After deadly Iowa shootings, local officers worry they could be targets

In the wake of the deadly shootings of police officers across the country, especially Wednesday's fatal shooting of two officers in Iowa, local police unions are worried about the safety of officers in Houston.

HOUSTON- Following the arrest of Scott Michael Green for killing two officers in Iowa in an ambush attack, some local officers are concerned they could too be targets.

The most recent data shows that officers in Texas have been killed more than any other state in the country. 

"A big big wake up call everytime a police officer gets ambushed like this because our officers realized that when they are in that car, when they are in that uniform there can be a target on their back," said Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Union. 

An ambush is the deadliest situation for an officer in 2016. Data also showed there has been a 79 percent increase in shooting related deaths. 

That shocking statistic from non--profit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fun was big news over the summer.

Hunt old his officers to ask for a partner when they felt unsafe immediately after the shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

"Anytime somebody intentionally and knowingly kills a police officer, they're either a serious bad person or they have mental issues," said Hunt. "My personal belief is that two people in a unit is better than one."

This is not always possible in all agencies because it can slow response times to the publics calls for help, according to Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman. 

Hickman's patrol officers go out alone right now. 

"You can imagine what their daily lives are like worried about if they're going home to their families," said Hickman. "In Iowa there are two complete families destroyed today."

The data also showed the average age of a fallen officer was 39 years old with two kids. It did not include the shooting deaths of police after July---like the two officers killed in California and in Iowa. 

For many, any time an an officer is killed it's a painful reminder of what officers experience on a daily basis by putting their lives on the line. 

"How trying times these are and when officers are working in very trying conditions to be thoughtful of what they go through day to day," said Hickman. 

The decade's highest number of deaths came in 2011, with 73 officers shot and killed.
 

(© 2016 KHOU)


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