Heartland officers more vigilant after law enforcement shootings - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland officers more vigilant after law enforcement shootings nationwide

(Source: KFVS 12) (Source: KFVS 12)

Recent shootings against law enforcement officers nationwide have some in the Heartland taking extra precautions.

Scott County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Cotner has been in law enforcement for over a decade.

He can't help but notice the recent violence against officers nationwide.

"A lot of things are happening in places you'd never think of," Cotner said.

That’s having an impact on how he does his job.

"From day one in the police academy we're taught about situational awareness all the time, when we're getting gas, doing reports, whatever,” Cotner said. “And over the past year or two it's been even that much more reinforced."

Officers shot and killed in the line of duty is down about 51 percent from last year according to an officers memorial website.

But some say the recent uptick in shootings is forming a dangerous trend.

"Law enforcement is a target right now," Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter said.

Walter said all he can do is remind his guys to stay vigilant and rely on training. Beyond that, officers still have a job to do.

The Scott Count Sheriff's Office, like many other departments, have efforts in place to strengthen the relationship with the community it serves. Cotner and the sheriff say they've seen more appreciation from community members than before.

But to solve the larger issue, both men agree it will take much more.

"One of the things that people have to see is these are human beings doing a job,” Walter said. “A lot times all they see are a uniform."

"It's going to take everybody that has any stake in this. Whether it's law enforcement, the community, politicians, anybody who has anything to do with this,” Cotner said. “It's going to take involvement on everybody's part, there's no one solution to everything."

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