Monday, five Lubbock police officers made the drive to Dallas to support those mourning the loss of the five Dallas law enforcement officers killed by a gunman Thursday.
Assistant Chief Jon Caspell made the trip along with four members of Lubbock Police’s Honor Guard. Caspell explained that the Dallas Police Association asked them to help with carrying out the vigil for the five fallen officers which took place Monday evening outside Dallas City Hall.
“The best way we know to show support for them is something personal, to look them in the eye, say ‘I’m sorry for your loss,’ shake their hands, and say we’re here for them,” Caspell explained.
Caspell added that he felt sad watching the vigil unfold, but he also felt humbled to see the overwhelming support for law enforcement officers in Dallas.
“These are our friends, these are our brothers at another law enforcement agency that are hurting, you know their hearts have been broken and we want to do what we can to support them and help them,” Caspell said. “Our honor guard team has actually brought a couple of different uniforms and we’re prepared to help, so if [Dallas Police needs] help with monitoring calls or if they need help with some traffic situation while we’re here we can help.”
These LPD officers are also planning to attend each of the memorial services for all of the Dallas officers who were killed last week.
“When these attacks happened, we felt an instant connection to [Dallas Police],” Caspell said. While Dallas and Lubbock may look far apart on a map, Caspell said that in the police wold, LPD considers Dallas their neighbors. “They are one of the major law enforcement agencies in the state, and we have a lot of friends in the Dallas Police Department as well as on the law enforcement agencies on the Dallas metropolitan area. It is just something that really struck home with us.”
Lubbock Police Chief Greg Stevens explained that it’s common practice for LPD to send officers to funerals of other Texas law enforcement officers who’ve been killed in the line of duty. But he added that the this week’s memorials hold a special weight for the Lubbock police officers in attendance.
Stevens is hoping to manage his duties in Lubbock so that he can attend several of the memorial services in Dallas. He explained that while most officers want to help their fellow agencies, it can be tough to leave the work which still needs to be done in their own communities to do so.
The Dallas shootings highlighted some of the risks in modern police work for Lubbock Police and other departments around the country.
“We’ve been monitoring the national news and statewide news and making sure that we’re ready and prepared to up our man power if we need to, to change our posture if we need to,” Stevens said. “We’re certainly on a heightened state of alert.”
For Lubbock officers, that state of alert is eased some by the outpouring of support they receive from their community, especially in the wake of the Dallas shootings.
“We enjoy a greater feeling of support in Lubbock, Texas, and I can tell you it wasn’t really surprising how much people immediately began to reach out and immediately began to show so much support and so much gratitude,” Stevens said. “But it sure felt good.”
Stevens is hoping that the visiting LPD officers can share some of the love and support they’ve received with their fellow officers in the Dallas area.
“There’s a lot of people to keep in our thoughts and prayers and to support and make sure they know that we’re behind them 100 percent,” he said. “But also, [we should] take a moment and be thankful for how good we have it in Lubbock, TX.”