Thursday, February 5, 1998
Cops: Safety top priority
FOP for intensive training

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Kathleen Conway
Cincinnati police - angry over shootings of fellow officers - are issuing a warning to criminals that attacks will not be tolerated.

The head of the Fraternal Order of Police reiterated that stance Wednesday before city council. And in an interview, FOP President Keith Fangman called for increased training to help officers react quickly in stress situations, as Officer Kathleen ''Katie'' Conway did Monday.

Officer Conway survived an attack when a 41-year-old downtown man shot her four times just below her bulletproof vest. Officer Conway, 23, fired back, killing Daniel T. Williams with a shot to the head.

She is in serious but stable condition at University Hospital, and police investigators are waiting to interview her to reconstruct what happened.

The incident has fellow officers intensifying an effort to keep police from being treated as ''punching bags of the city.''

In the past six years, Cincinnati officers have been shot at 44 times and assaulted 1,500 times, Mr. Fangman said Wednesday.

''What we're saying is that violent criminals in this city who decide they're going to point a gun at a police officer or shoot at a Cincinnati police officer - they need to know we're going to resort back to our training and take appropriate action, just as Katie Conway took the appropriate action,'' he said.

''We want to form a partnership with the law-abiding citizens of this community - black, white, male, female - and take a firm stand against violent criminals that prey not only against police officers but innocent citizens as well.''

His suggestions include:

  • Supporting two officers to a car on a voluntary basis.

  • Changing officers' gun qualifications from a mandatory eight hours at the shooting range once a year to 24 hours in three visits each year.

  • Increasing officers' hand-to-hand combat training from one day a year to four or five days.

Spc. Herb Hood, a friend of Officer Conway's and defensive tactics trainer at the police academy, agrees with the call for more training.

''Katie Conway practices her defensive tactics and her gun-handling skills a lot, and it paid off,'' he said.

He dedicated Wednesday's recruit training to Officer Conway as recruits practiced removing their guns from their holsters as they were seated, lying on the ground and in other positions.

''We're not asking professional athletes to have one practice and play for 12 months, and they're playing for a trophy,'' Spc. Hood said. ''We're playing for our lives.''

Wednesday's report

Colleagues praise officer's quick action
Sequence of events
A determined, caring officer
Gunman 'never talked bad about police'
Police attacks less frequent, more deadly

Tuesday's report

Officer shot; suspect dead
Audio and transcipt of police radio calls