Police officers have the right to the fullest protection possible when operating in an explosive, turbulent and riotous situation and when their lives are threatened. Yes, we believe they should be trained fully when operating military-grade equipment.
The White House is going to lead a review of whether the government should continue to provide surplus military equipment to police departments. The review apparently will include whether there has been adequate training in the use of the equipment.
All of this is a result of the Ferguson tragedy and lawlessness that occurred and in which some military equipment was used to quell the rioting and looting.
The calls for curtailing or stopping this program by the federal government must be made by people who are not aware of how armed the populace is today. There are more guns on the streets of America than ever before. Never in the history of our country have our law enforcement agencies faced so many armed criminals. An officer of the law today never knows what to expect when on duty. Chances are in many cases, whomever they stop for whatever reason, that person may be armed.
When we have a Ferguson situation, officers may face an added hazard.
We have yet to have anyone tell us what harm was done in the use of this surplus equipment in Ferguson. To some, it may have looked like “overkill” on television screens. To us it looked like protection for our officers in the line of fire, and an added means to stop the rioting and looting.
Of course, it became political before thoughtful consideration was given. One of our U.S. senators, Claire McCaskill, immediately called for an investigation into supplying police departments with surplus military equipment. That was a knee-jerk reaction.
One of the reasons for the program is to arm police departments against terrorist attacks. That may seem a stretch to some people, but the threat is there. It may seem remote to many people, but we’d rather be ready than not prepared.
As long as there is adequate training in the use of the military equipment, we see nothing wrong with the program.