Seattle police taking no risks after Dallas shootings
Seattle police aren’t taking any risks after five Dallas, Texas officers were killed and seven were wounded during a protest over fatal police shootings of black men in other states.
At the request of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, officers are now riding in pairs during patrols as a safety precaution. Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole agreed with the request.
Detective and union President Ron Smith told KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz that officers need to stay alert.
“To my members, keep your head on a swivel,” Smith said. “Your job is law enforcement, but your main mission is to go home at night.”
In Dallas, three suspects were in custody. A fourth is dead after exchanging gunfire with police, before being killed by a police explosive device.
A protest in Seattle was held Thursday night and remained peaceful. Though the crowd was described as “angry” by some, there was no violence or destruction. Seattle police did use pepper spray on a handful of protesters, including some who attempted to run onto an I-5 on-ramp.
The last time the police union made a similar request for officers to ride in pairs was after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.
“We’re going through a tough time in this country right now,” Smith told Rantz.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray responded to the attacks Thursday as well.
“As I have said before, if we are to engage in a serious discussion about racism we must recognize that the police are on the receiving end of the failure of so many systems …” Murray wrote on Facebook. “As I have said before, the stigmatization of any group, including police officers, leads to violence.”
Murray goes on to say that he is committed to the safety of officers.