A U.S. Senate hearing on police safety has focused on the shooting death of an Iowa State Trooper.
Zach Anderson was a Grundy County deputy last year when Patrol Sergeant Jim Smith led a tactical team to confront a man barricaded in his Grnndy Center home.
“He was waiting for us with a shotgun,” Anderson said, pausing as he was overcome with emotion, then continued: “He fired two shots, striking and killing Sergeant Smith…I remember shouts: ‘Jim! Jim!’…Two officers were trapped in the basement and the subject began making threats to kill us all.”
Anderson considered leaving law enforcement, but is now a Cedar Falls police officer. “The words I heard and the events I witnessed will be with me for the rest of my life,” Anderson said. “Not a day goes by that it doesn’t cross my mind.”
Anderson told senators more must be done to protect police and provide more counseling after attacks like the one he survived. Anderson credits his wife for encouraging him to talk.
“Today I can tell you that I’m doing OK,” Anderson said, “but I know that others are not.”
Anderson said the man who killed Sergeant Smith had “a hatred of law enforcement” that “ramped up” in the current environment and Anderson called on senators to play a role in changing attitudes.
“I ask you today to lead like Jim by defending us, protecting us, caring for us and validating the work we do as law enforcement officers,” Anderson said.
Senator Chuck Grassley, who invited Anderson to speak at the hearing, said there’s “too much hostility” toward law enforcement. “This is a growing crisis,” Grassley said during the hearing, “and there’s much that congress needs to do to address it.”
A Michigan sheriff, the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Baltimore’s police commissioner and a Chicago policeman who survived a shooting also testified during today’s hearing.