LEAVENWORTH — Law enforcement officers are mindful of fatal shootings of officers in other parts of the country that have made national news in recent weeks.
“The job is dangerous,” Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens said. “It always is.”
Kitchens said members of the Leavenworth Police Department pay attention to news of shootings of law enforcement officers elsewhere in the United States.
“But we still come to work every day,” Kitchens said.
Several law enforcement officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty during the month of December in multiple states including the Dec. 10 death of Detective Joseph Seals in Jersey City, N.J.
Several fatal shootings of officers also were reported last month.
Nationally, firearms-related deaths of law enforcement officers is down 6% when compared to last year, according to preliminary figures posted on the website for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
As of Friday, 128 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty in 2019. Of those, 49 officers were killed by firearms, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund website.
While the recent incidents have taken place in other states, Leavenworth County Sheriff Andy Dedeke acknowledges it can happen here.
“It definitely can happen in Leavenworth County,” he said.
Dedeke said he believes news of in the line of duty deaths has played a role in a diminished number of law enforcement applicants in general.
Dedeke said the sheriff’s office attempts to counteract this through programs such as an annual Citizens Academy, which provides members of the public a glimpse into the work of the agency. He said a few graduates of the program have been hired by the sheriff’s office.
Dedeke said the office also attempts to make sure deputies are trained to react appropriately in potentially dangerous situations.