Photograph: Seventeen bullet holes can be seen on the front entrance of a home, where five Houston Police officers were shot while serving a warrant Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, in Houston. An attempt to serve a search warrant at a suspected drug house on Monday, quickly turned into a gunbattle that killed two suspects and injured five undercover narcotics officers, including four who were shot, Chief Art Acevedo said. Rhogena Nicholas was shot and killed as she tried to grab the service weapon of the first officer to be injured, Acevedo said. The second suspect killed was 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle. (Houston Police Dept. Press Room)
Houston, Texas. Police Union President Joe Gamaldi told the nation that he is fed up with the anti-cop sentiment in the United States and he told the nation how he felt in no uncertain terms. The head of a police organization that represents over 5,000 police officers went as far as calling the anti-cop voices of criminals, advocates and politicians “dirtbags.”
“But now I want to speak on behalf of the 5,200 brave men and women of the Houston Police Department and the other 800,000 police officers that are working these streets every single day, putting their lives on the line. We are sick and tired of having targets on our back. We are sick and tired of dirtbags trying to take our lives when all we’re trying to do is protect this community and protect our families. Enough is enough!” said Gamaldi during a press conference regarding the shootings of five Houston cops.
Besides the criminals who use deadly force on police officers, Gamaldi called out the people who use dangerous rhetoric to downplay the importance and integrity of the police.Those people include the men and women who call themselves journalists or activists and political leaders including such Democratic Party stalwarts as Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and others who are expected to vie for their party’s presidential nomination.
“And if you’re the ones that are out there spreading the rhetoric that police officers are the enemy, well just know we’ve all got your number now,” Gamaldi sternly warned. “We’re going to be keeping track of all of y’all, and we’re going to make sure that we hold you accountable every time you stir the pot on our police officers.”
Officers were attempting to serve a search warrant “for black tar heroin” when four of them were shot by one or both of the suspects, who are reportedly both deceased. Police Chief Art Acevedo told the press that the names of the wounded officers are not being released due to their undercover assignments.
According to the in-house publication the Badge & Gun, 2018 statistics didn’t bring good news, either, according to the police union’s Tom Kennedy. On-duty police deaths in 2018 rose nationally from 129 a year ago to 144, a 12 percent increase.
Likely to no one’s surprise in HPD, the majority of these line-of-duty deaths were caused by gunshots or being struck by vehicles .
The Badge & Gun (the union’s publication) makes this point as it urges prayer for two officers whose patrol car was struck, overturned and set afire after a drunken driver struck them on a Houston street while they were on patrol. These latest two victims are Officers John Daily and Alonzo Reid, both young officers aged 25. Reid was treated and released at a hospital while Reid wasn’t so lucky. He suffered burns and injuries that are expected to keep him hospitalized or in rehab for months to come.
“We’ve said it before and will continue to make the point this year and all years to follow: police work is the most dangerous work any individual can undertake. It entails dedication and sacrifice. We pray those sacrifices in 2019 are not what we common refer to as the ultimate sacrifice,” wrote Kennedy.
“This brings to mind the message always conveyed by the old roll call sergeant from the 1980s TV series, Hill Street Blues. At the end of his announcements, as officers prepared for the day’s duty, he said with conviction: ‘Be careful out there,’” said Kennedy