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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?

phyllis December 31, 2011 at 11:51 AM
stop the revolving door justice---make committing a crime a very uncomfortable thing for inmates--re institute work farms so that they can be productive instead of lounging around doing body building and building more criminal ties---teach them what it is to do a days work to earn their upkeep
gail December 31, 2011 at 01:41 PM
phyllis, that sounds right to me.. jail seems to be a vacation for some, so maybe if they have to WORK while incarcerated, if nothing else, they can be out in the hot sun, picking up trash on the roadways, mowing, digging... things we had the laid off county personnel doing... .. real MANUAL LABOR... just my opinion
Maureen December 31, 2011 at 02:36 PM
Read the tip line on the Pasco Detention Center web site. More than 6 months ago for my own safetyI could not give my name. I sent a tip on a local man who was a convicetd felon that was dealing drugs all over Pasco county and pulled a shotgun on my son and I. Nothing was done and now he is in jail charged with murder 1. I think that if the system made more of an effort to get and keep dangerous people off the streets and have better drug and gun control programs things would be a little safer and less lives would be lost
Virgil December 31, 2011 at 05:05 PM
Maureen, I agree with every thing you said except for the gun control program. Do you really think that gun control will keep the bad guys from getting them and using them? Properly trained Armed citizens level the playing field against the bad guys. Don't blame guns and don't take guns away from honest law abiding citizens.
LeeAnn December 31, 2011 at 05:42 PM
We need to change the way our Judicial System works, and if need be.........just build bigger and more Jails! Bring back "chain gangs" and make them work everyday instead of lying around or disrupting the correctional institute they are in. And toss out the "time served/good behavior" options. If you are given 20 years; you serve a full 20 years. This should go for any crime and any amount of time you were sentenced. In plain english, the Judicial system presently coddles and handles criminals with kid gloves and that is just plain UNACCEPTABLE !!!!!!!! The Federal Governement should be kicking in big time to help protect us and Law Enforcement. We need dollars put back into every state so that we can go back to the old double manned patrols.
bobthe January 01, 2012 at 07:34 AM
it might be counterintuitive, but the sort of work details you describe are something an inmate might shank a fellow inmate over. manual labor is no big deal when you are out int he fresh air, with blue sky above and nary any razor wire in sight.
bobthe January 01, 2012 at 07:40 AM
Maureen, what do you expect the police to do? if this man pulled a gun on you and your son thats assualt with a deadly weapon. YOU could have put this criminal behind bars but YOU didnt. IMHO that puts the blood of the person who died in that murder 1 on YOUR hands, not that of PCSO. All they had was an anonymous tip that someone, somewhere might be a bad person. Thats not something the police can take any sort of action on. Now had you gone to the sheriff's office and filed a report on the not one but two felonies you and your son were personal witnesses to, maybe whoever this guy killed would still be alive today. Dont expect the police to do all the work in keeping the community safe. They CANT. They have to rely on all of us to get the job done. When we only care about ourselves and not our proverbial next door neighboors we are nearly as much to blame for crime as the criminals themselves.
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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