Police departments, especially in small communities and small counties, are like families. The officers work as a unit and departments protect in tandem with one another.
Sure, there are friendly rivalries between sheriff's offices, California Highway Patrol and police departments. But ultimately, everyone on the force is working toward the same goals together.
So when the two Santa Cruz Police officers were killed on Tuesday, it hit the Watsonville Police Department hard.
Watsonville Police Chief Manny Solano was out of town at a training with Capitola Police Chief Rudy Escalante—a former Santa Cruz Police officer—when he heard the news. A friend of his, a private pilot, flew to pick up both chiefs and had them on the scene quickly.
"We knew we had to get back," Solano said. "All we had on our minds was to get there and be there for Santa Cruz."
In catastrophic situations like Tuesday's shooting, Solano said the protocol is checking in with family and then getting to work.
"You kiss your wife and then you go help in any way you can," he said.
While Santa Cruz Police are set to go back to work Friday after a two-day break, Solano said that Watsonville PD is prepared to chip in for as long as necessary.
"A lot of us have close friendships with the officers who died," he said. "We're partners. We're all one. Right now our job is to come alongside them and be there for them."
Although everyone in law enforcement knows the dangers of the job, outcomes like those of the Tuesday shooting can still rock a police department.
"We're trying to keep our head in the game," Solano said. "We're human. It's going to be on our minds. The challenge will be staying focused on the issue at hand. We know what we're taking on when we put on this badge."