OXFORD, Ala. (WIAT) — After several shootings of law enforcement officers across the country, the head of the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police wants to see some laws stiffened to protect police.
Oxford Police Chief Bill Partridge is also the president of the AACOP and has been outspoken about the need to make sure officers are safe.
“It’s been a very difficult year here in the state of Alabama. I’ve attended 7 law enforcement funerals since January that were killed in the line of duty,” said Partridge.
According to Partridge, a total of 12 law enforcement officers have been injured or killed in gunfire in 2019. 6 officers have been killed.
The officers who died in Alabama worked in Birmingham, Mobile, Auburn, Tuscaloosa, Lowdnes County, and Huntsville.
“I think it has become an epidemic. The shooting of police officers and the use of guns on police officers across our nation,” Partridge continued. “We have seen it here in Alabama, especially this year with 6 officers killed in the line of duty and 6 wounded in the line of duty, and it’s gotta stop at some point in time and I think we need to stiffen up some laws.”
According to FBI statistics, 19 officers have been feloniously killed in southern states in 2019. For comparison, other region in the country has more than 9 officers who were feloniously killed. Partridge plans to meet with congressional leaders in February to talk ideas.
“One of the main ideas is making this federal capital crime so it is a death penalty sentence through the federal courts and it just gives us a little more teeth. It gets them off the street a lot quicker. I know we have seen some cases, especially out in the Midwest where an individual was charged with shooting a police officer and made bond the same day. That is totally unacceptable,” said Partridge.
Partridge said he tells his officers to always keep their heads on a swivel and not to take any call lightly.
“We’ve noticed over the last decade that respect for law enforcement, respect for law, respect for the ordinary citizen has gone downhill tremendously and this false narrative that police officers are the bad guys in our community is totally false and we need to step up and we need to push back on that issue,” said Partridge.
For more information on FBI statistics involving officers who have been shot, click here.