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LAPD Flashlight Plan Generates Some Heat

August 08, 2004

Re "Bratton to Ban Metal Flashlights," Aug. 4: I hope Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton can explain to me why the same officers he cannot trust to carry metal flashlights are allowed to carry handguns. Flashlights don't hurt people; untrained and unqualified police officers do. Police officers who cannot otherwise control themselves have one less option before resorting to their handguns.

I think Bratton and the rest of the LAPD leadership should take a closer look at who becomes police officers and how they are trained, and spend less time trying to appease the public with hollow gestures. It takes a special person to wear a badge and carry a gun (and a metal flashlight). Finding the right people to do the job is the real work, and this cannot be done on a timeline designed to fit an arbitrary political calendar.

Armando Salinas

San Gabriel

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I am glad the LAPD is taking the necessary steps to remove a dangerous weapon from the hands of officers. The only thing lacking that can be used as a deadly weapon are their shoes. With their shoes tied to their feet, they could deliver a serious injury or deadly blow to the head of a suspect.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is correct: "The problem is not the flashlight -- it's who is wielding the flashlight." The problem is not the shoes -- it's the officer wearing the shoes.

Wayne K. Guillary

LAPD Sergeant

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Upon his arrival, Bratton said the days of LAPD officers just driving by and waving are over. His intent to take away their flashlights, however, may return them back to waving again.

Over the last several years the ability of officers to protect themselves has been dramatically reduced. First, the department disallowed the use of the chokehold. Soon thereafter, the Rodney King incident occurred and the use of the baton was curtailed in favor of the flashlight. The flashlight was smaller and did not cause the types of injuries associated with the baton. Now the chief wants to take away their flashlights. Soon, officers without the ability to protect themselves will be back to waving again.

Charles J. Dery

La Crescenta

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