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Boynton Beach resident Dolkens Bruno, 38, is a man with an idea.
Moved to action by stories about young black men being shot by police, Bruno, an engineer by training and a construction worker by day, came up with the idea for a car-window sticker to alert police that the occupant has a concealed weapon inside.
“As a construction worker, I’m always thinking about safety issues,” he said. “And, as a father of a young daughter, it hit home when Philando Castile was shot last year in Minnesota in front of his daughter during a traffic stop.”
“What if that happened to me?” he said. “My daughter would be devastated for the rest of her life.”
Statistics from 2012 state that Florida has more concealed weapons permits (887,000) than any other state, according to PolitiFact Florida.
Bruno created his company, Carrier Shield, with that in mind. He wants to sell annual subscriptions for $79 to $99 to encode the driver’s license, registration and concealed weapons permit in a sticker to be placed on a windshield or car bumper.
“This way, when you are pulled over, if you own a gun the police are made aware of it,” he said. “If you reach, you may end up shot and dead.”
He said he believes alerting the cops ahead of time will reduce the anxiety between police and the public.
His goal is to talk with local police departments to solicit their buy-in. He ran the idea by Boynton Beach District 3 City Commissioner Christina Romelus, who said she believes it may be a workable idea, but difficult to obtain buy-in from local police departments.
“Anything that allows for a smoother interaction between police officers and the public during a traffic stop will be a positive step in the right direction,” she said. “If it promotes transparency and dialogue, it’s a good idea.”
However, Eric Davis, a 30-year police veteran and spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, is not so sure.
“Knowing there’s a gun in the vehicle – that’s not going to make me relax,” he said. “What will make me relax is having the subject comply with my directions.”
“All we ask is the two Cs … comply and, if you need to, complain,” Davis said. “If you feel your treatment is unjust, you have recourse through the legal system.”
He pointed out that the sticker could be on a stolen vehicle or on a car on loan to someone else.
“Having a sticker on your car is no guarantee on how the subject will behave,” he said. “It’s the behavior that alerts us to possible threats.”
“Having a vehicle sticker won’t change my behavior or approach,” he said. “Your behavior is more important than the sticker. If I ask for your license and registration, please comply.
“Watching the subject’s behavior in the vehicle, whether they will follow instructions and listen to our requests, these are the things that would calm the officer.”
He makes the comparison between the Carrier Shield and a sticker indicating someone is an NRA member.
“Do I treat them differently because they have an NRA sticker on their car?” Davis said, rhetorically. “The answer is no.”
“I commend Bruno for his thoughts and efforts to protect officers as well as the public, but I don’t think that is the answer,” he said. “What we want is everyone to go home safe and for us to go home safe as well.”
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