Growing anti-cop culture a concern for Raleigh officers
Posted November 2, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — The shootings of two police officers in Des Moines early Wednesday have law enforcement officers around the Triangle on high alert. While officers have tools to keep them safe, no officer is immune to an ambush attack.
"It was just horrific, it's a terrible accident," said Rick Armstrong, vice president of Teamsters Local 391, an organization that represents about 700 Raleigh-area officers. "These officers had no way to defend themselves. They were ambushed. They had no option and were killed.”
The shootings follow a spate of police killings, including ambushes on officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Five officers were killed in Dallas on July 7 and three were killed later that month in Baton Rouge.
In 2016, 115 officers have been killed in the line of duty, 52 by guns. The numbers show a 15 percent increase in officer fatalities over the same time period last year, and a 58 percent increase in the use of guns.
Raleigh officers say they are concerned about a growing anti-cop culture.
"There are a lot of activists that are anti-police and second guessing everything police officers are doing," Armstrong said.
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison sent out an email to his officers urging them to be safe and remain vigilant.
"We know we are targets all the time," Harrison said.
But during the tense moments, Harrison said he has also seen a lot of support for officers.
"In the last 6 or 7 months I've had more people come up to me and say thank you for what you do and thank your deputies for what they do," he said.
In the long run, both Harrison and Armstrong think these violent incidents will steer people away from becoming law enforcement officers.
"You're taking a risk every time you go out," Harrison said.
"(Police officers) are not being paid enough, they are not being compensated, but the expectations are getting higher and higher. The threat against them is increasing also," Armstrong said.
The Teamsters Union, which includes the Raleigh Police Protective Association, will hold a regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday night, but the issue of officer safety is on the agenda.