Picture this scenario…
You’re a police officer in Florida who pulls someone over for speeding. You run the driver’s information and it comes back that he’s wanted in Pennsylvania for sexually assaulting a 14-year old girl. You call the Philadelphia police department who issued the warrant and tell them you’ve got their fugitive under arrest and they can come and get him.
But guess what? The Philadelphia PD tells you they don’t want to come to Florida to pick up the guy because they don’t have the resources. So, you have to release the fugitive because he hasn’t committed any crimes in your state. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But anyone who’s been in law enforcement has been in this situation.
The scary thing is, most Americans have no idea how often this happens and how many felons are out on the loose. However, USA Today recently ran a feature series about this felon problem, shedding light on just how bad it is.
According to USA Today, there are 186,873 outstanding warrants for felons and “Police in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Little Rock — all among the nation’s highest-crime cities — told the FBI they wouldn’t pursue 90% or more of their felony suspects into other states.”
The USA Today article continues saying, “Among the fugitives police said they would not pursue: a man accused in Collier County, Fla., of hacking his roommate’s neck with a machete during a fight over two cans of beer; a man charged with drawing a gun on a Newport News, Va., store manager during a robbery…”
The fact is, if someone murdered someone in Florida and hopped on a plane to Nevada, there’s a good chance no one would pursue them.
And unfortunately, I think it’s safe to say that the system isn’t going to change in the future. I don’t think states are suddenly going to be flush with cash so they can afford to send officers all over the country to retrieve felons. Plus, the state attorney’s who prosecute these cases will likely never find a day when they’re not overburdened and understaffed to the point that they have to pick and choose which cases to prosecute.
For the rest of our lives, this means the guy standing behind you in line at the supermarket or pumping gas next to you could be a wanted felon in another state. This is why situational awareness is so critical and why you can’t take anything for granted. This is why I remember there’s no such thing as a “routine” trip to Walmart, or to get my haircut, or go to the grocery store. And of course, this is why I personally carry a gun everyday and why I do 25 “dry fire” trigger pulls everyday to ensure I am practicing and constantly working on my firearms skills.
Like everyone, I pray I never have to use my gun (or any weapon) to defend myself, but if the day comes that I do I want to be as prepared as possible to draw my Glock 19 from my hip (loaded with my Speer Gold Dot) to stop the threat as quickly as possible.