JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The president of the Fraternal Order of Police said officer shootings are becoming far too common, and that he believes there's too much divisiveness in the air.
"Unfortunately, it's becoming the new norm, and a lot of that is the divisiveness and rhetoric that's allowed to be the narrative of the day," Steve Zona said. "These leaders and politicians are allowing this to happen and they need to stop and change that narrative."
For the first time since two Jacksonville police officers were shot, two killed near Orlando and two shot in Pennsylvania, News4Jax met with Fraternal Order of Police President Steve Zona.
Zona said the Jacksonville shooting in which officers killed 25-year-old Derrick Brabham was justified.
"That narrative of 'We shoot because we are afraid' is garbage narrative being extolled by the extremists," Zona said. "I don't even buy into that. That's not why we shoot, and it's not why the majority feel we shoot."
Police said Brabham first shot at officers after threatening to kill himself and his family. Zona said these are the types of incidents police deal with daily. He said the reality is that officers need better protective gear when handling highly dangerous situations.
"You can go good, better and best, and right now I think we have good equipment, but you're talking about the lives of the men and women here in Jacksonville and we want the best," Zona said. "A discussion needs to start to equip these officers with safety equipment that would protect them from the fire they suffered."
News4Jax spoke with the Brabham's father Saturday about what happened. He apologized to police.
Sunday, Zona acknowledged the apology and said he's sure the officers appreciate it.