ALBANY, N.Y. – The shooting deaths of two New York police officers has law enforcement across the country on high alert.
New York officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot execution style in Brooklyn while they sat in their squad car on Saturday by a man who claimed to be seeking retaliation for the deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island, N.Y. and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
A former Troy police captain said their deaths could have a big impact on how officers do their jobs in the future, but some people hope any changes aren’t for the worst.
“This horrific act in New York City is going to have a huge effect on public safety and on law enforcement as a whole,” retired Troy Police Captain John Cooney said.
Cooney said what happened to officers Ramos and Liu is a perfect example of civil disorder pitting the community against the people empowered to protect them.
“It’s probably going to wear on the members of law enforcement that we now have to worry about being exposed to whatever type of harm with our backs turned,” Cooney said.
In the Capital Region, people like Merv Everett wishes the officers’ deaths will end the ongoing feud between police and the American public.
“I just hope that this really brings a tide over,” he said. “It helps the police and the community come together because it’s not good, man.”
But others like Michael Webb, of Troy, and Justin Farrell, of Albany, believe the deeper issue is the mistrust people have with law enforcement following the deaths of Garner and Brown.
“There’s still civilians that think that all officers, because of [the Garner and Brown] situations, they put them in one category,” Webb said. “So once you got a badge or uniform, you fit that.”
“Not all cops are bad,” Farrell said. “Two innocent people just doing their jobs shot in cold blood like that is just murder.”
“Maybe the deaths of the two New York City officers may have a greater cause in a sad way,” Cooney said. “To make people just take a look and say the police aren’t the bad guys here. It’s the system that needs to be changed.”
Cooney fears with the officers’ murders, police will now worry about a similar situation and always have it in the front of their minds.