TONAWANDA, NY - Officers are on a higher alert since the Des Moines shootings.
Two officers were gunned down early Wednesday morning in an ambush-style attack as they sat in their patrol cars at two different locations in Des Moines.
2 On Your Side spoke to two police departments in Western New York: Cheektowaga and Tonawanda. Both gave officers a morning briefing on the Des Moines shootings. And, in law enforcement, police say losing an officer anywhere is like losing a family member.
Sergeant Tom Allen is a 27-year veteran of the Cheektowaga Police Department. We drove around with him in his squad car, just hours after another police ambush.
REPORTER: How do events like that impact you personally and professionally?
"How it affects us, we're a little more vigilant, we make sure we're covering each other on calls, we're more aware of our surroundings," he said.
REPORTER: What about your family, are they concerned about you when you hit the streets?
"Yeah, the family is more aware of it, in what's going on, my wife and kids...they're more aware of what's going on, my wife has basically...you know said, 'just take care of yourself,'" Allen said.
Sergeant Allen says one way he protects himself is by carrying his service weapon while he's off duty.
"Occasionally depending on the situation, usually to and from work, you're more inclined to have your weapon," he said.
We also road around with Officer Amanda Taber with Tonawanda Police. She's been on the force for five years. She feels sorrow for the officers killed in Iowa.
"It makes you, just I guess, daily value your life and your family that you come home to," Taber said.
She's married to a Tonawanda Police officer.
"Part of you knows they're a great police officer at the same time you also know the dangerous situations that they're going into," she said.
REPORTER: For the average person out there, who does not know what it's like to be a police officer, how would you explain to them what it's like on a daily basis during these times?
"We're just regular people, we're here, we go through things that everybody else would," Allen said.
Some officers 2 On Your Side spoke to say they would feel more comfortable with two officers to a car. In Tonawanda, enough personnel is available to do this. Two officers to a car, has been a contentious idea with Buffalo Police and the Buffalo Police union -- the union wants two officers to a car, the department scaled that back earlier this year after the Dallas shooting. The Buffalo Police Department says it won't discuss its operations at this time.