Skip to comments.Miami Police get OK for more Firepower (Assault Rifles)
Posted on 09/16/2007 2:35:18 PM PDT by flattorney
- - Miami's new policy reflects the growing trend of police departments adding firepower to compete with heavily armed criminals
Citing a dramatic increase in the availability of high-powered, semiautomatic assault rifles -- like the one used Thursday to kill a Miami-Dade County police officer -- Miami Police Chief John Timoney has for the first time authorized patrol officers to start carrying similarly lethal weapons. A burgeoning ''arms race'' between police and heavily armed drug gangs forced him to sign the new policy earlier this week, Timoney said. That was even before Thursday's lopsided confrontation between four pistol-toting county police officers and a burglary suspect armed with what police are calling a ''military grade'' assault weapon.
Miami-Dade police Sgt. Jose Somohano died in the shootout; three other officers were injured (1 seriously and will require 1 year of rehab - FlA). The assailant, Shawn LaBeet, escaped apparently unscathed until he was cornered and shot dead by heavily armed police in Pembroke Pines late Thursday night. The doctor who operated on seriously injured Miami-Dade police Officer Jody Wright -- who was about 200 feet from LaBeet when he fired at her -- described the grapefruit-size bullet wound on her right leg as the type ``you would see in a war.'' ''This is a very, very different injury from the common handgun Saturday night special wound we see in urban trauma centers,'' Ryder Trauma Center orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gregory Zych said.
Timoney, a longtime advocate of tighter gun control, blames the 2004 expiration of the federal ban on assault weapons for the escalation of firepower on Miami's streets. ''This is really a failure of leadership at the national level. We are absolutely going in the wrong direction here,'' Timoney said. 'The whole thing is a friggin' disgrace.''
Rank-and-file Miami-Dade police officers can carry assault weapons only upon special request. The change in Miami's policy is part of a growing trend in South Florida and across the country of police departments adding firepower to compete with increasingly heavily armed criminals. One in five homicides in Miami this year have been committed with assault weapons, Miami Deputy Police Chief Frank Fernandez said. The number was 18 percent last year and up from just 4 percent in 2004. In July, a Miami police officer barely escaped with his life after a pair robbing a Brinks truck in Little Havana opened up with an assault weapon, Fernandez said. Countywide, 18 people were killed with assault weapons last year. Eleven have been killed so far in 2007, MDPD officials said.
Miami-Dade police union chief John Rivera said lifting the assault-weapons ban is one of ''many little components'' causing the apparent increase of military-style weapons on South Florida streets, and said adding firepower for police will help to even the odds. ''I know it starts to a look like a military state when you start doing that,'' he said. ``But we need bullets that are going to knock you down. We need a fighting chance.'' Assault weapons, like the Russian AK-47 and countless knockoffs, are cheap and easy to obtain. Online retailers offer them for as little as $300.
LaBeet, who attacked the Miami-Dade officers on Thursday, bought six of them in the space of four months using a bogus ID, said Miami-Dade police spokeswoman Linda O'Brien. At the time, LaBeet had a 2002 arrest warrant pending in Broward, where he was charged with aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated assault with a firearm. Some young people in the city have come to see the weapons as a status symbol. ''Not that long ago, we had a woman call to report her son's gold plated AK-47 stolen,'' Fernandez said.
The mismatch between an assault rifle and the pistols police commonly use comes down to range and firepower. An assault rifle can kill from 100 yards away, said former Miami-Dade police Maj. Ricardo Gomez. The effective range of police pistols is less than 25 yards. Bullets fired from an assault weapon can punch through car doors, walls, even some bulletproof vests -- all things police commonly rely on for cover. And then there's the issue of reloading: most police pistols have 10 bullet magazines, while AK-47 magazines commonly hold 30 rounds.
Add it all up and it's easy to see why police want to level the playing field, said Gomez, who will be the first chief of Doral's newly formed, independent police department. ''We're trying to mirror Coral Springs, a nice, peaceful community where they issue carbines to all of their officers,'' Gomez said. ``Down here, where there's a greater proclivity for violence, we're falling behind the eight ball.'' Fernandez said that unless the department can find additional funding, patrol officers who want assault weapons will have to pay for them out of their own pockets. They will have to go through specialized training before getting certified to carry the weapons on duty.
The Broward Sheriff's Office approved use of high-powered weapons ''about a year ago,'' said spokesman Elliot Cohen. About 25 percent of Broward's deputies have gone through training and received certification to carry the guns in locked boxes inside their patrol cars, or in their trunks, Cohen said. BSO districts have AR-15s -- the civilian version of the military M-16 -- that officers can sign out, Cohen said.
