Increase non-lethal gear for police officers, special units

Frederick Favor

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It is a serious problem when someone dies for no reason. Many incidents of police brutality have resulted in the deaths of unarmed victims in recent years. Nationally, “there were 990 fatal police-involved shootings, of an average of 19.8 per state,” as reported by NJ Spotlight.

Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was unarmed when Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson shot him. Guns shouldn’t be used by police in every situation, only when a suspect is armed. Police officers are supposed to wound an individual or use other tactical defense equipment like stun guns, collapsible batons, pepper spray or rubber bullets that wound not kill.

After incidents like these, police officers in some places have been ordered to wear small video recorders to keep track of how they handle situation. Having cameras on police officers is a good idea, but they should also use equipment that is designed for each type of conflict. In serious situations with a gunman, the police should deploy the S.W.A.T. unit; for less serious situations, police officers will be deployed. The right unit should be sent to address problems that match their specialty; for example, the S.W.A.T. unit specializes in confrontation with armed individuals and high-risk situations. They are equipped with military grade equipment and are trained in situations beyond the capabilities of ordinary police, according to the Los Angeles Police Department website.  

Ordinary police units should be trained just like S.W.A.T. to ensure effectiveness in every situation, but the difference is going to be in the type of gear they use. Ordinary police carry handcuffs, a handgun, stun gun, baton and flashlight. So the new gear that should be added to their arsenal is pepper spray, protective gear, tear gas and guns that are loaded with rubber bullets only. New training for ordinary police units that helps them make the right choice for each situation will help mitigate the likelihood of an unfortunate incident happening. This will help them focus on countering the threat in the right way. The result would be that the number of deaths of unarmed individuals would decrease, and this will also change the view of people on how police officers do their job.

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