On Tuesday night, two police officers in Santa Cruz were shot and killed on a routine check – the first officers killed in the line of duty in the department’s history.
While Burlingame Police could not comment on the specifics of the case, they shed light on what the Department is doing to keep its own officers – and the public – as safe as possible.
“This job can be quite dangerous and sometimes there’s little you can do,” said Sgt. Don Shepley. “You put yourself in a very dangerous position.”
Still, there are steps taken to minimize the risks, said Shepley. All Burlingame police officers begin their positions with a field training and officer safety training.
There are currently 38 sworn-in officers, ranging from the Chief of Police to the newest recruits.
Then every two years, the officers are required to take an “active shooter training,” said Sgt. Shepley.
In the training, as mandated by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), they review which situations they should or should not use force, and what kind to use.
Then officers also have to undergo a quarterly range training, reviewing how to protect themselves and the public.
The Burlingame Police Department has never had an officer killed in the line of duty, said Sgt. Shepley, but about 10 years ago one was ambushed.
The officer approached a door and the person behind it began shooting.
If a person has the intent to ambush an officer – as occurred in Santa Cruz’ unexpected attack – Sgt. Shepley said that the officer may be unable to adequately defend themselves.
“When the investigators are done in Santa Cruz, they may find that there’s little that could have been done” said Sgt. Shepley. “You take the best precautions, but sometimes there’s little that can be done to save yourself.”
Still, Sgt. Shepley said he could not issue an opinion on the specific details of the incident in Santa Cruz.
“It’s unfair to issue an opinion,” he said. “There’s still a lot to come forward.”
Burlingame Police will be giving a presentation Wednesday night on how to prevent crime locally and keep the public safe.