Police officers should be armed but not militarized

Graphic by Kyle Alvarez
Graphic by Kyle Alvarez

Police officers are employed to protect the people of the United States. In order to protect the people the police need weapons, mainly firearms, to carry out their job and keep people safe. However, with the many events of last year involving absurd police actions, there has been an increase in opposition to what our police is an organization of protecting and keeping the peace or a new military organization. The police is not a military organization, so why does the police require things that the military does like tanks and heavily armored trucks. The police should be armed, but not to the extent that the police look and have the same toys as the military.

Police officers are know to be the keepers of the peace and protectors of everyone. The police are now seen as abusers of their power and prejudice, because of the events of Ferguson and Eric Garner case. The problem stems from militarizing the police, and not training the police like the military. In the coverage from Ferguson the police look menacing because of the weapons possessed and the use of these weapons. The police have been militarizing since the 1990’s to fight the war on drugs, and only now are their consequences for this.

The English police force is unarmed with the reasoning being tradition and does not necessarily end with dead officers. However in 2012, two female constables were killed and England questioned whether or not to remain an unarmed police force. The police need weapons to carry out their jobs to protect others, but most importantly themselves. Police are people too, they have lives and families. Those families want to see them home everyday. Firearms are now a tool of necessity for the police.

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On the other hand, the police have weapons that should not be used anywhere besides in war and combat. The Department of Defense’s 1033 program offers military surplus equipment to police forces. This seems to be to enhance the police and use the gear that the military does not need now. However, this has given police forces the availability of military transportation vehicles and gear to make them look militaristic. SWAT raids have a correlation to the militarization of the police. The number of raids have increased 279 percent since 1980. These raids are not all that necessary in every time. Many people across the United States have noticed and taken actions to prevent more uprisings and militarization of the police forces.

The police should be armed to protect themselves and the people of the United States, yet the police should not be a military. Actions need to be taken to dismantle the police forces and rebuild. There should be no need for combat equipment to be used at home.