The shooting deaths of two central Iowa police officers has focused national and international attention on the state in the wake of other police shootings across the country.
Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert said in a statement today that 95 percent of the people police serve here are not a problem — the issue is with the other five percent. Des Moines police spokesman, Sergeant Paul Parizek, talked more about the issue with reporters, saying there was great support from the majority of the community earlier this year when two officers died in a car accident.
He says that majority support has continued after a Des Moines and an Urbandale officer were shot to death Wednesday morning. “I mean there have been a couple of boneheads who have said some things about ‘yeah more dead cops’ or whatever…a small minority, I could care less about them,” Parizek says. Parizek says the support of the community was evident when he got home yesterday as he says he could hardly get into the door from all the things set on his porch.
“And to the people who have said the comments about ‘yeah more dead cops’ this would be you if it wasn’t us standing there. We are the protection. We are the first line of protection for the people who live here. And we protect our communities — 95 percent of the people — from the five percent that the chief was referencing,” according to Parizek. Parizek says a lot of how they do things have changed, as they have implemented many programs to work with the community. Despite those efforts, he says attitudes toward officers have changed.
“There is a greater lack of respect for law enforcement than there was before,” he says. Parizek is 48 and says he didn’t grow up with the same attitude that some people now have for police.
“I know that if I’d have looked cross-eyed at a police officer my dad would knock my eyes straight,” Parizek says. “I get stopped for speeding as a kid my hands would shake — but not necessarily a fear of law enforcement — but a fear of the consequences of bad behavior.” He says the issue Des Moines has had recently with other shootings is a good example of some of the problems that come out of the lack of respect for law enforcement.
“And what we see now is we see a lot of young thugs that don’t see beyond the end of their gun. That’s something that has changed a lot, that’s one thing that has changed a lot. A total disregard for your fellow man,” according to Parizek. He made his comments at a news conference to update the investigation. Police say 46-Scott Michael Greene of Urbandale was released from the hospital this afernoon and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Des Moines officer Tony Beminio and Urbandale officer Justin Martin.