more threats themselves.

"We're still here. We're going to stand fast," Richard said.

South Georgia police say they are not going to run.

Copyright 2015 WALB. All rights reserved.