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police & fire

Citing shootings of police, state lawmaker calls for reinstating death penalty in NJ

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

Citing rampant police shootings nationwide — including the killing of a cop from his district, Lakewood Officer Christopher Matlosz — state Sen. Robert Singer (R-Ocean) has introduced legislation reinstating the death penalty in New Jersey for those who kill an officer in the line of duty.

NJ State Sen. Robert Singer (Source: )

The bill also would include those who murder a child or commit a terrorist attack that results in fatalities.

The need for government response comes, in part, from a steep increase in the number of officers killed in the line of duty — 162 — last year, up from 117 in 2009, Singer said. Of them, 61 were shot, records show, nearly a quarter more than the previous year.

“I do not support the death penalty out of a need for revenge or due to malice in my heart. Neither do the many individuals I have met who have suffered from heinous crimes,” Singer said. “I support the death penalty because sometimes it is the only way to achieve justice for the victims and families affected by horrible crimes.”

Singer cited the sudden and frightening rise in police shootings nationwide this year, including the recent execution-style murder of on-duty Lakewood Police Officer Christopher Matlosz ( See : Accused killer of Lakewood cop caught ).

“I am well aware that the death penalty will not bring back a slain police officer, a murdered child or a victim of terrorism,” said Singer, who represents Lakewood. ” For certain crimes, however, life in prison is not justice.”

‘It’s not a fluke,” Richard Roberts, spokesman for the International Union of Police Associations, said of the spate of shootings at police. “ There’s a perception among officers in the field that there’s a war on cops going on.”

From Jan. 1st through the 24th nationwide:

53 police officers/agents have been shot at;
37 have been hit by gunfire;
14 were in a 36-hour time frame;
10 died;
2 remain in critical condition

For the most comprehensive collection of the events of the past few weeks, go to:
Law Enforcement Today: Nessie’s News Nexus

The total includes two officers who were shot and killed and a federal marshal who was wounded during a standoff in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Monday. The shooter was later found dead inside the home.

On Sunday, four Detroit police officers were shot by a man who entered a precinct house shooting. He was killed in a gun battle. Two more were wounded the same day in a gunfight in a Washington Walmart parking lot. A Indianapolis officer was also shot in a traffic stop: Authorities this afternoon said organ harvesting had begun for Officer David Moore, who had been on life support.

That makes 10 cops killed, and two left critically wounded, in a little over three weeks.

“That’s not normal,” Steven Groeninger, of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, told . “It kind of seems like law enforcement, because of their uniforms, have a target on their back.”

“These are some very unique times we’re living in,” J.J. Berry, the first vice-president of the Houston Police Officers Union, told .

Security measures at police stations can help, he said, but they can’t replace attentiveness.

“Officers look for certain behavioral attributes to how people respond to certain things. That’s one of the first things officers do,” he said. “They record, visually record, anything out of the ordinary.”

The death penalty has had a torturous history in New Jersey. The Legislature reinstated it in 1982, even though the state hadn’t executed anyone since 1963.

Former Gov. Jon Corzine then repealed the law in December 2007.

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