I have been a police officer for over 34 years. I served in the US Air Force. I have been fortunate to have travelled to several countries and across the US. I am a proud second generation law enforcement officer. Like other professions everywhere, I have been second guessed and lectured by wellmeaning citizens who had no reservations about sharing their opinions on tactics, procedures, personal equipment, vehicles, armor, and weapons that police utilize. Maybe due the internet (or staying at a Holiday Inn Express) most are instant experts on anything we do.
In recent discussions about armored rescue vehicles (ARV’s), a few people did the same thing without understanding the task, concepts, legal limitations, or standards of care to law enforcement.
Everyone is entitled to an Uninformed Opinion
Being an expert in one field does not mean that one is well-informed about the other. Critics may not fully understand that regardless of a police departments issued equipment, state and local law enforcement agencies are firmly under the control of the citizenry, not the DHS, FBI, or NSA.
Armored Recue Vehicles (ARV’s) Are Nothing New
Claims that ARV’s use by police with special weapons is a recent occurrence are incorrect. Police departments were developing highly specialized vehicles since the 1940’s. Most critics are completely unaware that the modern ARV’s used today based on decades of trial-and-error during the rescues of wounded citizens and police officers.
Speaking as a taxpayer, father, and husband, I’m glad these vehicles are available in case of emergencies. Should my family ever need to be saved while bullets are flying, I want the police to arrive with enough personnel, weapons, and armor to conduct an effective rescue. We are the American people. You are us. We are you.
We Are Not at War With the American People
Tactical teams are seeing barricaded persons, active shooters like we saw in Fort Hood, Aurora, CO, movie theater shooting, Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, the shooting deaths of two onduty firefighters in West Webster, NY, Those are the things that really concern me, and should make all law abiding people concerned.
Our challenge is to make sure we are prepared to respond to every type of emergency. If a SWAT team needs to get close to a shooter or get bystanders safely away from one, the ARV would be the vehicle of choice. This levels the playing field for law enforcement as our country advances into a war zone with gangs and criminals. PA announcements from the ARV can tell any media and onlookers that the police do not intend to hurt the suspect and only want to end the situation peacefully. Often, the most effective announcement is “We’re NOT going away,” because some suspects think that the police eventually will.