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Local Law Enforcement Leaders Express Sadness, Anger, Confusion, Over Latest Attacks on Police

Mike Mazzeo, president, Rochester Police Locust Club
Locust Club Website
Mike Mazzeo, president, Rochester Police Locust Club

Local law enforcement leaders are reacting to the recent attacks on police, first in Dallas on July 7, and Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where three officers were shot and killed and three others were injured.

"There's just a concern, actually, a loss of words” said Mike Mazzeo, president of the Rochester Police Locust Club. He said city police officers can only ask, “Where are we going next? What are we doing? There is almost a level of shock, I guess, that I would hope that everybody in this country would feel,"

Mazzeo said he's concerned about officers' safety in light of what he calls inadequate staffing levels in the RPD.  He said asked Police Chief Michael Ciminelli on Sunday to allow two officers to be in each car responding to calls.

And on Monday, RPD officials did announce that they have begun assigning two officers to patrol cars, instead of one, as a result of the shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas. A police spokesperson says that is not necessarily a permanent situation, and there was no immediate word how long that staffing will last. The department's tactical unit cars have always had 2 officers per car.

Greece Police chief Patrick Phelan has a different view. Phelan says based on the most recent attacks, people who wish to harm police would hope for multiple officers responding to call.

"They're looking for situations or creating situations where they can get as many cops as they can into one place, so there is no safety in numbers. There is actually peril in numbers.”

Phelan said the only tactical response officers can make is to treat every call as a potential ambush.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.