Monday, August 23, 2010

Ask and thou shalt receive

Americans by-and-large have asked for more police protection, and these days the bar is set at this level instead of here where it was in my youth.
The officers are counseled to be more aggressive in confronting a threat when victims are in imminent danger, rather than sitting back and establishing a perimeter.
I can see this going both ways. The comments to this article are brisk to say the least, though there are not many. I don't have any experience around Fairfax county police, so I can't speak for their professionalism, but something about training them to be cool around machine gun fire while being confrontational and aggressive just doesn't sit right with me.

Going by the articles in law enforcement magazines, the transition to the patrol rifle is close to complete. AR15s make an exceptional defensive weapon, and truth be told I am more comfortable with the idea of a cop firing single 55 grain rounds at a scumbag in a crowded mall than a magazine tube full of buckshot; what gets me though is the militarization of it all, and how the American people are great with the idea of every county and every police department having a crack team of nylon clad agents with automatic weapons.

Yes, the ultimate goal is to have cops stop the bad people before they do anyone harm, but don't forget about the human factor. Sometimes SWAT shows up at the wrong house, tries to arrest the wrong guy, or lets a round go from their pistol in an act of negligence and the outcome is not good. Police want to do the right thing and protect the public, but how about thinking this through so that things don't go to far. It's logical that training follows the issue of a shiny new rifle, but the training should be clearly defined, and so should the lines of authority. There are good folks who receive rifles and training, with clearly defined authority, and Fairfax county police are starting to look just like them. That's not exactly something to celebrate.

Cops wanted carbines, the public consents, and now they have them. Perhaps now is a good time to start reviewing the training and the mission involved.

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