December 2008 letters to APB E-mail

In fear for his life, Detective Smith defended himself by using his personal handgun to shoot his attacker and stop the threat. The suspect received non-life threatening injuries. The problem is that South Dakota authorities have charged Detective Smith, along with a Seattle Police Sergeant and two U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents with carrying a handgun in violation of their concealed weapons statute.

The South Dakota authorities are ignoring The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004 (H.R.218) which allows qualified law enforcement officers and retired officers to carry a concealed weapon in all fifty states. The City of Sturgis web site even informs visiting law enforcement officers that they are authorized to carry a concealed weapon under the above safety act! H.R. 218 was codified into law as 18 U.S.C. 926B/926C.

This is the law of the land and was recently reaffirmed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. This law must be defended! We cannot allow the safety of law enforcement officers and their families to be compromised by taking away their right to carry a concealed weapon. I am calling on all of you to please alert everyone in your organization. Please encourage them to write to their elected officials and the following South Dakota authorities to express their outrage at this situation.

Thank you for your assistance.

Jesse Sondrea, Meade County State Attorney
1425 Sherman St. Sturgis, SD 57785 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Larry Long, South Dakota Attorney General
1302 E. Hwy 14 Suite #1 Pierre, SD 57501 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it -

Sgt. Richard F. O'Neill President, Seattle Police Officers' Guild

Bosses making it worse?

I was lucky and honored to make the "elite" Emergency Service Unit of the New York City Police Department. Even though an injury forced me to retire early, I still keep in touch with many of the friends that I have met there. The recent tragic Taser situation which involved the Emergency Service Unit led to an immediate transfer and talk of charges for those involved. In the years of being a police officer, I have seen the common practice of transferring officers by the higher ups in that "puzzle palace" known as One Police Plaza.

This continuous attack on the officers by those at the top sometimes results in an officer doing the unexpected, which is to take his own life. Unfortunately, this has happened to one of the best lieutenants that I've had the privilege to work with. If the New York City Police Department re-evaluated the way they go about their disciplinary actions, maybe this lieutenant would still be here to take care of his family.

- Rich Troise (Ret.) Emergency Service Unit NYPD

State Police not the trainers

I wanted to point out an error from an article in the October 2008 issue. On page 12, "Academies Closing, Less Training Time," the author states in paragraph three that "the current fiscal crisis is forcing them to close several academies and reduce the amount of training they offer to officers and recruits."

In paragraph four it says, "With the exception of Boston, the Mass. State Police provide most of the training for recruits and in-service training for officers already on the job." In Massachusetts, the State Police do not provide most of the training for the majority of the municipal police officers. Municipal police officers attend regional academies that fall under the direction of the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC).

The MPTC is charged with all of the regional academies such as Lowell, Reading and the Transit Police. Troopers instruct on emergency driving training and sometimes on other skills at municipal academies such as OUI training but the overwhelming majority of the instruction is received from municipal police officers who teach for the MPTC.

In-service training also falls under the control of the MPTC. Some of the regional academies have closed recently and the Mass. State Police have developed an academy that will train municipal police officers. However, academies such as the one in Lowell will remain in operation and under the control of the MPTC, not the State Police.

- Mark Saia

Appreciate it!

Thanks to all of you at American Police Beat for publishing such a wonderful magazine. My husband and I have enjoyed American Police Beat since our son was killed in the line of duty in 2004. The article on page 52 of the October issue is wonderful - "Healing on the water." We are members of COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) not because we wanted to be members, but because our son gave his life in the line of duty.

We attend COPS' Parents Retreat each year, and come away with a feeling that we are not alone and confidence that we can make it through each day with the help of other parents who have lost a son or a daughter in the line of duty. Before my son was killed, we had never heard of Concerns of Police Survivors. We want to get the message out to all officers that if the unthinkable tragedy happens, COPS will be there to help; they will be their family.

Without the other survivors I can't even imagine where my life would be right now. So from the bottom of my heart thank you for running this article. I hope to see more articles about Concerns of Police Survivors. We will be attending the Parents Retreat at the end of October for the third year.

- Richard & Connie Barker Parents of Officer Clint Walker Prattville Police Department E.O.W. 1-14-04

Right city, wrong state

There was an article in the October edition concerning a recent vote by our City Council on a civilian police review commission.

First, let me thank American Police Beat for carrying the article but the story had the vote occurring in Columbus, Ohio, which is wrong. It was Columbus, Georgia. I would also like to let you know that the State NAACP President, Edward Dubose, sent a letter of complaint against me for my organizing and distributing the petition opposing the Commission.

His complaint called into question not only the way the petition was distributed and signed, but also raised questions about my ethics. He sent this letter a day before the vote in an attempt to taint the petition. Both the Mayor and the Police Chief said I had not violated any policy. With the exception of one TV station, WTVM, no media outlets or our local newspaper covered the false complaint made against me. Thank you again for your coverage on this issue.

I would love for it to be covered even more so people like Edward Dubose will think a bit before filing false complaints.

- Lt. Lynn Joiner Columbus, Georgia Police Department

Stop second guessing!

After reading the article "Use of force policies are getting a makeover" in a recent issue of American Police Beat, I felt compelled to share it with the officers of the Seattle Police Department. Reading about the ongoing politically-correct atmosphere in the profession makes me really appreciate my retirement. But this does not mean that similar political pressures were not applied during my 29-year career.

The APB article explains a new policy that was scheduled to take effect on June 1 in Austin, Texas, and reports that Austin police officials said they spent three weeks training officers and supervisors on the new response to resistance standards. What the response will include is having supervisors do an immediate and more thorough investigation on use of force incidents.

They want officers to more accurately document why any force was used. In addition, the Austin P.D. will have a Force Review Board that will evaluate use of force incidents. The APB article mentions that the policy changes are the result of an effort by police leaders who reviewed similar policies in other departments, including Oakland, Miami and Washington, D.C. One can only hope that the Seattle Police Department will not follow suit.

My greatest fear is that officers in those jurisdictions with these restrictions will hesitate before drawing their weapons in dangerous situations to avoid the exaggerated scrutiny of their work. Another worry is that the officers might interpret such new requirements as a message that their government and their department would just as soon have them avoid situations that might require drawing their weapon.

In other words, they may delay response until dangerous situations deescalate. Perhaps one day big city leaders will cease sending the message that it's better for law enforcement officers to refrain from aggressively performing their duties rather than taking the risk to stop a violent felon before he has a chance to hurt an innocent victim. P.S. American Police Beat is the best law enforcement magazine.

- Howard Monta (Ret.) Seattle, Washington Police Department

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