Within the past year, Owensboro has seen nearly 180 violent crimes. Some people in the community are demanding change. Including the family and friends of Amarius Winstead, an Owensboro teen who was killed in a shooting this summer.
“Put the guns down. If you have a problem with somebody, fight. I’m not saying ‘go start a fight, but fight.’ you get to go home the next day,” says Robert Sawyer, a family friend of Winstead.
This conversation has been a popular one in Owensboro and Daviess County, but law enforcement says they are doing what they can to be proactive in high crime areas.
“There are officers that are out there trying to address particularly focusing on the violent crime. Trying to address that and to make contacts in the city,” says Owensboro Police Officer Andrew Boggess.
Thanks to a grant, the Owensboro Police Department will be upgrading all of their tasers, which will keep officers better protected.
“We want to make sure that every officer has equipment that’s properly working,” says Officer Boggess.
Also in order to protect firefighters, while working along with police during violent crimes, the Owensboro Fire Department recently bought 30 ballistic vests for their firefighters.
“We use them when we respond to any possible or known acts of violence. Our personnel will wear them, just to give them a little bit of extra protection,” says Battalion Chief Colter Tate.
Their firefighters respond to more medical calls than anything so these bullet-resistant vests will allow them to work in closer proximity to violent crime scenes such as murders and stabbings.
In the past, the firefighters had to wait until a scene was inactive before trying to save a life, now they can respond to an active scene as long as the direct threat has been cleared by police.
“We can, working with the police, get in there, be able to render care in a little bit more efficient and effective manner,” says Battalion Chief Tate. “So hopefully the outcome with whatever the injury is a lot better for that person.”
The sooner they can start life-saving care on a victim, the higher the victim’s chance of survival.