Local officers speak about recent police shootings

Published 7:21 pm Monday, November 21, 2016

Local law enforcement is speaking out about the shooting of four officers in four different cities that happened over a 24-hour period on Sunday.

Three of the four shooting victims are recovering from their injuries and one — a San Antonio detective, has died after he was ambushed in his squad car outside police headquarters.

“It’s disheartening to know that an incident of the magnitude is occurring in the land of the free,” Port Arthur Police Officer Rickey Antoine said. “We understand the dangers of law enforcement every day when we put on this uniform and go out. We protect people and some don’t like us but we still sacrifice our bodies and our health to keep them from being harmed and to know somebody, it touches home with me because that’s what I do (writes citations as part of the department’s traffic unit). I live and breathe that every day.”

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San Antonio Officer Benjamin Marconi, 50, a 20-year-veteran of the police force, was in his police car writing a citation late Sunday morning when another driver pulled up behind him and was shot to death. A suspect was arrested in the crime on Monday.

Officers in Missouri and Florida were also shot and injured on Sunday.

Antoine said there seems to be a mindset of the individuals that have the criminal element already in them. When things of this nature occur it seems to light the match that has already began to spark.

“At the end of the day we’re not going to quit, we’re not going to quit,” he said. “We’re going to be vigilant and pray the subject who committed this heinous and cowardly crime is brought to justice.”

Nederland Police Chief Darrell Bush said these shootings must stop.

“I’ve always contended and felt like when a police officer is assaulted in any form or fashion whether an arrest or worse than that, an ambush, like situations we’ve been seeing is an assault o our whole society. It’s not just an assault on an individual but an assault on the whole of society,” Bush said. “This is terrible. It’s just plain assassination or attempted assassination and it’s got to stop.”

Bush said there is no way the killing or shooting of an officer can be justified.

“It’s just ashamed that some of our society has gotten this way,” he said. “There is no way in the world any of this can be justified and it’s mind boggling to rationalize and say it’s ok to do this.”

Groves City Marshal Norman Reynolds Jr. said he is concerned for his officers’ safety.

”This concerns me and I hope it doesn’t continue to be a trend although it seems like we definitely have more and more,” Reynolds said of police officer shootings. “It’s very disturbing to witness. I never would have thought I would see an assault on law enforcement like this.”

Port Neches Police Chief Paul Lemoine said officers cannot let their guard down.

“You don’t dwell on the thought of that happening to your coworker,” Lemoine said. “You go out. You still have to protect and serve. That’s what you signed up for. You don’t run scared. You treat your public with respect and you analyze each and every call you get. Do I need to come up a different way? Do I need to walk up. You have to be hyper-vigilant.”

Lemoine said as an officer you must be in the mind set that you could be targeted. To better help his officers he reviews traffic stop tapes and looks at way the officer could be vulnerable then gives suggestions to keep them safe.

Officer Carol Riley of the Beaumont Police Department said officers depend on the public to be their eyes and ears and asks if someone knows of a threat to police to call Crime Stoppers or the local department.

“We will always protect and serve,” Riley said. “We just ask citizens that if they know of something to let us know. This could stop something horrific from happening.”