Treasure Coast law enforcement officers react to tragedies in Dallas, Baton Rouge

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jul 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-18 17:48:23-04

FT. PIERCE, Fla.-- On Monday afternoon, Sheriff Ken Mascara with the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office addressed a topic that he said is very concerning to law enforcement across the country.

"My shroud has been on my badge more this year than in all my 15 years," the sheriff said.

At least eight law enforcement officers have been killed within the past two weeks in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

The news, he said, hits very close to home.

"It does hurt. Every time we see something like this across the nation, it opens up old wounds for us, too," the sheriff said.

Three years ago, Sergeant Gary Morales was shot and killed while sitting in his car during a traffic stop.

In the wake of the tragedies in Dallas and Baton Rouge, the sheriff is asking deputies to double up on patrols when possible and urging them to be extra vigilant.

"Don't take any call for granted. If you feel something's not right and your sixth sense tells you it's dangerous go ahead and back out of there. We can re-approach with more man power if necessary," he said.

He said the department has been receiving notes and cards from the community in the wake of the attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

The sheriff read part of an email during a news conference on Monday.

It read, "People in the community are thinking about you, and your employees. I will continue to pray for you, your deputies and this great country."

Sergeant Dan Foote with the Martin County Sheriff's Office just got back from Dallas when he heard the news from Baton Rouge.

Sgt. Foote is in the honor guard and volunteered to go to several funerals in Dallas.

"My instant reaction was 'Here we go again with another tragic event.'"

He said the city was very thankful for all the support from honor guard members that travelled from around the country.

"They thanked us for being there for their city. They asked for hugs. They asked for photos," Foote said.

While many in law enforcement may feel vulnerable right now, Foote said this is the time to empower each other.

"We're all here for the same reason, we're all in this together, and we will always be here for one another. When things like this tragically happen, we all have one another and we can walk through this and finish strong," Foote said.