East Texas sheriff says changes will need to be made, with them and community

Published: Jul. 18, 2016 at 2:27 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 18, 2016 at 2:41 AM CDT
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Dallas Memorial (Source: KLTV NEWS STAFF)
Dallas Memorial (Source: KLTV NEWS STAFF)
Shooting in Dallas (Source: WAFB)
Shooting in Dallas (Source: WAFB)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - One East Texas sheriff's office says they had just finished going to the funerals for the five officers killed in Dallas. Now, they say they will have to unfortunately go to several more, after the recent shootings in Baton Rouge.

Back in March, the Smith County Sheriff's Office says they were in a situation where shots were fired back at them during a pursuit.

READ MORE: Smith Co. deputies involved in high-speed chase with Altima driver

Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith says there are changes they will have to make, as well as some they need the community to do, now more than ever.

"I've never seen this. I've talked to individuals that've been in law enforcement almost as long as me and none of us can remember it getting this bad," says Smith.

Sheriff Smith says changes will probably happen when it comes to life-threatening calls.

"And we're probably going to have to have more enforcement, more people responding to single situations like that, and some of the second, priority two, three, four calls will just have to wait a little bit," says Smith.

Smith's point of officer safety, illustrated back in March, where even more gunshots were fired, this time, at Smith County deputies on a pursuit.

"We've got to sit back and we've got to watch our officers' backs as they're out there, taking care of the call. We're going to unfortunately have some other officer there watching their back," says Smith.

Sheriff Smith says the change doesn't need to only come from them.

"In the four years nearly that I've been going to Commissioners Court every Tuesday morning, begging the commissioners for this or that for law enforcement, I've seen very little, minimal support, to support what we're trying to do here at the Smith County Sheriff's Office," says Smith.

"Quit worrying about everything else, if everybody else gets involved in their communities everything will come across like it needs to," says Smith.

It's a hope for better communities echoed by Justin Eakin, with the Smith County Sheriff's Office, who went to the final Dallas funeral. He says it's a job they're not planning to stop.

"That's what we do, you know. We're out there protecting people, you know, even if it costs us our lives. It's something that we chose to do, it's something that we love to do. I mean, you have to have a passion to help people and care for people in order to do this job," says Eakin.

Sheriff Smith says he doesn't want to infringe on anyone's second amendment rights, but says he plans on speaking with local sheriffs to help bring legislation up that will prohibit people from carrying at protests that may become violent.

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