Last week’s violent rampage by a suspect who died after a high-speed chase and shootout with law enforcement is a reminder of how fortunate we are to have a no-nonsense police chief and sheriff who work well together and focus on their jobs rather than histrionics.
Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor and Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee stood together at a news conference Friday afternoon to let the public know it could no longer be harmed by 24-year-old Charlie Christopher Bates, a suspect in a series of rapes and assaults in an area near the University of South Florida.
The departments Castor and Gee oversee worked in tandem to identify, track and ultimately locate Bates as he attempted to flee in a stolen car. Law enforcement officers forced him off the road as he fired on them from the moving car. He was hit several times in the return fire and later died. No officers or bystanders were injured.
Sheriffs are elected, and police chiefs are appointed. The sheriff must answer to the voters, and chiefs must answer to elected boards and mayors. They are judged by how well they protect their own turf.
But criminal investigations often cross the jurisdictional lines that separate the city from the county. When a violent felon is on the loose in Hillsborough County, it’s good to know the public’s safety is the only focus of our top law enforcement officers.