Two murdered police officers teach a harsh lesson about criminal rehabilitation

Why does the United States lock up more people than anyone else in the world?

That’s a question that gets asked a lot in Democrat circles and it’s a high priority subject in their primary debates. In some areas there is clearly room for a reexamination of sentencing guidelines and it’s not a subject conservatives should shy away from entirely. But at the same time, a rush to release as many prisoners as possible or to shuttle people off to “treatment centers” rather than jail or federal prison presents significant issues as well. We saw a couple of cases of this in recent days which ended in tragedy, taking the lives of two police officers.


One of them took place in Utah over the weekend, where a nearly two decade veteran of the Holladay PD was gunned down while attempting to provide aid to victims of a traffic accident. (Fox 13)

A police officer was shot and killed while responding to a traffic accident in Holladay Sunday, and the suspect who shot him also wounded another officer before being fatally shot a short distance from the first alleged crime.

Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder identified the deceased officer as 44-year-old Douglas Scott Barney, an 18-year veteran of the Unified and Taylorsville police departments and a father of three who worked in the Holladay Precinct.

Upon arriving at the scene of the accident, one of the two occupants of the crashed vehicle jumped out and immediately began firing at Officer Barney, striking him in the head. He later died at a local hospital. Here’s your suspect, Cory Lee Henderson.


After the dust settled, we learned more about Henderson’s disturbing background.

The man accused of shooting and killing Unified Police Officer Doug Barney had a lengthy criminal history that had taken him in and out of state and federal prisons for drug and weapons violations.

A police union is questioning why Cory Lee Henderson, 31, was even allowed to be released, given his criminal history…

  • Nov. 24, 2015: The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Henderson was indicted by a federal grand jury on felon in possession of a firearm, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense
  • Dec. 4, 2015: Henderson is arraigned in federal court, pleads not guilty
  • Dec. 8, 2015: Henderson is paroled to the Fortitude Treatment Center. Federal court records show U.S. Magistrate Judge Evelyn Furse allowed him to be released from federal custody to go to the treatment center
  • Dec. 18, 2015: Henderson is reported as a walkaway from the Fortitude Treatment Center. The Utah Department of Corrections said Henderson checked out in the morning to look for employment but did not return at the end of the day. That night, state dispatch was contacted and notified that he was missing
  • Dec. 21, 2015: A fugitive warning is issued for Henderson

They had Henderson in custody for the umpteenth time and he was known to be dangerous and frequently armed. Yet somehow a judge decided to send him to a treatment center where he simply walked away just before Christmas. The next time we caught up with him he’d murdered a cop.

On the very same day, in Danville, Ohio, police received a call from a woman who warned them that her ex-boyfriend was high on drugs, armed to the teeth and had gone out looking for a cop to kill. Even with that bit of information on hand, Herschel Ray Jones was still successful in his plan. (Daily Caller)

Police have arrested an Ohio man who allegedly went out looking for a cop to kill and found one.

Police say a Danville woman called police to warn them Sunday night, saying her ex-boyfriend “left with weapons and was looking to kill an officer,” WBNS-TV reports. Danville Officer Thomas Cottrell was found shot to death later that night.

“We are very sad to report the line of duty death of Danville Police Officer Thomas Cottrell,” Knox County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook. “Our officers and BCI are conducting the investigation.”

Herschel Jones, 34, was arrested shortly after after being chased on foot. No charges have been pressed yet.

Could anyone have predicted that this might happen? Well, they might have asked his parole officer. (NBC 4i)

John Jones says family members called Herschel’s parole officer last week to report that he had guns and drugs and was at risk of doing something bad. John Jones says nothing was done.


Cases like this are tragic, yet appropriate examples of Democrat “solutions” to some of the challenges we face on the domestic front and how pitifully inadequate they are. On the one hand there is the gun control angle. Neither of these suspects could have possibly gotten a gun legally under existing or proposed gun control laws. They were career criminals who didn’t give a hoot about gun laws and knew how to get around them. But they were also both criminals who had been in custody but had been released. In the case of Henderson in particular, he was sent to a “treatment program” rather than keeping him locked up. And that was despite his extensive, violent record. Herschel was supposedly being kept under the watchful eye of law enforcement because he was on parole. In the end, that will come as little comfort to the family of Officer Cottrell.

These are only two of many stories, and we should keep them in mind when candidates rush to please the SJW by promising less prison time and more “fairness” in the system.

Police Line

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Videos