Police Chief James Viadero said last week that town police were unfortunately again in a state of mourning in view of the deaths of three Baton Rouge, La., police officers who were slain by a gunman with a semiautomatic rifle on Sunday, July 17.
Before the Baton Rouge incident occurred, police had already been in mourning to honor the memory of the five Dallas, Texas, police officers who died after a sniper shot them during a July 7 public protest event.
Besides the five officers who were killed, seven others were wounded in the Dallas incident, and three others were injured in the Baton Rouge incident. Both shooting incidents involved ambushes in which police were the victims.
“It’s mind-numbing… Hopefully, at some point this stops,” Chief Viadero said of such incidents occurring. “This is a trend that we certainly don’t want to see escalate,” he said.
Members of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) have met with the US Attorney for Connecticut to discuss such incidents, he noted.
“We do have a lot of support from our community,” Chief Viadero said of the local reaction to the police shootings.
Of police dying in the line of duty, the police chief observed, “It’s an inherent danger in the job.” Police have legitimate concerns about their personal safety while on the job, realizing that law enforcement is a dangerous profession, Chief Viadero said.
In response to such incidents, local police supervisors have stressed to patrol officers the need to be aware of the hazards posed by their work, he said.
“We’re just telling our officers to be extra cautious and be careful out there… I’m just telling them to be more vigilant,” he said.
As a symbol of mourning, flags were flown at half-staff this week, notably at the Main Street flagpole and in front to the police station.
In a July 18 statement, CPCA President John Salvatore, who is Monroe’s police chief, said, in part, of the Baton Rouge incident, “This latest senseless event is another attempt to violently rip apart the very fabric of the nation.
“Violence against police can never be excused or justified because of a person’s grievance or perception of mistreatment by law enforcement officers,” he said.
US, state, and municipal flags will remain flying at half-staff through sunset on Friday, June 22, to honor the victims of the Louisiana attack.