San Diego law enforcement on high alert after Dallas shootings

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SAN DIEGO -- Law enforcement agencies across the country and here in San Diego are warning their rank and file to be vigilant in the wake of the deadly shootings in Dallas that claimed the lives of five police officers.

Flags at half-staff, police and law enforcement across the county of San Diego are in mourning.

In the wake of the rising tensions over the deaths of black men at the hands of police in Louisiana and Minnesota and the murder of five police officers in Dallas Thursday night, Police departments across the country and here in San Diego County are putting their officers on alert and mourning the deaths of those who died while on duty in Dallas.

“This is as you can imagine a very sad time, a very challenging time to be a police officer,” said San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman.

Zimmerman says her top priority is to ensure the safety of her officers. She said she's monitoring the events in Dallas very closely.

“Hits extremely close to home and our officers are on heightened awareness with everything that’s going on in Dallas…and we did team our officers up so everyone had a partner, as they went about their duties," Zimmerman said. "And I will tell you our officers -- their resolve that we took that oath, to protect and serve -- is stronger than it ever has been. And this is the time we know that our community needs us the most."

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore says his heart goes out to the families of the slain officers. And though he wouldn’t detail the steps being taken to keep deputies safe, he says he’s very aware that uniformed deputies can become targets.

“I know there is so much anger, politics nationally, locally with very disturbing videos in the last year or two of officer-involved shootings, that tend to upset a lot of people but I think we have to trust the system that it will work, that they’ll be brought to justice, tried, and if appropriate convicted,” Gore said. “Let’s put what happened in Dallas in perspective, let’s keep each other safe, but keep our community safe and that’s the message. I don’t want to turn this, we can’t let this turn into an us against them -- then we all lose.”

In the South Bay, Chula Vista Chief Police David Bejarano says it’s been a tough 24 hours.

“It’s a high-risk occupation, a very dangerous occupation and they’re willing to sacrifice if they have to,” said Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano.

Bejarano says he’s pairing up patrol officers for safety and is reminding them to be vigilant.

“A tremendous responsibility that these officers have each and everyday and making that critical decision and it’s our responsibility to make sure they have the training, the equipment and the personal regard to make sure they’re safe so they can protect our community. It’s the most difficult job in the world. No doubt about it,” Bejarano said.

With big events like the All-Star Game and Comic-Con, Zimmerman along with the other law enforcement leaders are aware anything can happen and say they are prepared for anything.

All three leaders say their men and women in uniform put their lives on the line everyday and ask the community to show their appreciation for law enforcement when they do see them.

Gore released the following statement on the Dallas shootings:

"In light of the tragic events in Dallas last night, I would like to take a moment to honor the five slain and seven injured police officers. Please say a prayer for their families and loved ones as we support their department and the community of Dallas.

The brave men and women of that police department who ran into the face of fire to protect civilians while they themselves were suffering incredible loss and tragedy deserve our recognition and support. These are trying times and they test our resolve to hold onto the ideals that brought us to this profession and continue to drive us to do what's right.

This despicable act was committed against officers who were in place to protect the rights of those who were demonstrating against recent police shootings.

In these trying times of increased scrutiny and danger, I know that your vigilance will be heightened as we understand our own vulnerability. Our resolve will be strengthened as we continue to protect all citizens.

And we must continue to work to heal the divisiveness in our communities as we strive to be impartial in our policing. Do not let the events in Dallas and other parts of the country shake your commitment and resolve to protect the great citizens we serve.

Thank you and continue to be safe as we all take care of each other."

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