Together, slain officers Ronald Jeter and Daniel Pope had about 10 years of experience on the force.
Officer Pope, 35, a six-year veteran, and Spc. Jeter, 34, a four-year veteran, are a reflection of the department as a whole. Sixty percent of the force has less than 10 years of experience.
With close to a third of the force of about 984 sworn officers eligible for retirement by the end of the century, the department's makeup is changing. A younger, more diverse, but less experienced force is evolving.
Since 1987, the last time someone killed a Cincinnati police officer in the line of duty, the city has hired about 500 officers, Police Chief Michael Snowden said.
He said Saturday that the latest tragedy felt like losing two children.
Other veteran officers felt a knee-jerk panic early Saturday upon learning that two officers were gunned down, because several have sons and daughters on the force.
While more experience may not have saved Officer Pope and Spc. Jeter, the youthfulness of the force is an issue of concern.
''Experience is important,'' police spokesman Lt. Tim Schoch said. ''But proper training is equally important.''
Cincinnati police say they're proud of the training they provide, but that nothing is foolproof. These shootings show that everyone is vulnerable, Lt. Schoch said.
And with so many officers who have never dealt with the killing of a fellow officer, there is another difference, Chief Snowden said.
Veteran officers have personal knowledge that the danger of the job is real, he said, while younger ones are just discovering the pain. ''It's something that will stick with them for the rest of their lives.''
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