Seattle cops urged to double up while responding to calls in the wake of NYPD murders
SEATTLE — After two New York City cops were gunned down in an ambush, the head of the Seattle Police Officers Guild said Monday that officers here are being told to double up — or have a backup — when responding to calls.
“You don’t have to be a New York police officer to feel the anger and the pain,” guild president Ron Smith said.
To honor the fallen officers in New York, local law enforcement officers here are wearing black mourning bands across their badges.
“Who do you call when you are being assaulted? Who do you call when someone steals your car? You call the police and we come, regardless of who you are,” Smith said.
“Remember that their profession is law enforcement, but their job is to go home at the end of the night,” Smith said.
Police say the two New York City police officers were sitting in their patrol car in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant Saturday afternoon when suspect Ismaaiyl Brinsley ambushed them.
Authorities haven't established the gunman's motive, but they've noted that Brinsley, 28, broadcast his plans to kill police on social media. And in some of his posts, investigators have said, he mentioned the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, black men who were killed by police.
Local cops here are on alert in light of the New York ambush murders. Officers are doubling up before responding to 911 calls.
“If they are working in a one-officer car, make sure they have adequate backup before responding to any calls, to have their head on a swivel,” Smith said.
The deaths of Garner and Brown continue to spark protests. The same day the New York cops were gunned down, dozens of local protesters staged a “die in” at Bellevue Square Mall. On Monday, Q13 FOX News spoke to people who say the protests should continue.
“I think police all over the country are very unfair,” Margret Kaprielian said.
Smith says everyone has the right to speak their minds but he says sometimes they go too far.
“We’ve had irresponsible rhetoric ... (with marchers in New York on Dec. 13) chanting, ‘What do we want? Dead cops,’” Smith said.
“I’m not saying it’s right but I can understand the anger that’s behind it,” Kaprielian said.
That kind of anger is dangerous, according to Smith.
He remembers losing Tim Brenton, a Seattle officer killed while sitting in his patrol car five years ago. That tragedy was followed by the killing of four Lakewood police officers who were ambushed at a coffee shop.
Despite the pain, Smith says, cops need to be careful of what they say and post on social media.
“We can be passionate and emotional but we have to be responsible on what we put on there,” Smith said.
King County Sheriff John Urquhart released a statement on Monday that read, in part:
“Police officers have been under a tremendous amount of criticism over the past few weeks, and frankly, voices of support have been few and far between. Nevertheless, I know the men and women of the King County Sheriff`s Office will continue to protect all citizens of King County, and will continue to treat everyone fairly and with respect."
Law enforcement officers will wear the mourning bands until the last funeral in New York.