Police Militarization

Since the beginning of any formal police department in the U.S they have had access to military vehicles, weapons, and gear. Not only does this allow them to respond to any situation imaginable, it allows them to do so with great speed and precision.  However, in light of some recent events, the public has begun to cry out for de-militarization of our police, which in my opinion is absolutely absurd.

For starters I’d like to take a look at the definition of Militarization according to the Oxford English Dictionary, “Give (something, especially an organization) a military character or style.” The key words in that definition are Character and Style. Contrary to popular belief, a militarized police force does not mean, in any way, that the police department has the same capabilities as the military. I would certainly hope people are content with police having military grade gear like vests and SAPI (small arms protective insert) plates for their own protection, along with military grade small arms (rifles, pistols, and carbines) in order to deal with extreme threats. The only aria in which I can see anybody having a problem with is the use of military vehicles. The problem is, our police departments may use up to date armored vehicles but have no access to any sort of tanks. They are simply provided with LAV’s (Light Armored Vehicles) with mounted small arms in order to maintain operational effectiveness

SAPI Plate after being hit

In fact, the closest thing to a tank in possession of the police I have ever seen is an old M113 tracked LAV being used to approach a suspected bomb. This was the case with the recent San Bernardino attack when several bombs were present, one at the scene where the chase ended. This attack is the prime example of why out police should be equipped with military grade equipment, small arms, and vehicles. If the California police had been armed with anything less the chase would have lasted much longer, and that could have resulted in a much greater loss of life. This raises the question, if you find yourself near an active shooter or terrorism situation, would you rather the police cower behind squad cars and try to talk out the problem, or would you want them armed, equipped, and ready to take action in a swift, and effective manner? Not only are todays police in one of the most dangerous environments in our history, but they must face this world, which seems to be targeting them, with nothing more than 2 steel plates in their vests, and the undying love for their country. If that isn’t admirable, I don’t know what is.

-Zack S

M113 Tracked LAV

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About SaintsGOV16
We are students in Dr. Ostroff's sections of U.S. Government at All Saints' Episcopal School in Fort Worth, Texas. (www.aseschool.org).

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