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A Kinder, Gentler Police Force | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

A Kinder, Gentler Police Force

After months of riots following officer involved shootings and use of force incidents, the nation has been torn when it comes to how to solve the problem. Recently, President Obama weighed in and decided that what is needed is a softening of uniforms and gear. In other words, what the nation needs is a kinder, gentler police force.

President Obama’s first step was to prohibit the sale or loaning of military style equipment to police departments, a step which was prompted by last year’s rioting in Missouri. Now he wants police officers to lose their intimidating helmets, shields and batons when responding to civil unrest. Instead, officers are asked to wear “softer” uniforms and respond with arms open showing a willingness to work with the community in addressing its problems or concerns. Sounds great doesn’t it?

Riot GearWhat the President does not understand, probably due to the fact that he has never worn ANY uniform and never spent a minute in a squad car, is that the average cop does not patrol in the type of uniform he believes is the problem. The average officer wears uniform trousers and a button down shirt similar to what has been worn for generations. If a “military style uniform” is worn on patrol, it usually consists of blue, black or green BDUs with maybe a polo shirt replacing the button down and topped with a ball cap – hardly intimidating.

The helmets, riot shield and batons only come out of the trunk when needed. Yes, officers dressed in this manner were present in Missouri, and more recently in Baltimore. But this was not done simply to intimidate citizens; although officer presence is a first level of force, it was necessary to protect those officers from rocks, bottles and other projectiles being thrown from the crowd or dropped from roof tops. Ever been hit by a rock while wearing a ball cap? It isn’t pleasant to say the least.

It is also important to remember that, although the presence of helmets and shields may be an excuse for current anti-police rhetoric, they are not a new tool. Police have been using helmets and shields for decades when responding to “civil unrest” – otherwise known as rioting.  Prior to this, officers did show up with little more than a mega phone and a hope that those involved would respond to a show of authority.  Unfortunately, the result was often a long list of injuries on both sides, injuries which could have been avoided if officers had been equipped with proper protective equipment.

Asking officers to respond without the proper uniform for the situation is like asking our troops to storm a beach in board shorts and flip flops. In other words, it is so outlandish of a knee jerk reaction that it should be immediately dismissed as being on the same level as the existence of fairies and unicorns.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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