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Local agencies find ways cope after Gilchrist County tragedy

Posted at 7:14 PM, Apr 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-20 19:14:27-04

The news of two Gilchrist County deputies who were ambushed, shot and killed while eating on Thursday has rattled local law enforcement everywhere.

Friday night, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said he plans to speak to his deputies with a message of hope and resilience. He will tell them the majority of families still support the badge.

The images of the horrifying aftermath, though, are becoming all too familiar.

“I think it’s worse than I’ve ever seen it .I’ve been in this industry since the 70s,” said Sheriff Snyder.

They are malicious and random acts of violence against law enforcement simply for wearing the badge. “I’ve never seen anything quite this profoundly anti-police."

Snyder is once again searching for the right words for his deputies after yet another tragedy.

“The vast majority of people out here appreciate what we do. They respect the risk that we take and they know that they can’t live their lives in peace and safety without our sacrifice."

This most recent tragedy hit the sheriff hard. The Gilchrist County sheriff is a friend.

“I saw the pain in his face when he was talking about his deputies,” said Snyder. “I could only imagine what I would feel like if those deputies, if that tragedy had hit here.”

“It could be at a stop light or or literally walking in and out of the Sheriffs Office,” said Deputy Kevin Fritchie, who has been in law enforcement for the last 15 years.

“You never know what you're going into or what or what you’re going to encounter.”

That unexpected danger has him always on alert, but especially after Thursday’s shooting in Gilchrist.

"If it can happen there it’s going to happen here. It’s not if its when.”

Sheriff Snyder said he texted Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Shultz and has offered to send deputies to assist in the midst of this tragedy.