Philadelphia Police will likely work in two-officer units until investigators determine more information about exactly what transpired in Dallas Thursday night, after snipers from above opened fire on officers at the end of a protest, leaving five dead and seven others wounded.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross told NBC10 outside Police Headquarters Friday morning that the department hoped to put that measure in place to ensure officer safety as tensions over police shootings continue to build throughout the country.
"You watch in horror. Seeing those police officers being pinned down, first of all, not knowing what they're dealing with, which is absolutely scary," Ross said of the ambush in Dallas. "It's absolutely horrible and tragic, and your heart goes out to, obviously, that entire city, that department, but [also] the men and women who wear the uniform across this nation.
Ross said Philadelphia officers will work diligently to keep everyone safe during any additional protests in Philadelphia around the Black Lives Matter movement and against police-involved shootings.
Philadelphia has seen two large-scale protests through Center City already this week, with hundreds taking to the streets to demonstrate against the police-involved shootings in Baton Rouge and Minnesota earlier this week that sparked outrage. Some of the demonstrators display strong anti-police propaganda and signs. Twelve were arrested during a rally that blocked the ramp to I-676 in Center City Wednesday evening.
Ross echoed the shock waves that have reverberated through the American law-enforcement community and general public at the news of the shooting in Dallas, saying it was something nobody would have expected to happen at the end of a protest that had otherwise stayed peaceful.
"Who would've known that something like this would happen in Dallas? I'm quite certain nobody, despite their years of expertise, could anticipate that you'd get snipers at a protest," Ross said. "You can't get your brain around some of the chaos that's going on right now across this nation."
Ross praised Dallas officers' quick reactions to the sniper gunfire, many of which were documented on cellphone video.
"Those officers were still running toward that chaos," Ross said. "That speaks volumes to what they do for a living all across this country."