Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong said the murder of a five police officers in Dallas will weigh heavily on the minds of every police officer in the nation, not just in Dallas.
“The circumstances where an officer could have been hurt are very high,” Furlong said.
Furlong said Carson’s department is especially sensitive to the impact because of the death of Deputy Carl Howell, shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call last year.
“We know what that feeling is locally when just one officer is killed,” he said. “It draws a community to its knees.”
Furlong said he expects his department will send a color guard to Dallas to join in the services for the victims.
He said there is absolutely no justification for what happened in Dallas.
“To randomly pick off police officers who are there to protect the right of free speech, to create positive change, is just a tremendous tragedy,” he said.
But, he added: “We have to be mindful that what happens in a far away location can effect us locally.”
As if to put an exclamation point on that comment, the Associated Press reports that along with Dallas officers, law enforcement in Missouri, Tennessee and Georgia were shot since Thursday night.
Furlong said unfortunately, it is the innocent who are hurt — those officers protecting the demonstrators calling for better relations between police and the community and the community members themselves.
“It wasn’t the community of Dallas that created this problem,” he said. “We have to be mindful here in Carson that others could act out just as viciously.”
He said agencies across the country are reviewing their plans and procedures.
Despite all the harsh press about police shootings, Furlong said, “the norm is that officers are out there trying to help.”
He said the victims in Dallas were there to help and protect the protesters.
One message he said he wants to get out in Carson City is that some one could have prevented what happened.
In Carson City before the shooting of several people at the south Carson Street IHOP restaurant and before Howell was killed, Furlong said some one knew the shooters were on the verge of a violent outburst.
“Someone was in the position to stop that from happening before it happened and that notice was not made,” Furlong said. “Someone knew Carl Howell was in great danger. Somebody knew IHOP was about to blow up.”
Likewise, he said, some one somewhere knew the Dallas shooter was going over the edge last night before anything happened, but didn’t act to get the shooter help.
“If you know somebody is on that fence to acting out violently, we need to know,” he said. “We need to know not to harm them but to protect them.”
He said if someone thinks one of his deputies did something wrong, made a mistake, he wants to know about it.
“I welcome people calling in complaints to me,” he said. “That allows me to address it. If I don’t know, I can’t help.”
The other issue for him, he said, is dealing with the impact on his deputies who have to go back on patrol their next shift and, when they get a call, “go out and treat the next person with care and consideration.”
Especially for the Dallas police, he said, “that is a huge challenge to expect of a human being.”
“Yet we will stand up, we will do that.”