HCSO reacts to violent climate for law enforcement

Posted at 5:26 PM, Jul 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-18 17:26:39-04

Law enforcement officers shared how they’re feeling, out on the front lines, despite targets on their backs. Deputies said they do this job to interact with the community.

“The bulk of us are just trying to come to work and do a good job,” Deputy Monique Greco said. 

“I’m scared every day,” Deputy John Footman said. “Not scared in the sense that I can’t do my job but scared in the sense of I don’t want to get hurt, and I sure hate seeing people get hurt.”  

Footman leaves his wife and kids every morning to help others in the community.

“If we see someone in need, we step out to help,” he said.

After deadly attacks on law enforcement in Dallas and Baton Rouge, keeping the public safe seems more dangerous than ever. St. Petersburg police said they’re holding all-officer briefings. Pasco County and Polk County Sheriff’s offices, as well as Tampa Police, said they’re not making major changes to protocol. HCSO said they’ve made some changes.

“I’m not at liberty, obviously for security reasons, to discuss exactly what those are, but I can tell you that we have made some adjustments to the way we’re deploying our deputies,” Colonel J.R. Burton said. 

Deputy Monique Greco said being a black woman is part of the reason she joined the sheriff’s office in the first place. 

“What better way to show some of the little kids that are out in the communities, minority communities, to see someone who looks like them wear a uniform,” Greco said. 

Now she doesn’t want hate and attacks on law enforcement to make a negative impact..

“It makes us afraid to come to work, but at the same time, I feel like it gives us more empowerment that we have to come work,” she said. 

Deputy Footman wants the community to remember that he’s one of them. 

“Black, white, Muslim, Indian, whatever, you should look at the person as a human person with a heart,” Footman said.

The Florida Police Chiefs Association said they’re grieving for the officers killed in Baton Rouge. They’re asking people to put aside prejudice to fight for peace.