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Officer safety following recent shooting deaths of police officers

In light of recent shooting deaths of police officers, ABC 17 News checked in with local law enforcement agencies to see if they are making any changes or taking any extra precautions.

“We’re pretty vigilant to begin with, but I think we’ve definitely ratcheted up a couple notches,” said Detective Tom O’Sullivan with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

After an Illinois police officer is shot dead dead on the job, a Houston-area deputy is ambushed, shot and killed while pumping gas and several other officer shootings in the country, local law enforcement is stepping up vigilance to prevent a similar tragedy here at home.

“Officer safety is paramount,” O’Sullivan said. “We go through training as it relates to officer safety, we constantly are getting bulletins and emails and updates. What are the latest weapons and gadgets criminals are out there using.”

He said they’re always keeping an eye and ear out for potential threats.

“We’re very cognizant of some elements of anti-police out there that are looking to do us harm,” O’Sullivan said.

ABC 17 News asked if the department is considering any changes as far as two-man patrols.

“It’s just more practical for us to operate with one-man vehicles,” O’Sullivan said. “We can cover a lot more territory. I mean, Boone County is 700 square miles so that’s a lot of ground to cover.”

Instead, he said they use their discretion to determine when they need backup.

“You’ll take into consideration what the nature of the call is, where the call is, have we had run-ins with these people before,” O’Sullivan said.

The Boone County Sheriff’s Department said situational awareness is key to officer safety.

ABC 17 News checked with other mid-Missouri police departments. Jefferson City Police said they are also emphasizing extra vigilance and situational awareness.

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