FORT WORTH -- Fort Worth police announced Monday afternoon its officers would be mandated to respond to all calls for service in pairs until further notice.
The decision comes one day after a San Antonio detective was fatally shot in the head as he sat in his police cruiser and wrote a traffic ticket.
Fort Worth Police Assistant Chief Ken Dean told News 8 this is the second time this year the department has mandated officers to respond to calls in tandem. The first time was in the weeks after the Dallas ambush this summer.
Dean says officers can ride two per cruiser, though he prefers officers riding in separate cars but responding to calls together. With two officers per call, it allows an extra level of protection for police and an extra set of eyes.
Police say doubling up on calls does typically increase response time, though they could not immediately provide us with specific numbers. Sgt. Marc Povero says they did not get a noticeable amount of complaints about response times when they did this in July.
“Really the challenges are getting to calls in a timely manner,” Povero said. “And what the public would need to understand is response times may increase. But having said that, once a two person unit gets on scene, they can actually start work immediately.”
Police also say they would like to eventually go to a permanent two-officer response protocol, but that would take city council approval—and a massive increase in personnel—first.
“This may end up ultimately pushing us towards a mandated, permanent two officer response or two car type response,” said Asst. Chief Dean. “It’s a resource issue we’re currently trying to address.”
Three Fort Worth police officers have been shot in the line of duty in 2016 alone.