* This letter is in response to your article "More in O.C. Now Rate Crime as No. 1 Concern" (Aug. 28). The article states: ". . . But they want more police. . . ." Putting more police officers on the street would be like putting eunuchs in society and then wondering why the population did not increase. That is, we have essentially emasculated our police officers. We charge them with protecting us and then want to "micro manage" them; critique every decision they make.
Having been a police officer and now being a clinical psychologist who spends all day listening to the frustrations of police officers, I hear the same story from every officer from a wide range of departments: "I would love nothing more than to be able to perform the very job I was hired to do but am not willing to risk prison for doing my job." Granted there are a few "bad" police officers as there are "bad" employees in every occupation. However, the vast majority of police officers that I have seen in counseling--hundreds of them from dozens of departments--would like nothing more than to be able to go out and do the job that they swore to do: "protect and serve the public."
I believe that the vast majority of citizens want aggressive proactive police protection. However, to accomplish this, we must "un-handcuff" our officers and allow them to perform their job of protecting the public.
We do not need tougher laws; we need to provide adequate jails to house those convicted. We need to allow our officers to enforce the existing laws. If you doubt any of this, ask any "street" officer.
* Scott Hodge, federal budget analyst for the conservative Heritage Foundation, rudely shot down liberals' claim that the recently passed crime bill will "put 100,000 new cops on the street." His cost estimate of $70,000 to $80,000 annually per big-city cop on the street, counting salary, benefits and training, indicates we can really only expect about 20,000 new police. Liberals scoffed at Charlton Heston quoting this number in NRA-sponsored television ads opposing Clinton's crime bill. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Joseph Biden gave a sarcastic retort: "I do not know how many of you hire your cops back home for $70,000 a year. I guess he is just used to being in Hollywood, where they pay a lot of money for those things."
Well, senator, Huntington Beach isn't Hollywood. However, the average police compensation--base salary, estimated overtime, allowances for education, uniforms and, for some, cars, and the city picking up employees' pension contribution--is just over $80,000. Add in other benefits, including life insurance, 12 weeks of sick leave, $7,812 in medical, dental and eye care, and Huntington Beach probably pays around $100,000 for each of our officers.
* I was not exactly moved to tears reading of how deprived Orange County gun owners feel now that certain assault weapons have been banned ("Gun Fanciers Loading Up on Rifles and Clips," Aug. 28).
Are their lives really diminished because they will no longer be able to buy an AK-47 or a Glock 45?
Maybe my life is a little less rich because I can no longer snap up a Heckler Koch SR9 semiautomatic rifle; on the other hand, my life might turn out to be a little longer.
* I was angered by William Dougherty's letter (Aug. 28) in which he criticized the NRA as a "right-wing military kook organization" and labeled those who approve of semiautomatic firearms as unintelligent.
I am a 4.0 graduate student at Cal State Fullerton and a member of the Historical Honor Society and a life member of the NRA. I believe I am intelligent and am certainly not a "kook."
Law-abiding citizens like myself use rifles like the Colt H Bar and Springfield M1a for \o7 lawful \f7 target shooting, competition and collecting purposes. Many lawful citizens also rely on these firearms to protect their families from crime and would also use them in the constitutionally mandated purpose of protecting themselves from the government should they ever need to.
I and many of my friends advised our local representatives to defeat the crime bill because of the gun ban. I applaud their decision to vote no. They took an oath to protect the Constitution when they assumed public office. By voting against the gun ban they attempted to protect a vital freedom from being slowly eroded away.