AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Five U.S. police officers died in the line of duty in the last week.
Most recently, Davis Officer Natalie Corona and Shreveport Officer Chateri Payne. Their stories have rocked law enforcement officers all over the country.
“We need to change something,” said Chief Whitney Whitworth of the Thrall Police Department.
Payne was fatally shot as she was leaving for work Wednesday night.
The 22-year-old shared her feelings on social media the day she joined the Shreveport Police Department. There she wrote, "Long Days. Aching Nights. But I decided to stand tall on my dream… My personal mission is to become that positive influence. To Protect those who can't protect themselves…" Two months later she was shot and killed.
“Some of the things we see done nowadays, it's just terrible, it's terrible,” Whitworth said.
The day after Chateri's death, another young officer was also gunned down.
22-year-old Natalie Corona joined the Davis Police Department five months ago. She was investigating a car crash Thursday night when a shooter opened fire, killing her. “The Davis officer being shot, simply for working a traffic accident, it scares me. It bothers me a little bit,” said Whitworth.
In a photo, Natalie’s father, a retired sheriff's sergeant, is seen pinning on her badge during a swearing in ceremony. That hit close to home for Whitworth. “As soon as I saw that, it reminded me of pinning my badge on my daughter. And I just hate to see that. I hate to see that,” Whitworth said.
Whitworth's daughter now works for the Georgetown Police Department. Although very proud of her hard work, and confident in her abilities, Whitworth is too often reminded of the danger she faces.
“I think the anxiety I feel is for me, not so much for her. I believe that she knows how to take care of herself. I would hate to see her hurt in this occupation, but it's a risk she takes and I just hope nothing bad ever befalls her,” said Whitworth.
He hopes the increase in officer deaths in 2018 is a trend that won't continue. Because he knows the fear Natalie and Chateri's parents felt every time they put on their badge. That's why he wants his daughter to always remember, “That I love her and just be careful. Just to be safe and take care of the people she's paid to protect and the people she swore to protect,” Whitworth said.
The man who police say killed Natalie was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
So far, no one has been arrested in Chateri's case.