INTERVIEW: LMPD Sgt. Phil Russell comments on police shootings in Dallas
Louisville Metro Police Sgt. Phil Russell joined WDRB's Sterling Riggs this morning to provide the local police perspective on the tumultuous events in Dallas. Here is what he had to say.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Five police officers in Dallas are dead at the time of this writing, and seven are injured, after snipers opened fire at a protest. Louisville Metro Police Sgt. Phil Russell joined WDRB's Sterling Riggs this morning to provide the local police perspective on the tumultuous events in Dallas. Here is what he had to say:
STERLING RIGGS: President Obama spoke earlier this morning, calling the killings a tragedy, calling them senseless murders. I want to talk to you personally about what you felt when you first heard the news.
PHIL RUSSELL: Oh it's -- you know, when one of us is hurt, we all hurt. We are a family. We serve our communities. There's something deep inside every police officer that says, "I want to serve and protect," and I think that when we know that we're there to protect the community and someone wants to attack us and assault us, I think it's not just an assault on police. I think it's an assault on our civil nature and what we have, and the freedoms we have here in America.
You know, we've reached and crossed kind of a threshold in law enforcement with this, because it's something we've never really seen, that we've trained for and warned about -- but to have an attack and an assault on officers in this way is very concerning.
STERLING RIGGS: Talk to me about the morale here in Louisville, for the Louisville police department. What are your fellow officers saying about the shooting in Dallas?
PHIL RUSSELL: Of course everyone is affected by that. We've asked officers to go ahead and -- given, kind of, the week's events, we had doubled up patrols anyway, and it helps them to process that with one another, and kind of walk that through. But you know, we have families here. We're embedded into this community. This is not something that we just go out to some foreign country. This is something that we're there to guard and protect neighborhoods, and we're protecting our families and our friends. And we take ownership in the beats that we serve. And our officers are great officers.
What's great about the heart of an officer is that, despite this type of thing, they will still press on, and they will still get up and put that badge on and that vest and that uniform on, because they know that they have a responsibility to protect the citizens of this community -- and we'll continue to press on and do that.
STERLING RIGGS: Speaking about supporting officers, how can the residents here in Louisville support officers when you see officers out on the street.
PHIL RUSSELL: I think it's really in many ways where we are in America -- whether it's trial by Twitter, or Twitter-shaming, social media-shaming, we've seen a lot of that. I think it's just being willing to step up and say, "We support our officers," but also to pat them on the back and say, "Officers, we appreciate you, we stand with you, we appreciate the effort and the sacrifices that are made."
The officers need the encouragement. We need it daily.
But you know what? Again, it is one of those things where we certainly would say, "Hey, pray." Do what you can. And there is a vigil today that the mayor and the chief are going to be a part of, at 11:45 outside of Metro Hall. We'd love for people to come and participate for that. Pray for peace for our city, but also for our nation.
STERLING RIGGS: Tough day for officers around the country -- especially here locally in Louisville. Thank you for what you do, and thank you for your time.
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