First responders taking extra safety measures after police officer shootings
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
In response to the shootings and deaths of other police officers across the country, Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said he's making changes to the department to make sure his officers come home safe.
"Only the family of police officers understand the greatest sound in the world is the sound of velcro," Chief Fletcher said, "Because that means your loved one has come home and they're taking off this thin veneer of body armor that we hope protects us from bad guys."
It's a call to duty most families will never experience. But for those who do, each attack on police officers is a heartbreaking reminder of the worst that could happen.
Chief Fletcher has ordered changes within the department to keep his officers safer but will not say what exactly will be done differently.
"I am not prepared to share what we're doing to keep them safer, because clearly there are people in this country who mean harm to police officers," he said, "So sharing what we are changing to make them safer would put them at a disadvantage."
CPD isn't the only department taking extra safety precautions.
Firefighters are now hoping to secure grant money to pay for more bulletproof vests and active shooter training.
"Police officers are being targeted, we work with these people and have close relationships with them so it also makes us try to watch out for each other even more," said Chief Daniel Hague, Chattanooga Fire Department.
City Council will look at the grant application during Tuesday's meeting and vote to see if it will move forward. If so, the department will ask for $133,000 from the Department of Homeland Security to go toward bulletproof vests, active shooter training, and additional safety and medical supplies needed during a mass casualty event.
If approved, the department would get the grant money by the end of the year.
"We're having to re-think what we've done before and how we've done things in the past, just be more cautious and watch out what's going on, just be a little more guarded than we used to be," Chief Hague said.
This is the second week in a row CPD officers are wearing the mourning symbol on their badges.
Last week, for the fallen Dallas police officers.
"We were scheduled to remove them from our badges at 8 o'clock this morning," Chief Fletcher said, "Well then yesterday news of Baton Rouge reached us and we ordered the badges with the mourning bands again."
The Chattanooga Police Department created a "Pray for Peace" event for this Saturday, starting at 5 p.m.
Their post reads, "A multitude of community members have contacted the Chattanooga Police Department concerning a desire to come together in prayer and for the opportunity to connect with one another as unified community against violence of any kind. This Saturday local Law Enforcement & Community will come together to stand in solidarity in an interfaith vigil in Chattanooga."