Wednesday, October 07, 2009

GUEST COLUMN: "A Police Officer Is Killed"

By Rachel Hutzel

At 2:00 in the afternoon on January 21, 1987, a young Morrow police officer named Jeff Phegley pulled over a speeding car just outside of the Village. Officer Phegley smelled alcohol and asked the driver to perform a field sobriety test. The driver, Anthony McIntosh, a 20-year-old Highland County man with a criminal record, saw Phegley writing a ticket and fired a single shot into the young officer’s chest. McIntosh then fled the scene, leaving Officer Phegley to die by the side of the country road. Days before, McIntosh brandished the same sawed-off 20-gauge shotgun and bragged that, “the next time a cop stops me; I’ll make it worth his while.” Unfortunately, that officer was Jeff Phegley. McIntosh was subsequently convicted of murder. At sentencing he showed no remorse.

McIntosh is being considered for parole in January 2010. I’m opposed to it. A police officer on the street represents the authority of government to enforce its laws. When an officer is attacked, it is a sign of disrespect and repudiation of the laws and authority of government. Law enforcement protects the safety of citizens and ensures our way of life. Attacks on law enforcement are a direct assault on the safety and security of ordinary people like you and me.

On average, 140 officers are killed every year in the US in the line of duty. 50% of those are the result of firearms. In 2009, the number of officers killed on duty is up nearly 20% from 2008. Our police officers are our first line of defense against criminals. As a society, we need to do what we can to protect those who protect us. Those who attack police officers must be punished to the full extent of the law.

You can help keep Officer Jeff Phegley’s killer in prison by signing a petition at the front desk of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office or by sending a letter to the Ohio Parole Authority at 770 West Broad Street Columbus, OH 43222. A letter to the Parole Authority is available for downloading at