How long will it be before we read of them busting into a 92 year old womans home, shooting her, and planting drugs on her (like happened in Atlanta). When boys have toys, they want to use them.
I don’t have a problem with cops having the same firepower as demented sons of bitches like LaBeet.
There may be a time where you, a family member, a friend or a coworker, may need those front line officers to have the increased firepower to stop an assailant or assailants armed with assault weapons. I welcome patrol officers carrying them myself.
It's the Moose Limbs !
A quote from the article:
‘This is a very, very different injury from the common handgun Saturday night special wound we see in urban trauma centers,’’ Ryder Trauma Center orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gregory Zych said.
Again, the article is spewing horse manure. Zych does not seem to understand, wounds from a hunting rifle will be a lot worse. The bullets from .223 or 7.62x39 will not do as much damage as a .270 Winchester, .30/06, or .308 Winchester, let alone hunting rifles such as 7mm Remington Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, or any of the Weatherby Magnum Rifles.
Agreed, and I address a few of the points below.
Timoney, a longtime advocate of tighter gun control, blames the 2004 expiration of the federal ban on assault weapons for the escalation of firepower on Miami's streets.
Mr. Timoney - you ignorant slut. You could buy the EXACT SAME guns during the ban as you can now, with minor cosmetic differences. People as stupid as you are should not even be quoted by responsible journalists (an oxymoron in the modern world, I know).
Rank-and-file Miami-Dade police officers can carry assault weapons only upon special request.
Here's the real tragedy. If the cops need these guns, GIVE them to them. But make sure they're properly trained to use them, both how and when.
Miami-Dade police union chief John Rivera said lifting the assault-weapons ban is one of ''many little components'' causing the apparent increase of military-style weapons on South Florida streets
Chief Rivera - another moron, as I noted about Mr. Timoney above, and for the same reason.
Online retailers offer them for as little as $300.
Go ahead, Mr. Dolan. Find one, and buy it online. I'll bet you can get it shipped right to your door, no questions asked. And then the BATFE will show up right after it, and you'll squeal like a stuck pig, just like that other "journalist" who wanted to prove that it was easy to buy guns as a "straw purchaser".
LaBeet, who attacked the Miami-Dade officers on Thursday, bought six of them in the space of four months using a bogus ID
Thus demonstrating the pointlessness of nearly every gun law ever passed.
“The effective range of Police pistols is less than 25 yards.”Where do they get these stupid ideas?If the author of this crap wants to stand 100 yds away and let me take a few shots at him with my wife’s 92FS,he’s in for a big surprise.
I have a question. Are they intending to arm every officer with this high-powered rifle? Or just supervisors or what? I understand the SWAT team having them. (The perp is DEAD isnt he?) But do we now expect to see every police officer in Miami get out of his car with a high-powered rifle in his hand? This is just what I want to see; one or two cops with high-powered rifles pointed at me for running a red light. What happens if they think I did something worse? Shoot first and them decide I was only doing 59 MPH in a 55 MPH zone?
Learn to shoot with a pistol that will do something(a good .45 Cal. will do). At 100 yards with my Kimber Custom II, I think I could hit, hurt, and stop some one who is spraying and praying.
And therein lies the problem. There is nothing that police cannot solve by calling in backup, unless they are going to "wear their new toys" all the time and turn Miami into an armed camp with goons with machine guns on every corner. Clinton started this militarizing the police, makes turning the US into a police state far easier.
Issuing 12 ga riot guns would be a far better solution, far more powerful at short range and much less chance of killing an innocent in the next block, or next city. Keep one in the trunk. These 'police chiefs' lack judgment.
In spite of the “police can do no wrong” contingent around here, I am not anti-police. However, I am VERY STRONGLY anti-badge-heavy police. If you have never met one, you are either one yourself, or have not met many police.
Reminds me of a situation around here a few years back. Some nutcase wanted to commit suicide by cop. He holed up in his house until they surrounded the house with approx 50 cops. He stepped out of the house with a gun and they all opened up. There were approx 500 rounds fired. The autopsy showed that only ONE shot hit him. It was from the lone cop that had a 12ga riot gun. NO handgun round touched him.
In another case, the police missed the berm at their firing range and hit houses in a neighboring STATE.
Giving higher firepower to people like that is STUPID.
Since most rounds have a range of 5 miles or less, I would hazard a guess that this impact berm was practically sitting on top of the state line.
So... He was an illegal that was released on bail, instead of being detained as a clear flight risk. He should have been convicted jailed and deported, or found NG, and deported. I note that the liberal treatment of criminals is the problem, not the gun laws. I wonder if the pic on the stolen ID presented matched. Also, the person that had their ID stolen must have reported it. Why wasn't there an entry in the NICS dbase about that?
