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Blake Dailami
English 2010
Instructor Brandon Alva
Personal Exploration and Academic Research Essay
November 3, 2014
Are the Police really the bad guys?
As the TV turns on you notice the news headline Multiple people dead including suspected
gunman in mall massacre. The details regarding the story are as follows: members of the SWAT
(Special Weapons and Tactics) team entered the mall. They confronted multiple casualties as
well as man in black mask wielding an automatic weapon strong enough to pierce through a
Kevlar vest (bullet proof vest) and light armor. As the team approaches the gunman they
command for him to drop his weapon and put his hands up. Three commands are given back to
back without hesitation the gunman only responds in a barrage of bullets into a store full of
innocent people. The SWAT team opens fire and the suspect is hit multiple times ending in his
own demise. The majority of the civilians on the receiving end of the killers muzzle were saved
only by the quick reactions of the men and women of law enforcement. Now we ask ourselves
was the force used justified if so, what about the weapons used? In recent months law
enforcement agencies have been under scrutiny as to why they possess such fire power as well as
equipment that can be directly related to Military entities. Many say we are evolving into a
community where police rule with iron fists and military equipment, but arent they just trying to
keep the big bad wolf from hurting us?
So what does this hypothetical story have to do with the topic? The response to this
question is easy. The community is outraged by the actions of law enforcement agencies all
across the U.S. Police officers are using too much force and are being funded to equip military

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grade equipment to combat threats in everyday society. Some say it is too much and is
unnecessary while others encourage it with praise and donations. For the Pro side we have
opinions like this Had we not had the ability to protect officers with those vehicles, I am afraid
that we would have to engage people with our own gun fire. (Madhani, 2014). So their stand on
the idea of being better equipped is not only for themselves but for the civilians. While on the
Con side we have opinions like this Officers dressed in military fatigues will not be viewed as
partners in any community.(Grossman, 2014)
A brief back story to the beginning of the militarization, it began in 2001 preceding the
attacks on September, 11. The government figured that law enforcement agencies needed to be
prepared and better equipped if attacks were to happen on Americans soil. But if course with the
funding came the arguments and protests. Officers received much funding and began to stock
pile heavy weapons and armored vehicles in hope of keeping the streets of the U.S safe. But
dont be fooled to much of our surprise the people of this great nation obviously refuse the idea
of keeping America safe. They argue that instead of making the streets safe law enforcement
officers with their military gear are actually putting the public on edge. Retired Lt. Gen. Russel
Honore said in an interview with CNN "It appears they may be making them up on the way. But
this is escalating the situation."(Levs, 2014) Referring to the recent events in Ferguson that left a
black male teen dead in the streets, outraged; the community has started violent protest and the
officers are in fully dressed SWAT gear and according to the Lt. Gen. Russel it is making things
worse.
As much as I agree with what the majority of the public feels, at the same time I feel that
this topic is one sided not giving the side of the officers a good rep. I say this because I am
involved in a cadet program under the authority of Unified Police Department of the greater salt

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lake. This gives me some knowledge as to why I am for police agencies using the force and
equipment they possess at reasonable times. As a cadet I spend a lot of my time in the Magna/
Kearns area patrolling the streets from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. What this means is that I have hands on
experiences the public does not see. Being out late at night you dont have the safety net that the
day time gives making me all in for the training given to officers to combat sticky situations
whether or not a firearm is present we need to be up to speed on all training that will allow us to
defend the public and protect ourselves. The equipment in my opinion is a necessity and it goes
hand in hand with the training especially now In this day and age where citizens can carry guns
(concealed) but also possess firearms that can out do any old M-4 (the standard issue rifle for law
enforcement). I have talked to a lot my friends that are in Unified and I presented them with
question that were to challenge the use of our equipment, all officers have responded in ways
that are centered around the protection of the civilians and themselves. My good friend Ed of
Unified Police Department feels that if we take away our equipment crime rates would rise and
more officers will be killed. Its not just the equipment and its literal purpose, its deeper than
that, the idea of officers being a power not to be reckoned give the criminals a sense of fear and
cautions, statistics prove that crime has gone down since the 90s. I know earlier I stated post
September 11th we started to militarize and thats true but we have been training officers to adapt
to situation since the 90s. In an article released by the New York times is discusses the dramatic
drop in violent crimes. In all regions, the country appears to be safer. The odds of being
murdered or robbed are now less than half of what they were in the early 1990s, when violent
crime peaked in the United States.(Oppel, 2011). What this means to me is that were doing
something right for the community also I personally feel the criminals are afraid because they
know cops are more prepared and ready to combat any circumstance.

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Whats happening in Ferguson is wrong, police officers need to not be so gung ho about getting
boots on the ground to stomp out the protests but instead take a more passive approach allow the
public to be mad but hold them back, not fight back just hold back. The reason that officers are
being so aggressive is because first off they feel attacked, the officer that fired the shots at
Michael was one of their own. Second off they have never had to encounter this kind of situation
making them scared causing them to act brash towards the public. Pointing weapons at civilian
arresting people without reason and behaving generally like an occupying force on high alert are
not effective tactics for crowd control or dispersing riots(Wing, 2014). This is where the
training comes in, officers cannot be given automatic rifles and told to perform riot control
without someone over reacting (one of the officers) they have to be taught how to deal with these
issues and thats what needs to be done. You cant fight fire with an empty bucket. Officers need
to be trained, this doesnt mean we have to cancel all militarization of officers bad. A small
towns erupts in protests so how can we expect the officers to not be scared and act aggressive its
the natural way of man. You get cornered you fight back thats the mentality. Proper training
allows officers to keep calm and stay under control.
Officers protect the streets in which we live in, as hard as it is to see the equipment they
use saves lives and prevents crime. We might not see them being totted around in our
neighborhoods but that because they are keeping the crime down and dealing with the issues
before they are made public. Sure the police need to be more trained but cant we all use more
training in the jobs we perform. The cops can be aggressive but thats only because they have to
make a split decision, its their life or yours ands thats why cops act the way they do. This goes
back to the story I opened with, but I leave you with a question. Would you rather have an

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untrained officer come to your aid or a trained professional that is confident in getting the job
done safely and effectively?

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Works Cited
Grossman, Andrew. "Senators Criticize Growing Militarization of Local Police
Departments." The Wall Street Journal. 9 Sept. 2014. Web.
<http://online.wsj.com/articles/senators-criticize-militarization-of-local-policedepartments-1410287125>.
Levs, Josh. "Ferguson Violence: Critics Rip Police Tactics, Use of Military Equipment."
CNN. 15 Aug. 2014. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.
<http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/14/us/missouri-ferguson-police-tactics/>.
Madhani, Aamer. "St. Louis County Chief Defends Militarization of Police." USA
Today. 16 Sept. 2014. Web.
<http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/16/ferguson-st-louiscounty-michael-brown-militarization/15736907/>.
Oppel, Richard. "Steady Decline in Major Crime Baffles Experts." The New York Times.
23 May 2011. Web.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/24/us/24crime.html?_r=0>.
Wing, Nick. "Actual Military Veterans Say Cops In Ferguson Are Excessively Armed,
Untrained Wannabes." The Huffington Post. 8 Aug. 2014. Web.
<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/police-militarizationferguson_n_5678407.html>.