(LEX 18) — "Shots fired. I'm hit. I'm hit."
It was an urgent call for help heard over the police scanners in Cynthiana last month when a KSP trooper was shot six times.
KSP reports he was shot three times in his ballistic vest, one hit his taser, one hit his radio, and one hit him. Over the scanner, you hear a woman say it hit his left chest area and went through his body.
"The one that's through and through is bleeding on his shoulder," heard over the scanner.
The trooper, who has not been identified, was rushed to a hospital in Cynthiana and later brought to UK Healthcare with a non-life-threatening injury.
Just eight days later, a Lexington Police officer was shot at a Shell gas station on Newtown Pike. Police said one bullet hit his ballistic vest and he was taken to the hospital with a non-life-threatening injury.
"First of all, I want to - thank officers - who perform bravely," Police Chief Lawrence Weathers said in a press conference after the incident.
According to the nationalFraternal Order of Police, these shootings are part of a trend of increased violence against officers around the country. They report that 346 officers were shot last year and 63 were killed by gunfire. They said ambush attacks on officers were up 115% compared to 2020.
"Nobody wants to get shot," Cynthiana Police Department Chief Doug Robinson said. "We're all afraid of that. Those that tell you that they aren't, aren't being honest."
Robinson said extensive training helps mitigate the fear officers feel because they're more prepared.
"Everyone feels fear," Robinson said. "It's just how do you control it and a lot of times, you can control fear through a lot of training."
Even so, he said there is still a mental health toll that comes with news of fellow officers being shot.
"We all feel it," he said. "Everyone with a uniform feels it. When you read it, you feel it. We project ourselves into that situation sometimes, like that shooting could have been me."
"An officer-involved shooting is not just an attack on an officer or a department," Nash said. "I think it's an attack on our society. The community doesn't want to see something like that to anyone. Not just police, but anyone, any shooting."
Over at the Georgetown Police Department, Captain Josh Nash said weekly check-ins with leadership help officers cope. He said mental health services offered by entities like KYPCIS and EAPs also help.
"Being there every week and talking to them lets them know that we have their back," Nash said. "We understand. We know what you're going through."
As for recruiting new officers, they said hearing about current officers being shot certainly doesn't help.
"I think it affects recruitment tremendously, but also I think it takes a unique individual to be a police officer," Nash said. "This job is not for everyone."
He said it's for those with the proper mindset, skillset, and heart to care for the community they serve and protect, as well as their fellow officers.