"Miami-Dade police Sgt. Jose Somohano died in the shootout;"
I thought he was ambused by the suspect, from a window when approaching a building the suspect ran into.
"three other officers were injured"
Officer Wright was ~66yds away when she was hit in the leg. Seems the other 3 were overwhelmed by the ambush, not the rifle. I think it was the building's cover that gave the perp the advantage, not the rifle. Even at 66yds, she could have shot the suspect.
I have no problem with cops keeping semi auto rifles in their units. As long as the politicos leave mine alone.
Handgun vs a rifle at 100 yards, you wouldn't stand a chance, especially if the rifleman is wearing body armor.
Yep, I agree. Remember when police cars had shotguns in locking racks where the computer is now? Considering the ranges at which they engage most targets a bit of 00 buck would be better than 5.56mm. If the guy is wearing body armor it will be easier to do some damage to the legs or head, if needed.
I wasn’t expecting to shoot it out with a rifleman.If I was Then I’d take my HK91 or my M16.If I expected the opponent to be wearing body armour,then an M1 Garand with AP ammo would be in order.
All depends on the shooters.
The girls too. They gotta rely on the weapons even more than the guys do.
I don’t either, but you have to admit when cops abuse their authority (lie the above post) its worse because the gub’mint says we’re supposed to listen to the guys with the badges.
I'm not defending this BS article but that is one of the points that the author is making. The max effective range of handguns against armed perps is about 25 yards. BTW, I work for a class 3 dealer that has way more powerful weapons than our local LE departments.
You are right of course. I based my statement on my own shooting experience with all types of small arms.
And when was the last time you heard of those front line officers responding to a citizen's 911 call in time to do anything other than fill out the paperwork and order doughnuts?
The dog population in Miami-Dade will certainly drop now, however, as they seem to be the cop's main targets.
That’s true (it was about a half mile from the State line), but you have to admit that missing a berm with 30 to 40 rounds is pretty hard for anyone who is the least bit competent to do. Missing the entire State, however, is something worth remembering.
The range was closed down by the Mayor at that time. The police came around and asked to use OUR private range to train at. At first, we were willing, but they tried to put so many restrictions on us, the owners of the range (such as we would have to leave whenever they showed up to practice), that we eventually told them to pound sand. Of course, with their accuracy, maybe it was for our protection.
“Palm Beach County has already gone this route and is using money obtained in drug busts and sale of confiscated property to fund purchasing assault rifles for their police department. - FlA”
The main reason unconstitutional money seizures by law enforcement will never end.
Simple rule: your finger doesn't enter the trigger guard until your sights are on the target.
Cops are the worst offenders of this rule, judging by the number of reports of them shooting themselves while holstering or unholstering their sidearms.
At 100 yards, I'd take a rifle over a pistol anytime.
More good news...
As I recall, the only people killed were the bank robbers, so yeah.
(Whoops, that happened once in the not-too-recent past in Philadelphia-Waco was by tank).
Whatever came of those incidents anyway?
Bullets are to cartridges as flour is to bread, as cement is to concrete.....etc. When will they ever learn?
Oh yeah, everybody knows that if you make AKs illegal all the bad guys will stop using them. I wonder if that moron Chief of Police thinks that there were no AKs available on the street during the years when Clinton's AWB was in effect?
I never cease to be amazed by people who seem to believe that if you pass a law against having a gun, then criminals for whom breaking the law is a way of life will obey that one law but not any other law that gets in their way. The only people who obey gun laws are law abiding people (maybe that's why they're called law abiding??) who aren't a threat to anyone to begin with.
I don’t know exactly what happened, since it was never completely reported. However, I doubt what you speculate since there were 30 to 40 rounds fired over the berm. I cannot conceive of 30 to 40 rounds being AD’s.
My guess (and it is entirely a guess since a report was never publicly released) is that they were playing with the new fully-automatic M-16’s they got from the Feds and placed some targets on top of the berm instead of in front of it.
The max effective range of handguns in the hands of 95% of city cops, or anyone else who doesn't enjoy shooting and practice often, is maybe 25 feet.
The answer to ineffective handguns in the hands of the incompetent is better training, not handing those same incompetent people AR-15s so they can miss more dangerously and often.
That was a once in a generation incident. For 99.9% of departments, it isn't just a once in a generation incident it's a just plain never incident. For the traffic stops, warrants, domestic calls, drug searches, etc. that police actually do on a daily basis, AR-15s are at best useless and often a dangerous liability. Give boys toys and they will play.