On February 28, 1997, Los Angeles police officers engaged in one of the most violent gun battles in modern law enforcement history. A foiled bank robbery and the lengthy exchange of gun fire that followed came to be known as the North Hollywood Shootout. Twelve officers and eight civilians were wounded. The two heavily armed bank robbers eventually were taken down. What makes this shootout involving nearly 2,000 rounds of ammunition memorable is the fact that the police were outgunned by the criminals who were wearing the latest in body armor and carrying military-level armaments. The battle gave police agencies a compelling reason to better equip patrol officers, arming them with semi-automatic rifles, rather than pistols and 12-gauge shotguns.
That was then and this is now.
Barack Obama has announced a ban on federal transfers of various types of military-style gear to local police departments.
“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like they’re an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them,” Obama said in a speech in Camden, New Jersey earlier this week. He said such equipment can “alienate and intimidate local residents and may send the wrong message.”
He announced the formation of a volunteer, “Elite Tech Team,” described as “data scientists, software engineers, and tech leaders, to assist law enforcement.” Obama absurdly says, “They’re going to work with the police department to troubleshoot some of the technical challenges so it’s even easier for police departments to do the things they already want to do in helping to track what’s going on in communities, and then also helping to make sure that data is used effectively to identify where there are trouble spots, where there are problems, are there particular officers that may need additional help, additional training. All that can be obtained in a really effective, efficient way,” he claimed.
Since when is it up to the President of the United States to decide how individual city police departments function and which officers may “need help or additional training?” Exactly how do volunteers fit into that scenario?
Through an executive order, Obama instructed federal departments to consult with police and civil rights groups to come up with restrictions on police use of military equipment.
Obama also declared that he is launching what he calls “Promise Zones,” to combat “a sense of unfairness and powerlessness, to change the odds for communities because we’re providing job training, and helping to reduce violence, and expanding affordable housing.”
Instilling the importance of education, respect, and working to lower the astronomical out-of-wedlock births in black communities —- which carry a near certain guarantee of poverty and accompanying high crime rates —- would be a great starting point.
But don’t expect that to happen. The national media remains fixated on supporting Obama’s agenda of racial divisiveness, dutifully reporting on his betrayal of our dedicated law enforcement personnel —- blaming them for unrest and now severely restricting their abilities to serve and protect.