Crime - Sacto 911

Sacramento police return to two-officer patrols after Baton Rouge slayings

Police officers hang around the scene of a shooting that occurred this morning in at Del Paso Blvd. in North Sacramento on July 11, 2016.
Police officers hang around the scene of a shooting that occurred this morning in at Del Paso Blvd. in North Sacramento on July 11, 2016. ehiller@sacbee.com

The Sacramento Police Department has reinstated mandatory two-officer patrols after the fatal shooting of three officers in Baton Rouge on Sunday.

The same mandate followed the killing of five Dallas officers by a sniper earlier this month.

“(The mandate) is in light of the attacks on officers and the recognition that having two officers is safer if there is a potential threat,” Sacramento police spokesman Officer Matthew McPhail said Monday.

The two-officer mandate was first instituted for the Sacramento Police Department on July 9, a day after a gunman opened fire during a Dallas protest against recent shootings of black men, killing five officers and wounding others, McPhail said.

The mandate was lifted a week later, though officers still could choose to work in two-officer patrols, he said.

The events that unfolded Sunday in Baton Rouge – where three officers were killed and three wounded in what authorities called a targeted attack – led police officials in Sacramento to reinstate the two-officer patrol requirement, McPhail said.

He said the change wouldn’t alter the number of officers on patrol at any given time. Response times for calls – especially those that are high priority, such as homicides or domestic violence complaints – aren’t expected to change significantly, he said.

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McPhail explained that every call requires a different number of officers to respond. Property crimes, for instance, typically only require one officer and are given low priority, he said. Calls in which a crime is actively occurring or a weapon is involved require multiple officers to respond and are given a higher priority.

“The dispatcher doesn’t care if it’s two officers in one car or … in two different cars,” McPhail said.

Police have not established an end date for the requirement. Officials will be evaluating the effectiveness of the two-officer patrols throughout the week, McPhail said.

No credible threats against officers in the Sacramento Police Department have been made since the recent shootings, he said.

“We don’t know if this is going to be temporary,” McPhail said. “For right now, these are the orders.”

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets

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