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Law Enforcement Officers Facing More Danger

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FAYETTEVILLE — Having a gun thrown in your face would beenough to scare anyone, but it's a threat police officers face everysingle day.

We saw it last week when two Cumberland County law enforcementofficers were gunned down alongside Interstate-95. Just days later, aFayetteville Police officer found himself in a similar situation -- fighting off an armed man after stopping a car for a routine trafficviolation.

It seems to us like things are getting more dangerous, but many officers say they feel they have the best kind of safety training.They say the real problem is that the people they're pulling over aregetting more dangerous. More and more people no longer think twice aboutpulling a weapon on an officer.

That's why officers say they have to think safety everytime they stepin and out of their patrol cars.

A routine traffic stop, a gun and an officer. It was a deadlycombination a week ago and potentially just as dangerous Saturday forSergeant Mike Halstead. The Fayetteville officer says he stopped a car forrunning a red light.

This is the kind of situation criminal justice majors are learningto handle. Professors, like Dr. E.J. Williams at Fayetteville StateUniversity, are teaching them how to stay safe on routinetraffic stops.

But what works in the classroom can turn out to be much more difficult onthe road, according to student Windy Reece.

No one's really sure exactly what happened on I-95 when the twoofficers were murdered last week, but for Sergeant Halstead the fatalshooting and what happened to him this weekend are reminders of howfocused officers need to be every single day.

Right now there are no plans to change the way any officers in the areaare trained. Every North Carolina officer goes through a two week survivaltraining course at the North Carolina Justice Academy.

Photographer:Mike Joyner

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