Fatal attacks on police stress ‘sense of urgency for safety’

BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) — Families of local law enforcement say they experience a roller coaster of emotions when hearing about acts of violence against police.

The latest round of attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge prompted officers with Beaverton Police Dept. to change their perspective on the job and their operations.

Elizabeth Rowe tells KOIN-TV it’s sometimes tough to watch her husband Mike put on his uniform every day, not knowing if he’ll come home.

“Tomorrow is never promised for any of us,” Elizabeth said.

Mike started his career with Beaverton Police Dept. in 1986. Today he serves as the department’s spokesperson and says things have changed over the years.

“I knew that by becoming a police officer and putting on this uniform there was a chance I could get shot,” Mike said. “But those chances then were if you went on a robbery call or a burglary call or if you did a traffic stop and someone was wanted… but not just standing in the street or sitting at a cafe.”

He says this new trend will make it harder for agencies to find recruits. Police will also have to change their tactics to protect themselves while serving communities.

“It is very scary to do this job,” Mike said. “Our goal is to make sure the community is safe, but if we aren’t safe we can’t help you.”

Beaverton police officers have been doubling up in cars for safety. Other agencies, including Portland Police Bureau, have started requiring 2 officers to arrive on scene together, which could increase response times.

“There is more of a sense of urgency for safety issues,” Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner said. “Being aware of your surroundings… making sure when you go to calls you have adequate cover.”

The police association says officers are also using other security measures to keep themselves safe while on the job, but they are not disclosing details to the public.

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