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Oklahoma Police Officers On Edge Amid Deadly Attacks Nationwide

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The Oklahoma City Police force is the largest in the state and has seen its share of praise and critiques. The Oklahoma City Police force is the largest in the state and has seen its share of praise and critiques.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The Oklahoma City Police force is the largest in the state and has seen its share of praise and critiques.

Many of their friends and family members have recently picked up signs to show their support in light of recent events.

“Yeah, we are a little bit alarmed about this,” said Captain Paco Balderrama. “Anytime you have officers killed it’s a situation where somebody loses their life while they are serving their community.”

The captain says their officers know they always have to be vigilant when patrolling the streets.

And he admits that is more important now than ever before.

But, Captain Balderrama adds you have to keep things in perspective - since they usually see a lot more support for their officers than they do hate.

“Yeah we do get a negative comment every once in a while - somebody who has something negative to say about law enforcement,” said Balderrama. “But the vast majority are positive and they are supporting us, and I believe that's just Oklahoma.”

In Edmond, local business owner Victoria Woods was handing out signs of support for her local police force in front of her Chappelwood Financial Services office located on 15th Street.

9/3/15 Related Story: Metro Business Owner Handing Out Signs To Support Local Police

And it caught on quick. Not only did people want a picture with the sign, they wanted a sign of their own! So she ordered hundreds of smaller signs to give away.

“I want to see them in every neighborhood, I want to see them in every business, I want to see them everywhere,” said Woods.

One of the people who came by to pick up a sign was the mother of an Oklahoma City police officer, who wanted to thank Woods for her support, and to pick up a sign.

“We think that's great,” said Balderrama. “We appreciate that, we appreciate the public support.”

Despite this show of support, police officers and their families across the state and the country are on edge.

“It’s unprecedented what this generation of law enforcement is facing,” said John George, who represents the local Fraternal Order of Police in Oklahoma City. “We've never seen it like this.

George says he’s been an officer for 25 years and has known the risk that goes with the job, but says it’s different in today’s current climate.

“Every officer knows when you put on your uniform and go to work there's always that chance - and you understand that and you deal with that. But now it’s more that we are targeted because of who we are, because of the badge we wear, the uniform we wear,” said George. “And it has nothing to do with the enforcement action we are taking at the time. I think they (officers) are worried. I think they are worried they'll be targeted.”

Edmond Police Chief Bob Ricks agrees.

“We're hearing a lot of other agencies saying I don't want my children to be police officers right now,” said Ricks. “So we're dealing with a troubling environment - but we will get through it”.

Ricks has more than 40 years of law enforcement experience and even worked for the FBI. He says he's already seen the impact on the number of people applying to be police officers in Edmond as a result of the recent attacks on law enforcement officers around the country. But he says he’s seen this before.

“I was in California during the late 60 and 70s - where we had a similar episode that occurred,” said Ricks. “A lot of it grew out of the Vietnam War, but you had groups that used that as an opportunity to format revolution and they thought that attacking police that that would separate the police from citizens and this somehow would lead them to power. And you see a lot of that going on again. We understand that there's this thin blue line that separates normal behavior from almost anarchy and it’s the police.”

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