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Central VA officers concerned after nationwide ambush attacks

Updated: Nov. 21, 2016 at 6:53 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Police department leaders are telling officers to be extra vigilant while on patrol as the number of ambush-style killings of police officers has increased dramatically.

Just this weekend, in a 24-hour period, four officers were shot. One officer died and at least two appear to have been targeted.

Richmond experienced it earlier this year, when Trooper Chad Dermyer was ambushed and gunned down at the Greyhound bus station.

"They signed up to serve and protect, they didn't sign up to be executed for doing their job," says Kelly Wince, founder of United for Blue.

Wince is the wife of a former Chesterfield officer who now works in Washington, D.C. and says people should be outraged.

"Everybody should be yelling stop doing this!" she said.

The most recent numbers by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund says nationally, 20 officers have been killed in ambush-style shootings this year. The organization says that's a 233-percent increase compared to the same time last year.

"I'm angry because this shouldn't be happening," says Wince. "To be sitting at a lunch table, or to be sitting at their car doing a report or giving somebody a ticket, and somebody driving up to them and shooting them just because of the uniform that they're wearing. That's what I'm angry about."

Wince says now police departments are having a hard time retaining and recruiting officers. She says media coverage and underlying tensions in some communities have fueled the attacks.

"A lot of the officers are saying I had enough," says Wince. "I don't want to do this anymore. The risk is too high."

Wince's non-profit, United for Blue, encourages public support for officers by strengthening the relationship with the communities they serve. She urges anyone who has a negative view of police to go on a ride-along.

"Go do a ride-along and see what they do," she said. "See what they go through every night, and how they serve and protect you."

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund also says 60 officers have died from being shot this year.

NBC12 reached out to various police departments asking what is the response after these attacks.

From Richmond Police:

Precinct commanders and Command Staff have taken the opportunity during meetings and Roll Call briefings to remind officers of the importance of being vigilant and aware of their surroundings while on patrol. Community policing, officer accessibility and engagement remain the strongest pillar of Department philosophy. However, we constantly reinforce the importance of officer safety with our Department personnel.

From Chesterfield Police:

We provide continuous information to our officers regarding these nationwide events so that they may be alert to potential situations and take appropriate precautions. However, we respectfully decline to comment on specific instructions and tactics we discuss.

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