Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cop Killings up 54% from last year.

An alarming number has crossed my desk, cop killings are up 54% from last year. The latest killings of two officers in Odessa Texas along with a third fighting for his life from the same incident have added to these numbers. A healthy respect for law enforcement as well as the fact that officers can shoot back have often done more to protect officers than guns and bullet resistant vests. There is concern that these factors are on the decrease while the end result is the increase in those willing to shoot cops. In 2005 there were 59 gun related killings in the entire year. In 2006 the number decreased slightly with 52 officer killings. As of Tuesday 60 officers had been killed with guns, this number is up 54% from the same time last year. With 2 and a half months to go in the year, the year end total is due to be a sobering reminder to all officers of the need to be aware of your surroundings and to use the tactics and training you have all received to keep you from becoming one of these statistics.

128 officers from New Mexico are listed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.. At the State Memorial located at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy several new sections of granite have been added over the years to accommodate the ever increasing deaths in New Mexico. I have often thought that the location of the memorial was one of the best in the nation. It is located in the courtyard of the academy grounds just below the living quarters. Young officers from across this state are forced to see it every day. There is no better reminder of the need for young recruits to pay attention to their training and fully understand the career they are choosing to enter. Over the years I have seen several young officers decide the career is not for them and quit during the first year as they realize what they are getting themselves into. On the other hand those that stay and are able to adapt to the life changing career are in for one of the most rewarding careers you can have.

The top killer of officers has always been traffic accidents however through October 9, 2007 gunshots sit at 60 while traffic accidents sit at 61. In response the International Association of Chiefs of Police wants to re institute the ban on high caliber sniper rifles and armor piercing handgun ammunition in the U.S. as well as 39 other restrictions. Among those other 39 restrictions are the following proposals.

-- Congress, as well as state, local, and tribal governments,
should enact laws requiring that all gun sales and
transfers proceed through a Federally licensed firearms
dealer, thus ensuring that a mandatory Brady background
check will be conducted on the transferee.

-- Congress should enact an effective ban on military-style
assault weapons. (In early September, on the third
anniversary of the expiration of the previous Federal
assault weapons ban, four police officers were shot in
Miami, one fatally, by a criminal armed with an assault

-- Congress should enact effective bans on .50 caliber
sniper rifles and armor-piercing handgun ammunition.

-- Congress should enact legislation to allow federal health
and safety oversight of the firearms industry.

-- State and local governments should regulate and/or limit
the sale of multiple handguns as a measure to reduce gun

-- The Federal government should increase funding to ATF for
personnel and technical assistance to combat gun violence.

-- Congress should repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which
restricts the sharing on gun trace data.

-- State and local governments should mandate that every gun
sold comes with a local or security device that meets
minimum safety standards to help protect against accidental
discharge and misuse.

A report written by the International Association of Chiefs
of Police, which is available on the IACP's website at, was released at a news conference
on September 19 in Washington, D.C. IACP law enforcement
representatives, two U.S. Senators, three U.S.
representatives and the Mayor of Milwaukee stressed the
importance and urgency of the recommendations. Paul Helmke,
President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
attended the news conference along with other
representatives of the Brady Campaign.
Gun restrictions have always been contentious and many cops themselves are against gun restrictions because they are avid gun enthusiasts as well. I do not own a personal weapon although when working at a law enforcement agency I have always had a department issued weapon. I do hunt and for some reason have just never bought a hunting rifle. I usually borrow one from a friend or family member. I just keep saying I am going to buy one and then before I know it hunting season is here and I borrow one because its to late to buy one, sight it in and get used to it. At least that's the excuse I give myself. Actually I often forget to apply for a hunting license and then half the time when I do apply I do not draw a tag.

I have spoken before about my disgust with the Republican Party in the last 6 years. They claim to be the party of Law Enforcement and because of that many law enforcement organizations have backed Republican candidates. Yet the truth of the matter is the Democrats hold the record in recent years of actually voting for and passing Law Enforcement related bills and funding. The Bush Administration has killed the C.O.P.S. programs which were the brain child of the Clinton Administration. Under the C.O.P.S. Programs officers were provided bullet resistant vests, thousands of new police officers were hired and trained across the country and grants were plentiful for community policing and other similar programs. Police were placed in the schools and funded by federal grants. School officers are on a sharp decline since federal funding has ended for this program under the Bush Administration.

I believe in a citizens right to protect themselves and to own firearms. I also believe that reasonable restrictions, licensing and registration of firearms should take place. Those with mental disability's and criminal records should lose that right. I can think of no valid reason that Armor piecing bullets and sniper rifles should be sold in local gun stores. Fully automatic rifles and sniper rifles should only be sold with added restrictions and licensing if at all. We should look for reasonable solutions to allowing citizens to have the means for sport and self protection while still maintaining the ability to protect citizens and law enforcement from gun violence.

The only problem that would remain is determining what is reasonable. That should be easy enough. LOL.

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