With cop killings surging across the nation, some top state and local officials in Florida say it’s time to resurrect the practice of requiring patrol officers to have partners, reports the Miami Herald. After the shootings of two Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies in a five-day span last month, David Murrell of the state Police Benevolent Association said, ”Everyone hopping about by themselves is a recipe for disaster. If there were two officers to a car, maybe what happened to those two deputies wouldn’t have happened.”
The cost to pair patrol officers would be too expensive and there aren’t enough officers to carry it out, local police officials say. That bucks a trend in most large metropolitan areas, which generally deploy two-man teams. New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles all partner officers. The issue comes down to staffing and money, Miami Police Chief John Timoney said. Northern states try to have four to five officers for every 1,000 residents, while Miami-Dade and Broward employ only half that number. ”They have the money to do it up north. Down here, you get what you pay for,” said Timoney. The number of law enforcement officers killed in the U.S. this year through June 30 eclipsed 100 for the first time in almost three decades, says the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. That’s a 44 percent increase over the same period last year. In 1995, florida law enforcement officials lobbied for a state law that would require cities to give patrol officers partners. Cities and counties lobbied successfully to water down the law, the Jeffrey Tackett Law Enforcement Safety Act.