The weapons have been confiscated during traffic stops, calls for service and through search warrants often served during drug investigations.
“It’s alarming to us. It’s alarming to us to see that many guns within this short period of time,” he noted. The weapons include shotguns, rifles and handguns.
Bowen attributed some of the increase to more aggressive policing with officers making more arrests, but even so, he said he did not know why so many guns were being carried often by those with criminal histories.
“Some are convicted felons,” the chief said, adding it was against the law for anyone convicted of a felony to possess a weapon.
When officers arrest someone who has felony conviction and who is in possession of a weapon, Bowen said they work with agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to see if federal charges might be filed. He added that one person arrested locally with a criminal past was recently charged at the federal level of possessing a weapon.
“This shows the dangers of police work,” he said.
The two police officers who were killed were with the St. Petersburg, Fla. Police Department, and they were shot as they tried to help other officers serve a warrant on a suspect who had a lengthy criminal history.
Since Jan. 1 of this year, 14 officers have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Craig W. Floyd, chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, said in a release, “I have never seen anything like it. The violent events of the past 24 hours in Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Oregon and Washington have been detrimental to America’s peace officers, taking the lives of two and injuring several others. We must do everything in our power to stop these senseless and heinous crimes against our law enforcement personnel.”
So far this month, two detectives in Miami-Dade County, Fla. were killed by a suspect in a murder they were seeking to arrest. Another detective shot and killed the suspect.
A man began shooting inside a police precinct in Detroit, Mich., on Sunday, and wounded four officers including a police commander before other officers shot and killed him.
In addition, two sheriff’s deputies in Washington State were shot at a Walmart answering a call regarding a suspicious person. And officers in Indianapolis and in Lincoln City, Ore., were injured in shootings during traffic stops.
Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.