Following the ambush of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, and the shooting death of a KCK police officer Tuesday, the Clay County Sheriff's Office is continuing to be on heightened alert during calls.
"Things are starting to really hit close to home,” said Deputy Phillip Waltman.
Kansas City, Kansas Police Department Capt. Robert David Melton was shot and killed by a gunman Tuesday afternoon. 41 Action News was with Waltman on a ride-along when the news broke.
"You hear about it all over the country, but when it happens in your backyard, it's a little different,” said Waltman. "The first thing that goes through my mind is not being able to be there for the officer.”
Waltman has been with Clay County Sheriff's Office for three years. He says they’ve always had a policy of having two officers pull up to every call. However, after all the recent police shootings, that policy is being emphasized.
“No matter if it’s a burglary in progress or shots fired, we try to get as many deputies on a call as possible,” said the deputy.
Waltman also stated that they continue to look out for other agencies, backing them up as well if needed.
“Whether it's a dangerous adversary or whatever it may be, you just have to address everything out here accordingly,” he said.
KCK police just started pairing up officers, two per vehicle, a new policy that began less than two weeks ago. Waltman loves the idea but says it would stretch his department too thin.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, there have been 32 police officer gunfire deaths this year. There were 39 in 2015.
Statistics from the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund show there were 109 officers killed in 2013, which was a 57-year low.
Josh Helmuth can be reached at email@example.com