Let me tell you a young police officer’s story.
In October 2010, she and another officer answered a call for “shots fired” and encountered Ronnell Hood. At the time of the encounter, Mr. Hood was on probation for two different felonies and armed with an assault rifle, which he fired at them. Extensive training, quick thinking, and some luck allowed the two officers to take Mr. Hood into custody without anyone being injured.
Yesterday, Ronnell Hood received a four year sentence for Armed Criminal Action and five years probation for Assault 1st on these law enforcement officers.
It was not enough. Not nearly enough.
Every day, our officers place their lives on the line for the safety of our community, just as these two did when they apprehended Mr. Hood. We always hope that when this type of violent criminal tries to take the life of a police officer that a serious message is sent to the community that this type of action is not tolerated. Unfortunately, by the sentence passed down in this case, that message was not sent. A couple of hours after the judge’s decision to allow probation for the Assault 1st on our officers, another officer was driving down a one-way street in his marked patrol car when the driver of an oncoming vehicle, driving the wrong way down a one-way street, fired several shots at him. Three suspects were in the vehicle, two of them were taken into custody last night and the third was apprehended today.
I am thankful that no officers were injured in either incident. I told the young officer this morning that I am disappointed – no, I am angry – about the message that I believe Mr. Hood’s sentence for shooting at her sent.
Guns in the hands of criminals are dangerous. When officers do good police work and arrest armed thugs, there must be significant consequences … for the thugs.