“We’ve issued some orders for our officers who are doing some things differently. And it’s all to make sure that our officers are safe,” Maryland Heights Police Chief Bill Carson said.
Carson is the chairman of the St. Louis Police Chiefs Association. The organization meets on a regular basis and discusses issues and problems of common interest, including best practices and training.
“By and large, the great majority of police officers are police officers because they want to serve the community,” Carson said. “And they have that calling, and they believe that what they’re doing is beneficial to the community.”
Carson said the tragic shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas, Texas prompted a conversation among chiefs in the St. Louis area.
“We are talking about ways that we can better serve and protect the community, but keep our officers safe at the same time,” he said. “We want our officers to be very, very careful and vigilant and at the same time, and at the same time, we don’t want them to overact to situations.”
Within hours of the Dallas shootings, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Sam Dotson ordered his officers pair up on calls.
“It’s a stark reminder how dangerous police work is, but it doesn’t mean we’re not going to do it, and it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it. We’re going to do it,” Dotson said Friday.
Carson said the recent events have had an effect on officers.
“I went into the afternoon roll call at my department and spoke to the officers that were on duty this afternoon. We talked about what happened in Dallas. We talked about what happened this morning in Ballwin,” he said.
Carson said he also stressed to his staff the outpouring of support his department has received in the wake of the events in Dallas. Various residents have come to the department to offer gratitude in person, Carson said.