How the Media Cover Crime and the Law Enforcement Community

Your article (Oct. 11) regarding the toll taken by police in killing and wounding "suspects" is an outrageous indictment of those to whom we look to for protection and role models.

Of the 11 fatal shootings thus far this year, fully seven (64%) could have been avoided had the officers been better trained and disciplined.

Lt. Dick Olson of the Orange County Sheriff's Department wonders at the toll, and states: "Why they come out shooting, I just don't know." Well, seven of the 11 didn't come out shooting. They may have appeared threatening, but an experienced police officer knows how to back off, call for reinforcements and hold his fire.

Shooting a fleeing suspect in the back is a disgraceful act of anger, personifying a "Dirty Harry" approach to law enforcement. No benefit derives from this approach. It doesn't make our cities one whit safer.

What it surely does though is highlight, for all to see, a senior staff unable or unwilling to accept that this "shoot to kill" response is a demonstration of (police officials') inability to properly screen and train their officers.

Apparently the "buck" doesn't stop anywhere in this county. How shameful.

DON COULSON

Orange

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