With recent shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge heightening tensions across America, the Palo Alto Police Department has changed its staffing policy to ensure that no officer rides alone.
The policy, which took effect earlier this month, is a break from the norm of one-officer patrol cars.
"In the immediate aftermath of the Dallas incident, our personnel moved to two-officer cars for a short period of time so that they could always have a partner on scene with them," Lt. Zach Perron, the department's public-information manager, said by email.
The Palo Alto Police Department is one of many law-enforcement agencies across the country that have taken extra precautions. Police departments in New Orleans, Milwaukee and Cleveland all implemented policies for officers to ride in pairs after the ambush in Dallas, according to USA Today.
Perron said that the department has altered staffing levels in patrol cars in the past, based on different circumstances and the needs of the community and officers.
This change appears to be temporary and is linked closely to recent events. On July 7, five officers in Dallas were killed and 11 others wounded by a sniper in what police described as an ambush. The shooter, Micah Zavier Johnson, was ultimately killed by a robot armed with explosives.
Just days later, three police officers were shot and killed in Baton Rouge by a gunman who was later identified as Gavin Long. He was ultimately killed in a gun battle with police officers.
In both cases, the snipers appeared to be targeting police officers in response to recent fatal shootings of unarmed black men, incidents that were captured on video and prompted protests and outrage throughout the nation.
On July 5, Alton Sterling was shot point-blank while being pinned to the ground by two white police officers in Baton Rouge -- an incident that was captured by numerous camera phones. The following day, 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot to death in St. Paul, Minnesota, while he was reaching for his wallet during a traffic stop. The aftermath of the shooting was captured on video by Castile's girlfriend, who streamed the footage on Facebook.
Perron noted that out of an abundance of concern for Palo Alto officers' safety, the department will not be discussing its operational, tactical or staffing deployments.
"Our officers, like those everywhere, are remaining vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times," Perron said. "We are fortunate to work in a wonderful, supportive community, and we will continue to do our very best to foster positive, professional and safe interactions with everybody we meet."