Risks During Officer Patrols in the Biggest Little City - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Risks During Officer Patrols in the Biggest Little City

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This week we told you about a sharp increase involving officer violence across the country, including a 24% increase in officer deaths over the past year.

We wanted to see just how dangerous an officer's job is while they are on shift here in our community. Channel 2 News followed two Reno Police Officers overnight on the swing and graveyard shift to see what kinds of crime they tackle in the Biggest Little City.

We saw everything from drug busts, to stops just to make sure people were safe. "Sometimes you're going to be put into dangerous situations. We have to place our safety below that of the people we are protecting,” said Officer Al Del Vecchio."

On Saturday, officers with the Reno Police Department were getting ready for another night on the job.

We were briefed in a meeting before we left, then hit the streets. The first shift was with Officer Al Del Vecchio, who has worked as an officers for 28 years. He patrols the west part of downtown and the east 4th street corridor. Del Vecchio tells us we can expect anything from carjacking's, to prostitution, robberies, stabbings, shootings, drugs busts and more. "In the dark a lot of times is where we find people doing illegal things,” said Del Vecchio.

While weaving through alleys and checking the dark places. We're told the biggest concern are the "unknowns” like when you approach a car on a traffic stop. You don't know who you're stopping or if there are any weapons. "The biggest risk is just the unknown. Guns, knives. I've heard of a few officers that have been attacked by dogs,” said AJ Barba.

Del Vecchio explains an incident of another officer.. "There was a young man in the back seat laying down who had a rifle pointed at the officer as he was approaching the vehicle. He pulled the trigger but the gun didn't fire."

Del Vecchio was also shot in the face by a suspect years ago, while he was responding to a traffic stop with another officer.

Next we started our overnight shift was with officer AJ Barba. He started out making sure people were safe downtown.  After that we got a call on a person trying to sneak illegal substances into a club. Barba showed us a test kit that used different chemicals to determine if the drugs were real and what type they were. "Each one of these viles is filled with a different chemical. At the end, if it's positive it will be kind of a half blue half pink color if that's in fact cocaine,” said Barba.

With risks involved on almost every call, officers rely on their training to keep themselves and the public safe. "We are trained to solve problems with the least amount of force necessary,” said Del Vecchio."No matter what we're doing we are helping people."

After shooting our segment with police,  they also responded to a stabbing, a man with a rifle in a local casino and a car-jacking. It just goes to show that anything can happen.


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