POLITICIANS, government officials and editorial boards have no business using the recent spate of shootings of police officers as grounds for their anti-gun position. They have no right to call for tougher gun laws "for the sake of those officers." Not unless they talk to them first and find out how they feel about the issue.

Police chiefs should also spend more time with their own troops before they join the chorus. Of course, that might mean going against the media who've decided they know more about fighting crime than the cops do.

More gun laws will never be part of the solution until the laws already on the books are enforced with vigor. Unless violators are held accountable and punished to the max, they will continue to violate the law, the old ones and the new ones. What evidence is there to make the anti-gun lobby think differently?

Cops know better than anyone just how poorly the criminal justice system is performing today. They see it every time they risk their lives to take down an armed thug who is back on the street before the ink dries on his arrest paperwork. They keep arresting the same people over and over again, and watch as judges treat them with kid gloves.

Let's try enforcing the current laws, sentence gun-toters to full prison sentences - and make prisons a place they won't ever want to go back to.

That's what cops want to hear when anyone speaks "in their name."

Just ask them.

Joseph Fox, Chief Inspector (Ret.)

Philadelphia Police Department

Red-light camera warning

AAA, with more than 650,000 motorist members in the Philadelphia region and 3 million in Pennsylvania, is worried about Philadelphia's red light camera program.

Lawmakers are losing sight of the essential purpose of program - traffic safety. They are now fighting about the money because some view red-light cameras as a cash cow.

Traffic safety was the original and should remain the guiding and only principle of the initiative, not revenue generation, regardless of how worthy schools or other myriad purposes may be!

The legislation that created the city's red-light camera program ensures that monies generated from the fines be used only for transportation enhancements and traffic safety. And, that's the way it should be.

AAA has watched too many other cities' red-light cameras become nothing more than a "profit center," where yellow lights are short-timed to do nothing more than catch motorists.

Government and legislators further dissipate what precious little credibility they may still have with their citizens and law enforcement loses respect.

When traffic safety takes a back seat, the cameras become nothing more than a "gotcha game for greenbacks" - and everyone loses.

Catherine L. Rossi, Manager

Public & Government Affairs

AAA Mid-Atlantic