Dotson changes procedures for officers over safety concerns

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department implemented new safety policies almost immediately after the shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas, Texas. The policies were noticeable Friday as SLMPD officers responded to calls ranging from peace disturbance to domestic disputes.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said officers will now respond in groups of two. He is also telling officers to make sure they have a partner while making a traffic stop. He said supervisors will be asked to make sure officers are wearing their ballistic vests when leaving their police building for duty.

Dotson said the shooting of a Ballwin Police officer Friday morning is more evidence of the dangers police face.

“We can’t let the actions of a few people change the way that we live our lives,” he said.

The chief said he's emphasizing the importance of his officers responding with professionalism, and does not want officers transferring feelings they have for the shooters to a larger group.

Dotson said officers may need to police smarter and safer.

“But we have to go into those communities that need us the most and arrest criminals,” he said.

The new policies will be in effect until further notice, according to the SLMPD. The department will wear badge covers for five days as a way to honor the five officers killed in Dallas.

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