Leland police chief responds to shootings

LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Leland police chief Mike James said he received a text message late last night telling him what was going on in Dallas. 

“Words just cannot explain how I felt, and how I feel now,” James said. “The law enforcement family lost five people last night in what is a senseless act. There’s no justification for what happened last night.”

James said he always urges his officers to be vigilant, but especially after something like the shooting.

“One of the things that we’ve changed is I told them I didn’t want them answering calls by themselves,” James said. “I want two cars, at least two cars more if we can, on every call, regardless of the nature of the call.”

He said that the change could slow down their response time a little because more cars would be tied up. But the chief said in a situation like this you just can’t take that chance by putting an officer out there by themselves. James said as more information about the Dallas shooting comes out, they will look at what protocols were in place and adjust from there.

“Yesterday was a sad day, not just for law enforcement but for all of us, every citizen in the United States,” James said. “I don’t know what it’s going to take to bridge that gap between law enforcement and the community right now.”

James said in Leland, his department tries to get out and talk with the public as much as possible.

“I’ve been doing this for 33 years now, and in my career I’ve never seen it this bad,” James said. “I’ve never seen anything like what happened in Dallas.”

James said this has been a difficult week for law enforcement with other officer involved shootings making headlines prior to Dallas. He said instances like that do not help the relationship between officers and the community.

“I do know one thing, speaking as a chief, we’re not going to tolerate behavior from our officers where citizens are being mistreated,” James said.

James went on to say that he believes the more officers interact with their communities the better the relationship will be and it will help to rebuild that trust.

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