BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Law enforcement agencies across the country, including here in Baltimore, have been receiving a number of threats in light of recent police shootings of civilians.
Frayed relationships between police and the community have local departments on high alert amid concerns that some of those making the threats intend to make good on them.
The rift between local law enforcement and the communities they’re charged with serving and protecting was underscored once more following a deadly standoff between Baltimore County Police and a Randallstown woman.
What started as an attempt to serve a bench warrant on 23-year-old Korryn Gaines on Monday ended in gunfire. A roughly seven-hour standoff left the mother fatally shot by police and her son hospitalized.
“This was a highly unusual incident,” said agency spokesperson Elise Armacost. “We know it has aroused a lot of passion and emotion.”
Baltimore County Police said they have come under fire since the shooting and have received an unprecedented number of threats, including those made to specific officers and officials.
“We are dealing in a very volatile time when officers are under threat,” Armacost said. “We have great concern about these lone wolf attackers.”
Armacost alluded to the ambushes targeting police officers in Dallas, Baton Rouge and San Diego — all within a matter of weeks.
Last month, a lone gunman carried out an attack that killed five officers following a peaceful “Black Lives Matter” protest and march through Dallas. The suspect, who was later killed by police using a bomb robot armed with explosives, told investigators before his death he would not relent and had specific motives in mind.
“The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” said Dallas Police Chief David Brown.
In light of the recent violence, law enforcement agencies nationwide have been stepping up security measures, including having officers double up for routine calls.
Security expert Rob Weinhold, chief executive for the crisis management firm Fallston Group, said it’s for good reason.
“The threats are real, they’re legitimate,” said Weinhold. “We’ve seen lives lost, and I think law enforcement personnel need to do everything possible to prevent future tragedy.”
Weinhold said there’s never been a more crucial time for policing as the stakes grow higher than ever.
“The stakes have never been higher in terms of personal safety and how officers are trained and supervised,” he said.
In the wake of Monday’s shooting, which has many in the community on edge, Baltimore County Police have called for the public to remain patient until the investigation surrounding it is complete.
So far, police have not released the name of the officer who killed the child’s mother, who had been wanted for failing to appear for a court date related to disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges related to a traffic stop.