Line-of-duty deaths not deterring local law enforcement hopefuls

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GRAYSON COUNTY, Tex. (KXII) -- The officers down memorial page says 144 officers died in the line of duty in 2018.

That's up twelve percent from 2017.

The majority of officers who died last year were either shot or fatally injured in car or motorcycle crashes.

But for Denison and Sherman police departments, that statistic has not deterred people from wanting to join the force.

"We put the uniform on every day and we leave the house. We understand that there's a chance we might not come back," said Sgt. Brett Mullen of Sherman Police Department.

2019 is on track to have a higher number of law enforcement deaths than 2018.

When Texas and three other states led the nation in line-of-duty fatalities.

"Anytime we lose an officer, no matter what the situation is, it's very sad. It's a loss," said Lt. Mike Eppler with the Denison Police Department.

For officers in Grayson County, that loss hits home.

"It's always heartbreaking because we do the same job that they do. We know what they go through," said Mullen.

As a 41-year member of law enforcement, Denison police lieutenant Mike Eppler says the up tick in officer deaths is cause for concern but it hasn't stopped people from wanting to join the force.

"A lot has changed as far as perception from the public but by and large it's still a very honorable profession. People respect us. It just seems like at times we hear more about the negative instead of the positive," said Eppler.

In Sherman, the police department is looking to fill two officer positions.

Mullen says he expects no problem finding interested candidates.

"We will gladly run into harm's way to protect people. That's what we do as police officers," said Mullen.

In Denison, they don't have any openings.

"Law enforcement is a calling, it's not a job and when it's in your heart, you're going to get up and you're going to do it," said Eppler.

To the officers, the safety of the community is an even trade for their own.

One of the officers killed this year already was in Comal County, Texas.

No Oklahoma law enforcement have been killed in the line of duty in 2019.