Alameda County Sheriff's sergeant gives insight into job during ride-along

Byby Melanie Woodrow KGO logo
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Alameda Co. sergeant gives insight into job during ride-along
"I think that a lot of people don't really understand what this job is all about." An Alameda County Sheriff's sergeant gave ABC7 News insight into the job and threats law enforcement faces during a ride-along on Monday.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Tense and sad. That's how local law enforcement officers describe patrolling right now after police in Dallas and Baton Rouge were targeted and killed. We rode along with Alameda County Sheriff's deputies on Monday during this tense time in America.

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The Transit Crimes Unit is unique in that it operates in the city not just the county. Sheriff's deputies say usually the greatest risk when making a vehicle stop is from whoever is inside the car. But there's a new dynamic, and these deputies are also concerned about who may be around them.

Sgt. Rob Evans has been with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office 15.5 years.

"I get sometimes fractions of a second to make a decision, thinking about state law, federal law, constitutional law, my policies and procedures, while I'm trying to determine if you're trying to hurt me," he said.

Lately, the mood in the field has changed.

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"A tremendous amount of tension," he said.

Friction between residents and law enforcement is at an all-time high following the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

"It would help if the community had a little more understanding of what this job is like," said Evans.

The ambush of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge translates to a new threat for law enforcement.

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"Down here at the ground level things are not getting better they're getting worse and everybody is just watching," he said.

Evans says people he stops seem more brazen.

"I think they're looking for a confrontation with us so that they can get it on camera and that is not helpful for us and that is not helpful for anyone," he said.

On Monday afternoon, deputies arrested an alleged prostitute and alleged John spotted near International Boulevard by undercover agents.

No one arrested was armed.

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"The scene was secure and safe here," said Evans. "But as you can see, we're in uniform in a marked car and who knows what other people's intentions are."

Evans says trying to secure the scene and maintain situational awareness can be tough. Everyone left this scene safely.

"I would say the biggest indicator of how an event is going to go for everyone's safety is if we get compliance," he said.

Evans notes that making sure his deputies and the people they interact with both get home to their families is paramount.

Click here for full coverage on the Dallas police shooting and click here for full coverage on the Baton Rouge police shooting.