This myth is yet another example of “if you tell a lie enough times, people will believe it”.
If you ask the people spreading this lie to define “The militarization of police” they’re argument will boil down to police equipment or tactics and their appearance. I would explain to them that they are probably not trained to do brain surgery so what makes them qualified to criticize a surgeon about what instruments he uses to perform his surgery? The logical answer is, they are not qualified.
Recent televised riots by mobs attacking police also showed police officers deploying equipment that the untrained citizenry associate with the military. The anti-police faction in our country, including here locally took these images as an opportunity to take an obscure word “militarize”, give it an evil connotation and apply it to necessary safety equipment our police need to defend themselves and the community.
The use of armored vehicles to transport money is a common everyday sight in America and I have never heard one person or seen one newscast complain about the “militarization of money transport.” Yet some people complain because police use similar vehicles to protect lives.
It is a sad truth that we live in a country where gun violence is commonplace and our police quite often must face heavily armed criminals. Believe me as an experienced police officer, we wish we didn’t need this type of equipment.
For many years, our police have been saddled with trying to “play catch up” with a criminal element that works to overpower or outgun our police.
My first memory of this was on August 1, 1966, as a kid, watching TV newscasts of a sniper with a rifle in a tower at the University of Texas in Austin randomly shooting and killing 14 people and wounding another 34.
At that time, Austin police had no specialized unit or equipment or armored vehicle and were only armed with revolvers and shotguns which were ineffective against a sniper. Citizens had to bring the officers their own hunting rifles and other officers had to go home to get their own rifles. Needless to say this lack of proper equipment added to the number of people that were killed or wounded.
Since that day, there have been countless deadly incidents of police facing dangerous criminals who are better armed and can only be stopped by weapons or equipment that appears distasteful to the untrained eye.
The 1997 North Hollywood Bank where two bank robbers fired 2,000 rounds of ammunition, injured 11 police officers and 7 civilians. The robbers were so well armed and the battle lasted so long that the police had to run to local sporting goods or gun stores to get more ammunition and better rifles to defend themselves.
Los Angeles police officers using civilian armored truck and injured officers and civilians during North Hollywood Shootout.
In 2014, an estimated 1,000 police officers searched a forest for 48 days for a man that ambushed and murdered a Pennsylvania state trooper. The killer was a self-taught survivalist, dressed in camouflage and well armed. The police had to dress in camouflage also and use armored vehicles to protect themselves.
The list goes on and on. Police need and use this equipment to protect themselves and save lives. It is reckless and life threatening to deny police vital equipment based on an anti-police lie.
Heavily armed survivalist killer. Police officers wearing camouflage clothing and using an armored vehicle searching for survivalist killer.