Imagine a Law Enforcement Officer Without a Gun. You Need Only Look to the Maine Forest Rangers.
In 1990, a Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy went into an ambush described as a death trap. Deputy Bunker was with an unarmed forest ranger on the call.
At the time Maine Forest Rangers were not permitted to use firearms as part of their enforcement responsibilities.They came out of the ambush with six bullet holes in Bunker's cruiser and a bullet in the Ranger’s hip.
For a brief time, the Maine legislature allowed the forest rangers to carry, and the guns, ammo, and vests were purchased but ultimately the forest rangers never wound up armed and the policy was reversed.
A new bill, presented by Representative Dunphy and co-sponsored by several others, comes before a legislative committee this Wednesday in Augusta.
Craig Poulin with the Maine State Law Enforcement Association says the time has come to allow forest rangers in Maine to be trained and equipped with firearms.
"When a bad guy sees a uniform coming they're not not going to stand there and do an analysis as to whether or not you're armed or not before they decide what they're going to do. And these forest rangers are being put in situations every day in a changing world. I mean we're not talking about 1950 or 1960 we're talking about 2013, and every thing that's come along with this changing world, and they're daily put into situations where but through the grace of God nothing has happened yet," says Poulin.
A public hearing on this bill is set for 1pm Wednesday at the State House in Augusta.