CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland police officers have taken special precautions in light of sniper attacks in Dallas on Thursday that left five police officers dead.
Cleveland 19 News rode along with Sgt. Steve Loomis, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, and saw how officers responded differently to a relatively routine call in light of the Dallas attacks. Cleveland 19 News saw two police cars with four officers, in addition to Loomis' vehicle, respond to the scene of a suicidal man.
Loomis said before the Dallas incident, that response likely would have been one officer and one cruiser.
"(The officers) did the right thing and called for another car because they didn't want to get baited into a situation," said Loomis.
Loomis said the about 40 percent of Cleveland officers who usually ride alone in their cars now have partners as a direct response to the tragedy in Dallas.
"There's safety in numbers so the chief brought the one man cars in and paired them up," said Loomis. "It adds a layer of safety for us. It's harder to walk up to two police officers than it is on one."
Cleveland 19 News was told officers have also been told not to stay in one place for too long for fear of becoming a target.
"It's terrible that they have to think like that but that's the reality that we're living in right now, and the guys and girls in the Cleveland police department are going to keep going to those calls and they're going to do the best they can at all of them," said Loomis.
Loomis said that people shouldn't forget or ignore the fact that officers on the streets are nervous.
"These guys are a brave, heroic bunch of people, but that does not mean that they're not out here scared. Scared for their safety, scared for the safety of their partners, and scared for the citizens," said Loomis. "They're human beings. You should be scared. If you're not scared out here there's a problem."
The precautions and heightened stress levels hit only about a week before the Republican National Convention will descend upon the city.
"We're going to have our hands full with the RNC without the additional issues across the country that we're seeing, but we'll be ready for it," said Loomis. "The men and women of the police department are going to respond like they always do."
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