Law enforcement shootings highlight dangers of the job

(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The emotional funeral services for two Georgia police officers killed in the line of duty hit close to home for their brothers in blue in Savannah.

"You think about that officer and that family, and you think of your own family," said Trooper Dustin Stone with the Georgia State Patrol.

The tragic deaths show the obvious dangers of their jobs.

"You always want to make sure that you make the right decision and do what's reasonable. You never want to overreact," said Stone. "At the same time you've got to make sure you're safe."

Warrants, traffic stops and domestics represent just a few of the potentially dangerous calls officers respond to dozens of times a day. With recent shootings, vigilance is even more important.

"We just tell them to be on their toes and make sure they're paying attention to what's going on around them," said Major Richard Zapal with the Criminal Investigations Unit at Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department.

It was a little over a year ago when a man shot two Metro officers during a traffic stop. In a perfect world, training takes over in those life and death situations. Sometimes, it's not enough, though.

"You try to come up with every possible scenario but it's just not possible. Somebody will come up with something different," said Maj. Zapal.

That makes alertness and reaction even more important. The trouble for many officers is not ever letting that guard down - at any time.

"You can never become complacent no matter how the person looks. The person may look as if they're the nicest person that you've ever come into contact with, but that same person could be one that tries to harm you," said Stone.

It's a sad reality becoming more and more obvious every single day. Metro has not had an officer killed in the line of duty since the departments in the city and county merged in 2005.

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