Ambushes Prompt Changes For Fort Worth & Arlington Police

UPDATED | July 18, 2016 11:37 AM

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) –  The Fort Worth and Arlington Police Departments have changed their policies for officers in the wake of the recent deadly ambushes of police officers, including the July 7 attack in downtown Dallas and the July 17 attack in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

FWPD officials said that the recent shooting and killings of police officers has reminded them that “our primary concern is the safety of not only ourselves, but our fellow officers.” To that end the department decreed that all officers will now patrol in two-officer units.

“The current culture within the country, that is putting officers at risk, has precipitated this and until that culture changes all Fort Worth police officers will be riding two-person,” explained Fort Worth Police Sergeant Marcus Povero.

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Furthermore the department will not allow any uniformed officer, detective or plain clothes officer to respond to any call or assist at any location by his or herself. “If three or four officers show up on scene we don’t want people to be offended or worried, that’s just our new policy,” Sergeant Povero said to the public. “We are there to serve you and to effectively serve you we have to maintain our safety.”

The FWPD will also soon have more officers on the streets with assault-style weapons. Sergeant Povero said, “The executive staff today is in the process of accelerating and expanding the AR-15 Patrol Rifle Schools that are put on at the Fort Worth Police Department, to allow our officers to be armed with AR-15 rifles.”

Officials also reiterated that all police officers should be wearing their body armor. Sergeant Povero said, “Our executive staff is actually working on a policy that would require body armor for all uniformed officers.”

The department admitted the new rules could possibly inconvenience officer’s day-to-day routine, they said that is secondary to the safety of officers. “It doesn’t do any good for the officers to show up and be concerned about their own safety more than serving the citizens that have called them,” Povero said.

While the mandate clearly stated that the Fort Worth Police Department had not received any specific threat, it said “the risk of further violence against officers is high.”

Fort Worth Police Officers Association president said the new two-person patrols benefit everyone. “When we know our officer’s are safe, we also know that the citizens are safe. So it kinda goes hand-in-hand.”

(Photo: Peter Watson - CBS11)

(Photo: Peter Watson – CBS11)

There have also been no known threats made against the Arlington Police Department. But police Lieutenant Christopher Cook did confirm that “We are encouraging officers to ride two to a car and putting together enhanced security measures at all facilities.”

All changes at the Fort Worth Police Department are effective immediately.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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