Dr. John Lott has a new piece at Townhall about Biden’s comments this week on policing.
Joe Biden doesn’t understand the risks and dangers involved in policing. Police have a tough and dangerous job, and armored military vehicles, shields and military-grade body armor can save officers’ lives.
“Surplus military equipment for law enforcement? They don’t need that,” Biden claimed. “The last thing you need is an up-armored Humvee coming into the neighborhood. It is like the military invading — they don’t know anybody, they become the enemy. They’re supposed to be protecting these people.”
Biden doesn’t realize that with rocks, bricks, and bottles thrown at the police — and even bullets fired at them — the police couldn’t have stood around the protestors without shields and body armor. Rioters injured 50 Secret Service agents in front of the White House in early June. What is already a dangerous job would be even more dangerous.
If you doubt that, look at the looting and violence that happened when politicians ordered the police to stand down during recent riots. Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, suffered several nights of destruction — including the burning of an abandoned police station — until the governor fully mobilized the National Guard and police were allowed to respond.
The vast majority of the military surplus equipment provided to the police is defensive gear. Still, even extreme-sounding weapons have important functions. Some police departments face well-armed and vicious drug gangs. Flash-bang grenades may be the safest option to immobilize criminals before police enter a room, and sniper rifles might be necessary to save innocent lives when hostage situations exist.
The Clinton administration set up the “1033 Program” to provide police with a wide range of sophisticated military equipment to deal with heavily-armed drug gangs. Biden hasn’t put himself in the shoes of a police officer going up against drug gangs in residential neighborhoods. It’s sure safer to breach the walls of the house in an armored vehicle. Would Biden rather have extended shoot-outs?
The same goes for no-knock warrants for drug cases, which Biden called “bizarre.” Giving drug gangs advance warning that the police are about to enter a building means more violence, not less. Judges have to approve those warrants. If Biden thinks that restrictions need to be tighter on what judges approve, fix that, but why eliminate the entire program?
Supplying police with the tools that they need is an issue that the Fraternal Order of Police cared deeply about during the 2016 election. Indeed, they based their endorsement of Trump in part on his promise to overturn Obama’s ban. Columnists for the Washington Post might think “it’s for the best” that an “entire Florida SWAT team resigned last week.” But we ought to listen to officers when they tell us they are poorly equipped and inadequately trained. They are the ones who have to enter the dangerous situations.
With calls to defund the police, Barkan asked Biden about the benefits of eliminating police. “Instead of sending two police officers with deadly weapons to that drive-through in Atlanta, we could have sent a wellness counselor and a tow truck and Rayshard Brooks would still be alive today. And his three daughters would still have their daddy. Are you open to that type of reform?” Biden responded: “Yes, I proposed that type of reform.”
The problem is that Brooks attacked the police. If the police, trained in dealing with violent suspects, had trouble dealing with the powerfully-built Brooks, a wellness counselor would have had even more trouble. As the bodycam video reveals, the police act compassionately and courteously with Brooks until he attacked them and stole the stun gun. The officers just wanted to evaluate Brooks for intoxication and then take him into custody if necessary. After that, a wellness counselor might have been the appropriate person to help Brooks.
Shrinking police forces and limiting the tools at their disposal will mean more crime. President Trump, unlike Biden, knows what it means to be tough on crime.
Violent crime has brought the greatest harm to minority communities. Trump’s policies do more to help those communities.John R Lott, Jr., “Biden’s Policing Policies Will Endanger Police, Raise Crime Rates, and Hurt Blacks,” Townhall.com, July 10, 2020.