Reaping What We’ve Sown
As is the case when a police officer is killed in the line of duty, this week’s murder of a veteran of the Whittier Police Dept. brought intense sadness and grief to every law-abiding citizen. According to the website Officer Down Memorial Page (https://www.odmp.org/officer/23122-police-officer-keith-boyer) police officer Keith Boyer was shot and killed as he and another officer investigated an accident near the intersection of Colima Road and Mar Vista Street.
States the website: “Unbeknownst to the officers, the vehicle that caused the crash was stolen and being driven by a gang member who had just been paroled. The parolee had just committed another murder hours earlier. As Officer Boyer attempted to conduct a pat down on the subject, the man suddenly pulled a handgun from his waistband and opened fire. Officer Boyer was killed and a second officer was wounded. Despite the wounds, the officers returned fire and wounded the subject.
“Officer Boyer was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
“Officer Boyer had served with the Whittier Police Dept. for 28 years and was preparing to retire. He is survived by three adult children and his parents.”
As heartbreaking as this news is, we, the voting community, must ask ourselves if we should be surprised by this crime and the overall rise in crime. We have to question the wisdom of Gov. Brown signing into law AB 109 and AB 117 in 2011, as well as the passage by voters of Proposition 47 in November 2014 and Proposition 57 in November 2016, and how these contributed to Boyer’s death. Because, reportedly, his killer was an AB 109 parolee, released under Post Release Community Supervision as required by AB 109, Public Safety Realignment, a bill that moves certain felony offenders from state prisons to county jails. The purpose, in part, was to reduce the “revolving door” of lower-level criminals in the state’s prison system.
Compounding the problem of more criminals being let back prematurely on California streets was the passage by voters of Props 47 and 57. Prop 47 was supposed to weed out non-violent criminals from going into the prison system and Prop 57 was touted as giving criminals a chance to “turn their lives around,” by accelerating their release from the prison system and encouraging rehabilitation.
But while these goals may sound good in theory, when implemented many of these criminals return to the streets to commit more crimes. Taking a look at LAPD crime stats, homicide rates, which were on the decline for the last several years, have been on the rise for the last three years. I, for one, don’t think it a coincidence that crime has risen following the passage of these bills and propositions.
The question is can we undo what we’ve done?
I think the answer is yes. I think it is our responsibility to charge our legislators with changing these laws either by authoring new legislation or working to craft proposition/s that correct these gross errors.
“We need to wake up. Enough is enough. [Voters are] passing these propositions, creating these laws that is raising crime,” said Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper.
The chief is right – we, the voters, have to take responsibility for opening this Pandora’s box. We have to clamp down the lid back on it before any more of our police – and our citizens – are killed.