Recent cop killings have rural county departments on edge, changing response

Published: Jul. 19, 2016 at 4:48 PM CDT
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In the last two weeks, we've seen officers targeted and shot to death in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and now Kansas City.

It has become an unthinkable reality in this country.

The people who serve and protect-- being targeted themselves.

It's long been a so-called "city problem," but now it's getting so bad that even rural departments say they must be on heightened alert.

Our rural, smaller counties here in Missouri say they are doing a few things differently now, such as whenever someone calls 911, asking a lot more questions on the phone before they respond. It might take a little longer to get there to the scene, but at least they know who they are dealing with and what the situation is.

"Most of the time we know who we are dealing with before we go, which is a good thing," said Douglas County Sheriff Chris Degase. He says more leg work on the front end-- will keep them safer on scene.

Our rural counties have smaller departments, but they're doing their best to always send more than one deputy to each call.

They've also been monitoring social media a lot closer.

"It's definitely in the back of all of our minds... there has been a drastic turn toward law enforcement," said Degase. "Just waking up and turning on the TV every morning would keep us from becoming complacent. It seems like something is happening every night."

Degase says being a rural and smaller county, you could be at his department and drive one hour away, and still be in Douglas County.

He says in recent weeks, they've been working a lot more with surrounding counties and letting them know what type of call they are on, and the potential need for back-up.