Growing concerns among police wives about officer safety

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(KPLR) One local police wife said it “felt like a pit” in her stomach when she learned a St. Louis Metropolitan Police sergeant had been shot.

She is not alone.

Many law enforcement families say the climate has changed, expressing growing concerns against officers.

“Our officers are now targets. Targets of crime,” Shannon Dandridge said. Dandridge is the crisis communications manager for the St. Louis Police Wives Association.

Dandridge was alluding to the most recent case in south St. Louis, where authorities say a veteran police sergeant was ambushed and shot Sunday evening.

The incident is one of many recent ones that have the spouses of officers anxious.

'The climate lately. The number of officers, especially here locally, that we have seen injured. And the violence toward police,” SLPWA Vice President Barbara O’Connor said.

The SLPWA provide a show of support the families of officers injured or killed in the line of duty. Cases include Ballwin Police Officer Michael Flamion, Hazelwood Police Officer Craig Tudor, and most recently, St. Louis County Police Officer Blake Snyder, who was shot and killed while responding to a call.

O’Connor said local police chiefs have been very receptive to wives’ concerns. She said both groups met recently.

“Something that stuck with me from that conversation – it was very powerful – was, ‘We invest in the best equipment. We look at our scheduling. We make sure that we have two officers go on every call,’” she said, alluding to the chiefs’ responses. “’But I’ll be honest with you. If someone is intent on ambushing an officer, I can’t prevent that or predict that.’ And that was a really hard pill to swallow.  And just being reminded there’s nothing that can prevent this, except for the people who are out in the community and need to have a respect for law enforcement.”