Law Enforcement Agencies are thinking about safety, after one of their own was shot in the line of duty just last week. Most officers say they realize patrolling alone is part of the job, but the recent shooting has served as a reminder.
All Law Enforcement Agencies here in Mesa County patrol alone and many say that in most cases it works fine.
Bill Gardner, Grand Junction Cheif of Police says, " In general we train our staff to work individually but of course there is inherent risk with working in Law Enforcement." Gardener says one of the main risks is the unpredictability of the job, and in response to the recent State Trooper shooting some say the end result may have been the same even if Trooper Koch had a partner with him.
Chadd Searcy, Grand Junction says, "Each situation calls for a different procedure, but if there was another officer it could have been different, but that's not to say the end result wouldn't have been the same, I just don't know."
Many officers say that with intensive training and the proper equipment, they feel just as safe patrolling alone as they would if they had a partner. Gardner says, "If a person is gonna come out of a car and shoot at an officer, even if there is another officer, there is still a great risk of violence and gun fire."
Officers say it was very unfortunate what happened to Trooper Koch, but unfortunately incidents like this happen all too often. "Since December we have had several shootings involving officers in Mesa County," says Gardner.
Still, most say this has nothing to do with patrolling alone, but instead it's the nature of the job. Some even say that by going solo they can better serve the public. Searcy says, "If we have six workers and we can put out six cars or you take half of that and have three cars with two workers each, I think that takes away from our community service."
As Law Enforcements duty is to serve and protect the public, officers say that as they put their lives on the line each day, whether they are alone or with someone else there will always be dangers.
Trooper Koch, who was shot last week, was released from the hospital this weekend. Co–workers say he is doing well but faces a long road to recovery.