In the aftermath of two attacks against state troopers, we’re reminded of the dangers they face everyday.
A normal day on the job conducting checkpoints can quickly turn life threatening.
“When a trooper stops a car, we never know exactly what the though or intent of the individual or individuals that we are pulling over are,” said South Carolina Lance Cpl. Joe Hovis. “So we are at a heightened sense of awareness, as we should be.”
Hovis tells 7News, South Carolina troopers are armed with equipment and are highly trained for any situation that may arise while in uniform. “Officer safety, defensive tactics, use of force,” he said.
However, sometimes that’s not enough.
Just this week, North Carolina Trooper Kevin Connor was shot during a traffic stop.
In South Carolina, a judge denied bond for Marcus Moreno. Moreno is charged with stabbing state trooper P.M. Wilkins. Wilkins is expected to make a full recovery.
“At this point in time, you almost feel helpless and probably the only thing you can do right now is just pray for the troopers family,” Hovis said. “And also for the family of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, as well.”
Right now South Carolina troopers work individually. However, some states have implemented 2 person patrols as an added safety measure.
In a phone interview with 7News, South Carolina Troopers Association Executive Director Mark Gosnell says the state has considered that option, but studies show it’s not practical.
“When you have a 2 person patrol… what it does is places the public is greater jeopardy, because what you are doing is you are reducing your patrol area because you have 2 troopers instead of 1 together.” Gosnell said. “Also you are increasing your response time.”
Hovis says South Carolina Highway Patrol is always looking to recruit new officers.