Nearly every Philly cop I speak to claims there is a war on cops.
While acknowledging that most Philadelphians support the police, cops complain about a vocal segment of the public that demonizes them, and a criminal element that feels empowered to assault and too often murder them with impunity. Cops truly believe they are easy targets due to their lack of political support from both the city and the media at large.
I reached out to Pennsylvania State Senator Mike Regan. Not only is he the Chairman of the Law & Justice Committee in Harrisburg, he’s also a retired U.S. Marshal.
Is there a war on cops?
“It’s so unfortunate to see the spike in the number of police officers who are senselessly killed, and my heart goes out to those grieving families,” Senator Regan replied. “There is no question that there are individuals and groups among us who seek out police officers to attack simply because they wear a badge and uniform. What does not help the situation is when our own Governor points the finger at police and marches at a rally with people carrying signs that say, ‘Blue Lives Murder’ — with his security detail of Pennsylvania State Troopers forced to walk along side of them.”
What legislation can be enacted to protect officers and prevent future murders?
“We have to do more to protect police officers from these heinous attacks. We can do so by providing funds to make vehicles safer and investing in new technologies that do the same. The only way we will ever prevent murders of police officers — or any innocent victims — is to enforce our laws and ensure violent criminals remain locked up and are unable to hurt anyone else.
“I was proud to serve 23 years in the U.S. Marshals Service. I enjoyed the challenge of serving as Fugitive Task Force Commander for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and working with the local law enforcement officials to capture fugitives posing a danger to our communities. I was honored to become the U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in 2002 and continue the work we had been doing to keep protecting our communities.”
Although the senator did not work as a Marshal in Philadelphia, he said that on occasion the cases he worked took him to Philadelphia to apprehend fugitives.
Why did you go from law enforcement to politics and elected office?
“I’m proud of my career in law enforcement and my work in the U.S. Marshals service. I decided to seek elected office because I was seeing firsthand the failed policies of Harrisburg that did not adequately support law enforcement efforts in the height of an opioid epidemic. I viewed being in the legislature as an opportunity to continue my service to my community and the people of Pennsylvania, bringing my firsthand experience in law enforcement to the decisions being made in Harrisburg,” Senator Regan said. “I have made public safety and protecting Pennsylvanians the cornerstone of my efforts, and I’m encouraged by the strides we have made but recognize there is more work to be done.”
What actions can your committee take to stem rising crime and violence in Philadelphia and the rest of the state?
“I believe it is a multi-faceted approach involving not only the Senate Law and Justice Committee but also the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which I’m a member,” he replied. “The latter addresses crimes, punishment, and ensuring criminals are held accountable. As Law and Justice Committee Chair, I am committed to ensuring law enforcement officers receive needed benefits and police departments have the resources for recruiting, hiring, and maintaining quality officers. Departments also need resources for fully training officers and ensuring they have the needed tools and protection when on the streets. Philadelphia, along with police departments across the Commonwealth, are short-staffed and lacking necessary equipment. We can’t expect these officers to get control of the situation in Philadelphia without a full complement, especially when the DA just keeps allowing the same violent criminals to return to the streets.”
Jake Corman has called for the State Legislature to impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. Do you support that action?
“Philadelphia has suffered from record-setting levels of violent crime under DA Krasner. He has shown no respect for the state laws which were enacted to protect every citizen of this Commonwealth through his refusal to prosecute certain crimes and his willingness to release violent offenders back into the streets. The only recourse I can see is for someone more suitable for the job to take over, and that is only possible through impeachment.”
Paul Davis’ Crime Beat column appears here regularly. He can reached via pauldavisoncrime.com