Thursday, August 14, 2014

Police Overkill?

It scares me when I see the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. It seems to be coming more and more common place and I wonder if it isn't time for police departments to go back to the very basics of training and make some adjustments.

While the stories that make the most headlines seem to be between whites and blacks, it's not just that.  We have plenty of white upon white conflicts in our area and someone usually gets shot.   Whatever happened to taking a suspect down with a billy club?  Do they even carry them?  Or even mace or tasers? Why must it always be lethal gunfire?

I listen to a nearby sheriff always ask us to put ourselves in the officer's position.  I get that, but must he always use his gun?  Recently an officer even took out a black Lab in a van because the dog lunged at the partially opened window when the officer approached. Anyone who has the slightest knowledge of dogs knows this is going to happen if someone gets too close to 'his' vehicle! A walk through any parking lot teaches that to you.

So what's the deal? Not only does the training have to be more inclusive of less lethal techniques perhaps the character and personality traits of those applying to serve need closer scrutiny too.

It seems to be going the other way with little departments like ours getting military surplus vehicles which are hardly called for in most circumstances.  Between the militarization of police departments and the focus on lethal methods of taking a suspect, I'm very leery of police.

I don't believe there is mal intent.  Rather a certain sloppiness in execution because of the ease of what is acceptable procedure.

It's a dilemma when in some circumstances officers are forbidden by higher authority from even doing their jobs.  The border mess is the best example. To the circumstance where one shot is all it takes on the other end of the spectrum.  In the case in Missouri it was several shots.

It's the people in between who bear the brunt. Anyone can make a move that seems threatening when there is no such intent.  But to be killed for it?  It's a slippery slope and it's time to throw some sand on it to stop the trajectory!


Betty said...

I couldn't agree more. As to the surplus military vehicles, very few police departments need them, especially small towns. Police departments need some in depth training about the peoples' right to peaceful protest. The media isn't helping, either. One Spingfield, MO station I watch for the news reported "rioting and looting," but there hasn't been a single video depicting that, strangely enough. This is just the media trying to stir things up. Why do the need to lie?

marlu said...

I agree completely and you state it so well.