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Safety Changes after Murder of Two State Troopers
Written by Nicole Porter
Last updated on August 29, 2013 @ 6:27PM
Created on August 28, 2013 @ 5:31PM

It was one year ago on Wednesday when a simple traffic stop turned deadly.

That's when a 22-year-old Fayette County man, who was handcuffed, was still able to shoot and kill two state troopers. A deputy and a tow truck driver were also wounded in the tragic events before the initial gunman was killed.

5 News spoke with local police officials to see how things have changed in the law enforcement community since the shooting. They said some agencies have actually changed protocol, while others are more cautious about reinforcing rules that have already been in place.

On August 28, 2012, Luke Baber was pulled over along I-79 near the Clay County and Roane County line. He was apparently drunk in a stolen pickup truck, was arrested, searched and placed in the back of a police cruiser.

However, officers missed a hidden gun and that's how investigators claim Baber was able to shoot Trooper Eric Workman and Corporal Marshall Lee Bailey.

Since the shooting, some departments, including the West Virginia Sheriff's Association, changed their rules to require all officers to wear bullet proof vests. Others have reiterated safety procedures with their officers.

"It's always a safety issue when you're bringing someone in that they've not been padded down properly or while processing them, with their fingerprints and photographs, that they could get your weapon, so, we have a policy against processing a prisoner while armed," said Bridgeport Police Chief John Walker.

Chief Walker said that while most officers know the safety rules, they like to reiterate them just so officers don't get into a careless routine or forget something. He added it's important to follow them every time because one simple mistake could turn into a tragedy.

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