Focus should be on stopping career criminals, not border - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Focus should be on stopping career criminals, not border

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Retired Mesa master police officer Bill Richardson lives in the East Valley and can be reached at

Posted: Friday, August 6, 2010 10:52 am | Updated: 11:28 pm, Wed May 25, 2011.

Another police officer has been murdered in Maricopa County. The third this year. Last week, a Chandler police detective was murdered during an undercover drug investigation by a heavily armed crew of mostly convicted felons and career criminals who obviously had no fear of the carnage they were going to leave behind. Two other detectives were seriously wounded.

In May, a Phoenix police officer was ambushed and murdered by a career criminal during a hit-and-run investigation. 

Six months ago, a Gilbert police lieutenant was shot in the face at point blank range during a traffic stop by a career criminal who at the time was the primary suspect in an unsolved murder in another jurisdiction. He has since been indicted for that murder.

In February 2007, a Glendale police officer was shot and killed. The suspect: a career criminal. Five months later, a Phoenix police officer was shot and killed. The suspect: also a career criminal. Two months later, a second Phoenix officer was murdered by a career criminal who had an outstanding felony warrant for his arrest.

Last December, an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer was killed in Phoenix during the pursuit of a career criminal who was fleeing from police in a stolen vehicle.

Eight Valley officers have died at the hands of career criminals in just over three years in an area less populated than Los Angeles. Only one LAPD officer has been murdered during the same time frame. 

If you believe the incessant political vitriol, our fallen law enforcement officers are being gunned down in droves by illegal aliens. Not true. Just one of those eight officers was murdered by an illegal alien.    

And according to a June 8, 2010 study completed by interim Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, three local enforcement officers have been murdered by illegal aliens since 1994. During that time frame, 21 officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty. 

The study also found that “40% of the officers shot and killed from 1994 to present were shot by ‘Prohibited Possessors’.” A prohibited possessor is someone who has been convicted of a felony, is a career criminal, has been convicted of domestic violence or is an illegal alien. “45% of those prosecuted for shooting and killing officers from 1994 to present have prior felony convictions and/or open warrants.”

The report said since 2003 60 percent of Arizona officers murdered were shot by prohibited possessors. Only one was an illegal alien. Half of the officers shot were murdered by people with prior felony convictions and or outstanding felony warrants and 80 percent of Arizona officers killed since 2003 were from local law enforcement agencies in Maricopa County. It’s been reported Maricopa County has an estimated 38,000 unserved felony warrants sitting in the files of the sheriff’s office.

From 1995 to 2008, five Arizona officers have been gunned down on the border and near border counties. Two in Yuma in 1995, two in Tucson in 2003 and 2008, and one Pinal County deputy who was murdered near Eloy in 2001.   

Romley’s report ended by saying; “The last five, now six, law enforcement officers shot and killed in Maricopa County were killed by defendants who had prior felony convictions and/or open warrants.” 

Too many police officers have been murdered in Maricopa County! 

While all eyes and Arizona’s dwindling law enforcement resources are focused on the border, an area where crime is down and thousands of federal agents, local and state police, and the National Guard are literally bumping into each other during this election year, someone needs to pay attention to what’s happening in the rest of state, especially in Maricopa County, when it comes to the growing numbers of murdered local police officers who are far away from the international border and its low crime zone.

The carnage and the political showboating needs to stop.

Retired Mesa master police officer Bill Richardson lives in the East Valley and can be reached at

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