Yes. There is no valid reason for a police force to possess military grade weaponry or vehicles. There is a reason that the military exists, and this reason is very different from the reason a police force exists. A police force is to protect and to serve a small local jurisdiction. Militarization is not needed for this purpose.
Recently in my own hometown, our police department received a new "tactical response vehicle" also known as an armored personal carrier. We also received shipments of new AR-15 tactical assault rifles and bullet proof armor. The level of militarization of the police has gotten out of hand in recent days. My hometown is only 65,000 people. Why do we need an armored personal carrier?
I agree, but with an important side note. Police are not military units, they should not possess assault weapons and they should not be in armored tanks and personnel carriers. However as the top comment on the "no" side stated police officers should have protection. This does not have to mean that they possess military grade weapons and be ready to use them on civilians. Officers should be armed with a handgun for dire situations, a taser for when an unarmed target refuses to back down and a pepper spray for an alternative to the taser. When protests turn into riots police should be armed with shields and body protection, but this doesn't have to be black and resemble a military it should be blue to let people know that they are still police officers that still protect the peace.
As the widow of a LEO killed in the line of duty, incidents like these riots are the very reason I will always support better equipment and more training forever and ever, Amen. Praying fervently that all officers involved make it safely home to their families after dealing with these fools! And I’m sick of hearing about ‘police militarization’. Many of things said about it sound no different than liberals whining about civilian gun ownership.
SWAT was created to counter a growing problem of extraordinary situations where heavily armed and trained officers were required to end a potentially, or already, violent situation. The officers need the proper equipment to perform such tasks. APCs can be used to safely create a moving barrier to get close to an active shooter, M4s are a standard close quarters weapon.
The police currently receive this gear at a discount from the military. Most departments would not have the funds to acquire this equipment new. Without access to this equipment, we are putting officers lives at risk.
The problem is how and when these teams are deployed and when they are allowed to use deadly force. Government policy, through the last few decades, has slowly given more power to law enforcement by taking away citizens freedoms. Just look at the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, etc.