Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Law enforcement means serve and protect

The Examiner
William Heuisler
Law Enforcement should always mean serve and protect citizens...always.

Think about it: Jose Guerena would probably be alive today if Sheriff Dupnik’s multi-agency SWAT team had called the Tucson police for advice.

Case in point: Last Saturday a few Tucson police officers had a problem with a man with a gun in a house. There were five or six regular beat cops, no armored vehicles, no sirens, and no smashed-in doors. No bullets sprayed the neighborhood. They wounded the man and rendered aid. Nobody died.
According to KGUN 9 TV News, Tucson Police Officers went to a house and located a suspect, who threw a large rock out a window at officers and was generally uncooperative. Apparently the mother contacted police and warned her son was possibly armed with a rifle. Police say, as they were relaying information via radio, the suspect pointed a rifle at officers from inside the home. http://www.kgun9.com/news/local/133296763.html

SWAT was not needed. Police Officers backed away and waited until back up, in the form of three more officers, arrived. Ten minutes later, about 12:45, the suspect pointed the rifle at officers again. One of the officers shot the suspect. Tucson Police officers quickly administered first aid until paramedics arrived to take the suspect to a hospital. Nobody died.

Compare this with the Jose Guerena killing six months ago. Remember how, in service of a daytime search warrant, Guerena’s door was broken down and a dozen SWAT officers fired 71 shots into the house – all in less than a minute. The dying former United States Marine lay in his hallway for more than an hour before any public servant even attempted to render him aid.

Police are supposed to serve and protect. Most law enforcement officers serve the public unselfishly and with day-to-day heroism. The May 5th lapses and reactions of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department were due to police militarism, incredible mission overkill, and a serious lack of training.
Guerena died during service of a search warrant. He did not point a weapon at anyone. He bled out in his hallway while dozens of Sheriffs Deputies and paramedics watched from a safe distance.

But Sheriff’s and Pima County Attorney investigators say Officers were not at fault in the Guerena killing. One said Guerena pointed a rifle, and all the officers shot 71 times in self-defense. Apparently Deputies and Paramedics were too afraid for their safety to check Guerena’s condition for an hour.
Next search warrant, Pima County SWAT should call a few Tucson patrol officers. 

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