WHITTIER, Calif. – Cops in California are livid following the murder of Whittier Officer Keith Boyer. The suspect accused of killing him has been identified by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as 26-year-old Michael Mejia. He is a documented gang member, reported ABC7News.

Cops are livid due to lax sentencing

Police are livid because of lax sentencing that has prevailed in the state over the past five years. Many believe it played a significant role in the shooter’s freedom.

Crime laden day

Mejia is accused of firing at Boyer and Officer Patrick Hazel while the two were responding to a traffic accident in Whittier’s Friendly Hills neighborhood Monday morning.

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Authorities said Mejia was involved in a car crash near the area of Colima Road and Mar Vista Street. When the two officers approached Mejia and tried to search him for weapons, he opened fire with a semi-automatic handgun, officials said.

At least one officer returned fire, striking Mejia. All three were rushed to local hospitals. Boyer, a 53-year-old father and full-time member of the force since 1990, was pronounced dead.

Authorities believe Mejia murdered his cousin and stole the car a few hours prior to the traffic collision.

ABC 7 Eyewitness News

In a state that prides itself in police professionalism and comparatively well compensated based upon national averages, the rank and file are frustrated with a liberal system of injustice for career criminals.

Many peace officers believe “crime pays” in the state, which has led to scores of departures upon retirement from active duty. This is an anomaly since it’s geographically desirable.

Chief and Sheriff speak to the issue

Gathering himself during a press conference Monday, Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper took aim at controversial laws, which have allowed early release of convicted criminals on parole—laws that California law enforcement has vocally opposed on every front.

“Enough is enough,” Piper said. “We keep passing laws that keep raising crime. We have to think about what we are doing to our communities and officers by putting these kinds of people back on the street. You have no idea how things have changed in the last four years,” Piper continued. “People don’t want to follow rules, don’t care about people.”

The chief’s concerns were echoed by Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell who spoke about the passage of new laws that put convicted criminals like this shooter out on the street with an early parole.

“AB 109 provides for some early releases. Prop 47 stops people from entering the system and Prop 51 accelerates their release,” McDonnell said.

“County jail has become a default state prison,” McDonnell lamented. “But people need to be rehabilitated before they get released on to the streets.

“Not mentioned is the reality that punishment for many crimes has nearly evaporated in California,” said Jim McNeff, retired lieutenant from Southern California, and current editor-in-chief at Law Enforcement Today. “Cops in the state are fed up with the revolving doors in the penal system.”

“There also needs to be drug treatment and treatment for mental illness first,” said Sheriff McDonnell. “Right now, we are putting people on the streets who are not ready to be on the streets.”

While Chief Piper and Sheriff McDonnell spoke to the issue, their words are tame compared to the livid conversations occurring in police locker rooms up and down the state. All is not well regarding public safety in California.