Area police remain resolute after shootings

The slayings of five Dallas police officers by snipers Thursday night will not change the way local officers will do their jobs.

Jackson County Sheriff Michael Carothers said an incident in which county Officer Rick Meyer was ambushed and shot in May 2014 in Tampico serves as a reminder to local officers about the reality of what could happen when they go to work each day.

That incident led to police here being a little more observant and aware of their surroundings at least for a while. The events that occurred in Dallas will, too, he said.

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“That’s a good thing,” Carothers said.

Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott said police historically have been on the front lines when it comes to tension in communities, but his officers already are taking the best actions they can to ensure the safety of the public and the safety of the officers.

“Our officers are usually aware of the situations and neighborhoods they are going into and that dispatchers and other officers always know where the others are,” Abbott said. “We always keep an eye out for each other.”

Additionally, on violent or potentially violent calls, officers always take these calls as pairs or trios to help prevent any issues.

“We know we always run the risk of being hurt or killed in the line of duty,” Abbott said. “We’ve lost three in the history of our department. It’s a reality, and we know that possibility is always there. That’s what we train for and why we prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

Carothers said the potential for violence is in the forefront of every officer’s mind daily.

“It upsets us and concerns us that this occurred,” he said. “It’s pretty much become a daily event. We talk about it and how we can be prepared, and then walk out the door and say, ‘It won’t happen here.’”

Abbott said Seymour officers feel for the officers in the Dallas shooting incident.

Abbott said he believes the shootings that happened in Dallas shouldn’t force Americans into the racially divided mentality.

“It’s shouldn’t be a black or white thing. Every life is important,” Abbott said. “It’s good versus bad.”

He said police are second-guessed for years about decisions they have to make in seconds.

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Aaron Piper is a photographer and reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at apiper@tribtown.com or 812-523-7057.