Deadly shootings could affect law enforcement recruitment


Cadets with the Red Rocks Community College Law Enforcement Academy practice shooting at the gun range.

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BOULDER, Colo. -- Three law enforcement officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty in Colorado in the last five weeks. Now sheriffs and police chiefs are concerned that could affect recruitment.

Friday, cadets with the Red Rocks Community College Law Enforcement Academy were practicing their shooting skills at the gun range.

"It's important because it`s not only going to save someone else's life, but it`s also going to save my life and my partner's life," cadet Breanna Dill told FOX31.

That's never been more important than right now because of the shootings.

"To be quite honest, I wasn't worried about it before, until just in the last week," Dill said.

She has good reason to be worried. The 32-year-old former Marine who was once restricted to a wheelchair, is also a single mother to an eight-year-old son.

"It scares me in a small way as a single mom, that one day my son may not have me come home."

Law enforcement leaders across the state are now concerned that those fears could affect recruiting and force qualified candidates to find other careers.

"We don't know. We've actually been asking each other that question," said Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle. "I know from experience that folks have those conversations with loved ones about the risks and whether this is a career they should pursue."

Sheriff Pelle knows that risk as well as anyone.  His son, Jeff, was shot in the deadly Douglas County New Year's Eve ambush and spent nearly three weeks in the hospital.

"In the past, people acknowledge that there is a risk that comes with this job," Sheriff Pelle said. "But it's worth it. It's a noble profession. It`s a fun profession. It's a calling to a lot of people."

The Boulder County Sheriff's Office is about at full-staff when it comes to deputies. But other agencies in Colorado are not.

The Denver Police Department recently set aside $1.8 million and hopes to add an extra 500 officers.


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