Law enforcement officers know risks, even when off-duty - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Law enforcement officers know risks, even when off-duty

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

As we know but may not think about, being a police officer can be very dangerous - even deadly. Recent incidents like the Friday night case where a Jefferson County deputy shot an alleged drug dealer and the fatal shooting of off-duty Birmingham police officer Keary Hollis are reminders of the risks officers face when they work to protect us.

Sometimes law enforcement officers know they're going into a dangerous situation. "Where somebody thinks they see somebody breaking into a neighbor's house or a potential robbery," said Sgt. James Guntharp with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

Other times, like a routine traffic stop, it might look safe but it's not. "You're having to watch your back to make sure someone is not stopping to help him, or that somebody is not running off the road and running over you," said Guntharp.

So why do they wear the uniform? "Because you want to help others," said Guntharp.

The Jefferson County sergeant says every deputy, every officer, goes to work every day knowing what the risks are. "We go forth. We do battle with evil. We put the bad guys in jail and make sure people are safe," said Guntharp.

When a deputy is off duty, they are really still on. Most carry their badge and their weapons with them at all times. "You go to take your child to school in the morning or pick them up. You're wearing your t-shirt and jeans but you've got your pistol because if you see a school shooting go down, uniforms or not, you're going to help those kids," said Guntharp.

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