Cedar Park PD chief talks about what has/hasn't changed since Dallas police attack
Cedar Park Police Chief Sean Mannix remembers exactly where he was, when a gunman targeted Dallas police officers one year ago. "I was actually out on my patio with my dog," he said. "I actually got a text from my state representative to turn on the TV." What unfolded after that was hours of horror that left five officers dead, as well as the lone gunman who was killed by a police robot.
A year later, July 7 is a somber anniversary. Governor Greg Abbott is calling for Texans to stand with law enforcement to remember those fallen officers. And Chief Mannix sat down with CBS Austin to reflect on what has changed for law enforcement in the last year, and what still contributes to continued violence.
"Since Dallas there's been a big push to offer more protective equipment to police officers including state funded grants," Chief Mannix said. Cedar Park ordered that protective equipment, like vests and helmets that can withstand rounds from a rifle, in the months before the tragedy in Dallas.
"But when we got it, it was under the mindset of we would don that gear while protecting other people," said Chief Mannix. "The reality became we might be donning that gear to protect each other."
Last week's killing of a San Antonio police officer, and the deadly ambush attack on a New York City police officer Wednesday shows there is still a threat. "We live with the recognition that anything could happen in any place," Chief Mannix said. He blames news media, social media and word of mouth, at least partly, for pitting police against people. "People, I think sometimes is look at one incident and do this transference across an entire profession," he said, adding that he hopes people stop holding the entire profession responsible for the actions of one bad cop, or one badly managed department.
In Cedar Park, however, the chief says officer morale is high, thanks to community support and support from department leaders. "They're asked to go do a hard job and they live with the knowledge that they're supported by their management staff."
Governor Abbott is asking all law enforcement to turn on their red and blue lights at 10 a.m. Friday, in a show of solidarity.