TAMPA - Two Tampa police officers died after they were shot during an otherwise routine traffic stop early Tuesday morning.
The shooting happened at 50th Street and 34th Avenue at 2:15 a.m. Tuesday. Police are questioning a person of interest in the case as they conduct a massive search for the suspected gunman.
Officer Jeff Kocab, 31, passed away shortly after he was brought to Tampa General Hospital. Officer Dave Curtis, also 31, was put on life support and pronounced dead around 8:30 a.m. at TGH. - Fox 13 News Tampa, Fl.
There is nothing more tragic than hearing about the bad guys killing not one but two good guys. Now, two wives are widowed and 5 children are fatherless. Why? In many cases the answer to this question is evasive but not in this one. Why you may ask? Training or the obvious lack there of. Tampa Police Department (TPD) is supposed to be one of the most progressive forces along with Orient Road Jail being known nationally as one of the top jail systems in America. Unfortunately last night looked more like "Rookie Night" on a Cops episode and it ended with tragic consequences for the two young officers.
What I am talking about is Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that were obviously ignored by the slain officers. TPD issues a bullet proof vest to every officer: So where were they? My guess they were in the trunk of their squad car. Where was their duty officer or the shift commander to tell them to put their vests on? The vest is hot, uncomfortable and hard to run in but is supposed to be a mandatory part of their uniform. The first officer on the scene called for back up from the second officer so why would they both approach the vehicle at the same time at 2 am without their vests? After the "Bolo" (wants/warrants report) came back on Dante' why wouldn't the officers then apply their training and immeadiatly begin the procedures of a "Felony Traffic Stop"?
Step #1. The officers training would dictate to them to take up offensive positions behind the stopped car with weapons drawn.
Step #2. Using voice commands they would have removed the two perpatrators from their vehicle via the driverside door and placed them spread-eagle on the ground without incident and they would have both gone home at the end of their shift.
I am not posting this to be disrespectful I am just trying to make sure the next two officers that decide to throw their vest in the back of the squad car along with their training and common senses and take short cuts in procedure just remember it may be their last mistake. There is no rewind or do overs. When you see the flash and in that split second you remember the vest in the trunk.......it's too late and you have now shirked your responsibilities to your partner, your wife and your kids. JUST PUT THE DAMN VEST ON.