In the wake of the recent attacks on law enforcement officers around the country, some law enforcement agencies in Central Texas are pairing up their officers for patrol and taking extra security measures to make sure they are safe.
The Rollingwood Police Department is one of them. Its Chief Dayne Pryor telling FOX 7 that Sunday’s ambush of San Antonio Police Detective Benjamin Marconi is the most recent reminder to always be on guard.
“Bottom line is,” he says, “no police officer is immune to this and if you think for a moment, well I work in this area, I am safe, no, that's a dangerous combination.”
Pryor, like his fellow brothers in blue, wears a tribute to fallen officers on his badge. A black band, the marker of mourning, he says so many officers have been killed, he keeps it in his pocket.
“This year so often, so often, one point you finally take it off and put it back on again. So that's why it's always with me.”
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund lists the number fatally shot in 2016, at 60.
“My department, we had a long talk about this yesterday,” he says, adding, “go back to your training. Always know what's going on around you. What's going on behind you is just as important as what's going on in front of you. Never lose sight of that.”
Rollingwood is one of a growing list of Central Texas Police Departments allowing their officers to pair up for patrol. On Monday, the Austin Police Department’s Interim Chief Brian Manley announced his officers will be allowed to pair up on request. And The Travis County Sheriff's Office tells FOX 7 that their deputies are not only allowed to pair up, it’s encouraged.
“We have been talking about this,” Pryor says of the fourteen full time and reserve officers who work at Rollingwood P.D. “Over the last couple of years we have started changing patrol tactics and how we staff to make sure we have as many people on duty as we can.”
Pryor has served in law enforcement for thirty-five years, almost ten of those as Rollingwood’s Chief. So it's fair to wonder if he’s ready to retire. He says not a chance, especially now.
“I take my experience and what's going on right now and make sure that I am passing it on to younger officers,” he says adding, “they need senior officers to guide them through this, counsel them, and make sure that they don't lose focus on what they are doing or why they got into this field in the first place.”