|Published:||Jul 01, 2010 10:27 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jul 01, 2010 7:28 PM EDT|
Fort Myers, Fla - The Tampa tragedy has our local police taking action.
The Fort Myers Police Chief is meeting with state lawmakers to once again get the Widman Act passed.
That bill is named after Officer Andrew Widman and could have prevented this week's shooting.
The Widman Act never made it to the Governor's desk.
Now with two more police officers dead, the push to get the act turned into a law is gaining momentum.
"This was a violent cowardly act. Grotesque action to law enforcement," said Fort Myers Chief Doug Baker.
Baker was at a police chief's conference in Miami when he heard the news.
"You could feel the air being sucked out of the room," he said.
Chief Baker experienced a similar situation in July 2008, when Officer Andrew Widman was killed in the line of duty.
Widman's killer, Abel Arango was arrested days before on a different crime, but released on bond.
While out on bond, he killed Officer Widman.
At the time of his arrest, Arango was wanted in another county on a probation violation, so some thought he should have not been let go.
This resulted in the Officer Andrew Widman Act.
It gives judges more power to keep a suspect in jail if they have outstanding warrants or probation violations.
The bill passed the House but not the Senate.
Chief Baker isn't giving up.
"We are going to keep marching forward on that bill," he said.
Next week, he's meeting with lawmakers to re-introduce the bill.
If it had passed, it may have prevented the Tampa tragedy, since the suspected gunman had outstanding warrants when he was released from prison two months ago.
Officer Widman's widow, Susanna released this statement Thursday afternoon
"There is nothing I can say that will make the Curtis and Kocab families feel better. I wish I could ease their pain but that is something only God can accomplish. My heart goes out to them as they have a difficult time ahead. Their children will have questions that no parent should ever have to answer. Criminals are falling through the cracks of the judicial system. It seems to me that the deaths of these officers, including my own husband, were avoidable; in that there should be programs in place so that the court systems do not release violent criminals onto the streets. The life of an officer is a courageous one. They understand what we often forget: that they are called to serve and protect and that even a routine traffic stop may cost them their life. We should all be grateful to our law enforcement community and thank them at every opportunity for the sacrifices they make. What happened in Tampa is a horrible reminder of what our officers face every day to protect us. I pray for the families of the victims. I hope they know their husbands are heroes. And I hope the shooter will be apprehended quickly without further loss of life."
- Susanna Widman