Uncertified Mo. Officer Opens Fire, 2 Hurt

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A reserve officer in the St. Louis suburb of Pine Lawn who fired two shots at a fleeing traffic violator and into a crowd gathered for the Fourth of July is not licensed to be a police officer, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Reserve Officer Raymond Bibb was riding Sunday with another officer when the two pursued a motorist down a dead-end street. Both officers opened fire when the man turned his car around in a driveway and drove toward them. The bullets shattered the window of a car parked in the driveway of a home where at least 30 people were standing outside. An 8-year-old boy and his cousin were either injured by flying glass or grazed by bullets. The Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training program said it had never issued a license to a Raymond Bibb. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch said his office would review the incident to determine if criminal charges should be considered against the department’s leaders or the reserve officer.

In December, the Post-Dispatch published a list of uncertified officers who were volunteering at local police departments. Bibb’s name appeared on it. State law says that only licensed peace officers have the power of arrest. It does not specifically ban unlicensed officers from performing other police functions. “I think the intent of that statute is obvious,” McCulloch said. “We should not have people out patrolling the streets who are not properly certified and licensed. But there isn’t anything in the statues that prevents people from putting on a uniform with a gun and going out on the street.” The Post-Dispatch found evidence that some uncertified officers were stopping vehicles, making arrests, answering emergency calls, and otherwise acting as real police.

Link: http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/

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