Local police departments are reacting to the shooting of 11 police officers and a civilian Thursday evening in Dallas with at least two changing their tactics to patrol in pairs.
In total five officers were killed in the carnage and six officers were injured as well as a civilian. Most of downtown Dallas became a crime scene after a sniper opened fire during a demonstration, one of many nationwide, against the recent police shootings of Philando Castile during a routine traffic stop in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Dallas police were monitoring the protest when the sniper opened fire.
Police officers at departments from around the Bay Area expressed their condolences to the officers and residents of Dallas.
In response to the shooting, San Jose police are having officers patrol in pairs starting immediately and they did not say how long the pairings would last.
Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said officers will also be riding in pairs. In Oakland Thursday night about 2,000 people demonstrated and about 1,000 of them were able to close down Interstate Highway 880.
San Francisco police spokeswoman Giselle Talkoff said officers already patrol in pairs and that will continue. She added that officers will be backing each other up on calls and runs.
A statement by San Francisco police said:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Dallas law enforcement community, the families of those officers who lost their lives last night and the people of Dallas.”
A statement by police said they are committed to building healthier bonds between residents and officers and that Dallas police officers, even while being shot at, were trying to protect protesters.
Meanwhile, police unions blamed rhetoric from protesters and a ‘biased’ media against police brutality for the attack in Dallas. A post on the Livermore Police Officers Association’s Facebook page read Friday morning:
“A coward with a sniper rifle, inspired by the biased media coverage of officer involved shootings, took at least five lives too early.”
Martin Halloran, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, said in a statement that officers will show up and do their part to provide unity and peace on San Francisco streets.
He said the “war of words against law enforcement” has now escalated to cold-blooded attacks on officers by snipers.
President Obama also issued a statement Friday morning saying:
“There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement.”
The president said the people or person responsible for the shooting will be brought to justice.
Vacaville police Chief John Carli said in a Facebook post that he can’t recall a time in his career “being more torn” and “grieving the loss of some many officers in such a violent attack on the protectors of peace in Dallas.”
Carli, who attended a White House briefing on Wednesday to discuss the president’s 21st Century Policing in America initiative, said:
“There is no doubt we are in difficult and troubling times. … I am convinced that we are in crisis, a flashpoint in our society with an increasing focus on law enforcement tactics and use of force, particularly deadly force.”