On Tuesday night, two police officers in Santa Cruz were shot and killed on a routine check – the first officers killed in the line of duty in the department’s history.
While local law enforcement agencies couldn't comment on the specifics of the case, they shed light on what officers – and the public – should do to stay as safe as possible.
“This job can be quite dangerous and sometimes there’s little you can do,” said Sgt. Don Shepley of the Burlingame Police Department. “You put yourself in a very dangerous position.”
Congresswoman Jackie Speier, House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Vice Chair Jackie Speier, who represents much of the Peninsula was at a press conference in Washington, D.C. today where U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05), chairman of the task force introduced legislation aimed at helping states keep guns away from criminals and people with a history of dangerous mental illness.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the families of Loran Baker and Elizabeth Butler whose lives were cut short by gun violence," said Speier. "The two officers were killed in the line of duty, protecting Santa Cruz residents. While we are learning more details about the suspect who had a several run-ins with the law and had spent time in jail, the senseless death of two individuals should serve as yet another reminder that Congress must act now to reign in the gun violence epidemic in our country."
For Shepley and all Burlingame officers the steps taken to minimize the risk begin when they start their careers at Burlingame P.D. when new officers go through field training and officer safety training.
Then every two years, the officers are required to take an “active shooter training,” said Sgt. Shepley.
In the training, as mandated by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), they review which situations they should or should not use force, and what kind to use.
Then officers also have to undergo a quarterly range training, reviewing how to protect themselves and the public.
Millbrae is policed by members of the San Mateo Sheriff's Office. When contacted regarding the shootings in Santa Cruz, Sheriff Greg Munks said, "The San Mateo County Sheriffs Office extends our deepest condolences to the men and woman of the Santa Cruz police department and the friends and family of the officers tragically lost in the line of duty during yesterday's senseless act of violence.
"I have personally spoken with Sheriff Wowak and let him know he and Chief Vogel have the full support and resources of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office in this time of need."