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Local Police Chief Wants Death Penalty For Those Killing Police Officers

Jacksonville Police Chief Tony Grootens says he has a solution to stop people from killing police officers -- make it a federal crime, punishable by the death penalty.

Jacksonville Police Chief Tony Grootens says he has a solution to stop people from killing police officers -- make it a federal crime, punishable by the death penalty.

After three police officers were ambushed and shot while sitting in their patrol cars over the weekend, in different states, Springfield Police Chief Kenny Winslow says officers everywhere are uneasy.

"It's concerning the fact that people are ambushing officers," Winslow said. "They're targeting officers for just the uniform that they wear and what they represent. And the reality is that police officers are out there trying to do the right thing. They're good people, they're hardworking people who go above and beyond every day."

One of the ambushed officers was killed, Grootens says murdering police officers should be classified as domestic terrorism.

"I believe that if they would make it a federal offense of murdering a law enforcement officer, that way they would be eligible for the death penalty," Grootens said. "And that's something that needs to happen."

Grootens says making it a federal matter would also make court proceedings easier.

"The federal Department of Justice has better resources than the local of course, and they go over the guy with the death penalty hanging over his head, and if he does get the death sentence, and he's put to death, then he's not going to reoffend anyway."

Grootens says he told his officers not to stay in the same location for more than 10 to 15 minutes, to be on heightened alert, and to park cars in the center of their surroundings so they can see whatever is coming their way.

"We don't want our officers to be paranoid, but we want them to be aware that these things are occurring, and to be aware of their surroundings. Don't be so paranoid that you're constantly looking over your shoulder, but be aware of your surroundings."

Chief Winslow says he has no opinion on whether or not to enact the death penalty for those murdering police.

He did say the offense should carry the harshest penalty the court can give, whatever that is.


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