Many local law enforcement agencies, including the San Diego Police Department, are grief-stricken over the ambush-style shooting of two NYPD police officers.
Police departments from Oceanside to Chula Vista are reminding their officers to take precautions to protect their safety.
A recent Federal Bureau of Investigations report released last month shows 76 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2014. Of that, the FBI says 27 officers were killed as a result of an adversarial action – where a suspect took life, in all but one incident, by shooting and killing an on-duty officer.
FBI agent Darrell Foxworth says the report and recent events in New York are reminders of how dangerous a job law enforcement is. He says one death in the line of duty is too many.
“Having been in the law enforcement field for 29 years, anytime you hear about the death of an officer, especially when it has to do with an adversarial situation, it hits home. It’s a very somber feeling,” Foxworth said. “It’s something that really hits home, and it hits deep.”
For San Diego officers, the ambush killing of two officers in their patrol car opens old wounds.
In 2011, a San Diego police officer was shot in his patrol car minutes after a random gesture of kindness, buying McDonald's for a 13-year-old in City Heights.
“Officer Jeremy Henwood, when we lost him in 2011, he was killed in pretty much the same manner,” former SDPD Chief William Lansdowne said. “He was shot for no other reason than he wore a uniform.”
Lansdowne and other leaders in the law enforcement community are now calling for an end to these escalating tensions between the police and protesters.
Authorities confirm the crazed New York gunman was seeking retaliation against police for the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths.
“The time for protests and accusations and the time for being defensive and saying ‘We’ve done nothing wrong,’ is over,” Lansdowne said. “It doesn’t discount that we’ve had mistakes on our part and there needs to be change, but we’re going to do that, and we need to do it together with the community.”
Local activist Chris McKay says it is not time to stop the protests, citing some 400 lethal officer-involved-shootings every year.
“I’ve seen it, and I’ve seen it escalate over my lifetime,” McKay said.
McKay says he has been beaten, choked, thrown on the ground and “stomped on” by police.
Despite that, he says he is willing to tone down the rhetoric and be respectful of the officers killed.
“I think the violence that happened in New York is just actually another sign that people in this country are getting fed up,” said McKay, who drew widespread criticism for covering a memorial for Officer Henwood earlier this year.
Despite being grief-stricken and the sobering reminder of how dangerous their jobs are, Lansdowne said this incident won’t stop officers from doing their job.
“They’ve always done it and they will continue to do that, and the public needs to say ‘thank you’ at this particular time. Please stop and waive and say ‘thank you,’” he said.
Other local statements on NYPD incident:
Chula Vista Police Department Captain Roxana Kennedy
The recent ambush and murder of two NYPD officers and another Florida officer remind law enforcement to stay vigilant and always be aware of our surroundings and potential threats. CVPD supervisors and officers are discussing tactics, officer safety concerns and sharing local and national news alerts regarding the recent tragedies in roll call with squads. As we mourn for the loss of fellow law enforcement officers, we ask that the community also keep these fallen officers, their families, and NYPD and Tarpon Springs Police Department families in their prayers.
SDPD Chief Shelly Zimmerman
This is a tragic and grim reminder of the dangers law enforcement officers face every day. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire NYPD family as they grieve the loss of two of their officers.
San Diego Police Officers Association
The members of San Diego Police Officers Association (SDPOA) are deeply saddened by the senseless murders of New York Police Department (NYPD) Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. We extend our sincere condolences to the families of these fallen heroes, the NYPD, the New York Police Benevolent Association, as well as the citizens from the City of New York.
The deplorable actions of their killer, beginning with the shooting of his ex-girlfriend, show the suspect as nothing more than a coward. Yet, this murderer sought redemption among some members of our nation by assassinating the guardians of our communities, sworn police officers. Sadly, there are some citizens who praised these horrible actions and seek to justify them. The SDPOA is outraged to think that anyone would be willing to support this murderer.
Voices from throughout the nation have called out for justice, peace, and respect for all lives. As we enter the New Year let us remember that all of these matter and we should choose our words wisely as we speak to one another in our efforts to unite our nation as never before.
We are thankful to have the support of so many in this city. We ask that you continue to send your thoughts and prayers to the victims and their family and friends.
The SDPOA urges the public to come forward and immediately report any possible threats against law enforcement.
Deputy Sheriff's Association President Matt Clay
I have released no statement in regards to the ruthless murder of the two NYPD officers. Of course if there were one it would simply echo that our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the slain officers and to the members of the NYPD. We earnestly hope and pray that there are no more such attacks and no further activist rhetoric calling for unrest across the states.
I did send our condolences regarding the loss of Officers Liu and Ramos to the New York City Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.