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I would like to begin by saying that I am a police officer in the District and have been for about nine years. I was shocked to read your glowing endorsement of the recent series in the Washington Post (“The Apple Takes Another Bite,” Paper Trail, 11/20).

Let me tell you a few things that the Post forgot to tell the readers. In this story we have continuously been compared to other cites, most of the time New York. Washington is a city of approximately 500,000 people. New York has over 8 million. Since 1990, Washington has had an average of 430 homicides a year. The highest year was 1993, with 489, which by the way was not known to Jeff Leen when I spoke to him on the phone. In 1993, New York had around 2,100 homicides. Let’s do the math: If we were the same size as New York, we would have had over 7,000 homicides! Why is it that a city that is 16 times larger than us has only about three times as many homicides? I know why. It is because the level of violence that exist in this city is unreal. Who is trigger happy now?

The Post mentioned the officers that lost their lives. They forgot to mention the other 20-plus who have been shot since 1990 and the hundreds who have been assaulted. Do we have some officers who are reckless? The answer is yes. Is it as bad as the Post has said? No. Just remember that it is easy for you and the armchair crime fighters at the Post to pass judgment about shootings, the majority of which happened more than four years ago, but when your life is on the line and you have seen hundreds of murders in your life, then you might have an idea of what it’s like.

By the way, the only people I know who keep dirty little secrets are reporter types. I also know that when the Post reporters went through the shoot-don’t shoot training they shot everything in sight! We can agree on one thing: The Post did need a story, but as for awards I don’t think they give them for fiction.

Arlington, Va.

via the Internet