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Law officers in smaller communities speak on recent police violence

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) -

The tragedies in Baton Rouge and Dallas have law officers on high alert across America, even in smaller communities.

We spoke to law enforcement in several different communities on Tuesday, to get their takes on the issue. They are saddened by what has happened to their brothers in uniform in bigger cities, and they know they can no longer say that it can't happen here. 

The targeted killing of police officers in Baton Rouge, and previously in Dallas, has them examining the role they play in their own community, and worried that someone in their own towns could decide to carry out an attack on them. The concerns have them doubling efforts to have relationships and dialogue with people in neighborhoods, and also responding to even run-of-the-mill calls differently.

"We're trying to send two deputies on calls like domestics, because there's a possibility, and you never know what that call will actually be," said Sheriff Alvie Kight, Toombs County. 

Many departments have already upgraded their officer's protective armor and given them more firepower in the patrol car, and they're sending backups even on the most routine call. But many also stress to their officers to talk to neighbors in the places they patrol, put names with faces and hopefully build relationships that could help spot potential problems before they become deadly.

“We push community relations and encourage our shifts, whenever possible, get out at a school or at a community event, and talk to people as much as possible and be visible. It can only do us nothing but good to have communication and talk to folks,” said Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jared Akins.

Other departments I talked to stressed they have town hall meetings on a regular basis, as well as being at community rallies to connect with people and hear from people.

But all of them said they have to be equally prepared to defend themselves on those calls and use force if necessary to protect the public.  

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