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Florida: The Deadliest State for Law Enforcement Officers

What do you think we should do to keep those who protect us safer?

As 2011 comes to a close, Florida has earned a dubious distinction: It’s the deadliest state in the nation for law enforcement officers.

According to The Tampa Tribune, 173 officers nationwide died while on duty in 2011. This is up 13 percent from 2010. Florida has had 14 of its police officers fall—making it the leader in law enforcement deaths in the country.

From the slayings of St. Petersburg Police Officers Jeffrey Yaslowitz and Sgt. Thomas Baitinger in January to the most recent death of Lakeland Police Officer Arnulfo Crispin, the Tampa Bay area has wept as five of its servants in blue have been shot to death in the line of duty. From Brandon and New Port Richey, to Land O’ Lakes and beyond, the officers’ slaying have affected our entire region, making some residents more appreciative of those who serve while others have become .

In February, New Port Richey man Jason Wilson opened fire on a police sergeant at a traffic stop but missed him.  . An investigation concluded that the two officers who fired at Wilson werejustified in the fatal shooting.

With 2012 just around the corner, Patch would like to know what you think about this distinction? What do you think we, as a community, could or should be doing to help keep those who protect us safer while on the job?

bobthe January 01, 2012 at 07:44 AM
any prison official will tell you that you are dead wrong. gain time is there for a reason. it's the carrot and stick approach to getting good behavior from inmates. it keeps corrections officers safe because most inmates have something to loose - their gain time. do you think judges are not aware of how the system works? if they want someone to serve say 10 years - then they give them 12 years and figure the inmate can be out in 10 with good behavior - otherwise they will serve the full boat. When there was more gain time inmates were elligible for, sentences tended to be longer. and this makes sense. an inmate that demonstrates he can follow the rules is better off in society sooner than one who only breaks the rules all of the time.
bobthe January 01, 2012 at 07:54 AM
to be realistic we dont need to do ANYTHING about the safety of police on the job. Not unless some specific common sense action comes up that is a no brainer. lets keep things in perspective. over half of all LEO fatalities are caused by traffic accidents, not criminals. 56% of all fatalities in 2010 were from accidents on the road. now look at the number of fatalities that were caused by criminals. A UPS delivery man is 250% MORE likely to die on the job than a police officer is likely to attacked by a criminal and die. A trash collector? 375% a roofer? 400% A farmer? 512% and to top it all off - a commercial fisherman is 1475% MORE likely to die on the job than a police officer is likely to die from violence on the job. The police play an important role in society and we shouldnt take them for granted. but statistics like whats shown in this article dont accurately reflect the risk police take. incarcerating more people isnt going to solve the problem. we already have the largest prison population in the world. isnt that enough?
Maureen January 05, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Bobthe, You seem to have all the answers. The man that pulled a gun on me knows where I live and knows who I am. I had to protect my family. The way I informed the police of who he is wasn't a secret. They could have contacted me at any time. The person was arrested and released 4 times before the murder happened so who is to blame there. I am not responsible nor do I have any blood on my hands. I am a law abiding hard working tax paying citizen and what I expected the police to do was check it out-check him out and keep an eye on him. He was a convicted felon as well as a drug user and dealer. They had plenty of reason to take one slimy person off the street. I provided my name, My address, His name, address places he frequented as well as birthdate and description. You should really think about things before you find the need to comment on everything that people have to say.
bobthe January 05, 2012 at 05:09 AM
maureen - what can i say. if thats the case i retract my previous statement and offer an apology. but read what you wrote. before all you said was you filed a tip and couldnt provide the police with your name. meaning the police would have had zip to get a warrant on and you were upset they didnt do more. now you say you provided your personal details (and then some) and the police still didnt get the guy. it's not a matter of me needing to think about what I have said. your story changed substantially in materially important ways. the problem i was highlighting with your post was that all too often the people expect police to be some sort of miracle workers who can just magic crime out of the community. thats not how it works. the police need help and if citizens have specific information about the bad guys, especially when it comes to those who present a serious threat to the community, they have a duty to come forward, even if that means sticking their neck out.
Carla Gibson March 29, 2012 at 04:38 PM
The question asked in this article is: What do you think we should do to keep those who protect us safer? I just don't see how "we" can keep those that protect us safer .. and I'm "wondering" if (or how) the police even EXPECT us to keep them safe? Florida is a mixed jumble of good law abiding citizens and outright depraved CRAZIES who wouldn't think twice about shooting and killing a police officer (or anyone else for that matter). Years ago I can remember people here saying how "safe" and family oriented Florida is, and how CALIFORNIA attracts the weirdos, "low lifes" and the worst criminals imaginable. Not anymore. Never before have I seen a state "go down the toilet" like Florida has ... the petty criminals, con-artists, child molesters, drug dealers, murderers, rapists, cop killers, etc have apparently migrated into Florida from California (and other places) and made this state a "sewer trap" for the worst of the worst. Maybe the question should be .. since the criminals seem to be winning in Florida, how do WE keep ourselves safe? Or can we?

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