Local police officials react to last night's shooting that killed five police officers in Dallas, Texas. One suspect is dead, three others in custody for what police are calling a well-planned attack. The dead suspect, identified as 25-year-old Micah Johnson, engaged in a long gun battle with police. After hours of negotiation, he was killed by a robot-delivered police bomb. A law enforcement source says that the shooting suspect had a semi-automatic assault rifle and a handgun.
A recent story by the Associated Press shows the U.S. flag was flown at half-staff last year nearly every day, somewhere in the country, because of some type of tragedy. Law enforcement members say so far this year, tension and violence nationwide between police and some members of the public has reached a new level of significance.
"Several months ago, we sent out an e-mail basically saying if an officer takes a break, or they pull over in a lot to type a report or something, they need to have another officer with them. While they are concentrating on one thing, to have another there as an overwatch," says Joplin Police Chief Matt Stewart.
The shooting in Dallas may change how police are taught to patrol.
"It's going to have a national impact. It definitely will," says Carthage Police Chief Greg Dagnan, who is also a criminal justice instructor at Missouri Southern.
Dagnan says if such a shooting can happen in Dallas, it can happen anywhere. Dagnan says Dallas police are considered role models to the rest of the country for establishing relationships with community members of all races.
"To think about an organized attack, just trying to shoot law enforcement officers who are doing nothing more than standing around, it's something that in my career has never happened," says Dagnan.
But now that it has happened, Dagnan says police officers across the country may be taught to limit their presence when there's not a crime.
"It's all about high visibility," says Dagnan.
Police say their high visibility can prevent crime.
"I'm thinking, well, it's because of that high visibility that those officers were such easy targets," says Dagnan.
Local police say there needs to be a change of thinking to truly prevent more shootings.
"Everybody has a purpose in life, and until everybody in our community and in our nation starts thinking that way and respecting the sanctity of life, it's going to be a while before this gets turned around," says Stewart.
Dagnan also says it remains to be seen how the Dallas shooting may or may not affect police recruiting. Recruiting was high after 9/11, but now some police departments are short-staffed.
KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas