Should police have access to military equipment?
Live Free or Die Alliance Facebook followers overwhelmingly say ‘no’
On nearly any given day, we are likely to read a news report from somewhere that chronicles the use of military-grade equipment by a local police department in response to a crisis.
In the aftermath of Ferguson, Mo., the Live Free or Die Alliance asked its Facebook members whether the New Hampshire congressional delegation should support legislation that would limit the acquisition of such equipment by local police. While not unanimous, the response was overwhelmingly in favor of legislation, as 82 percent of respondents who directly answered the question expressed their support, while 18 percent said they did not. Out of all respondents, 17 percent discussed the subject in broader terms.
In total, the LFDA received 586 citizen responses, including specific comments from 160 individuals supported by 404 concurrences.
For many respondents of the majority opinion, the idea that local police departments require military equipment makes no sense. “Police have no business with military weapons and equipment,” said one respondent.
Several others noted that such equipment belongs only in the possession of SWAT teams and the National Guard. “There's no reason for a small town to have a $300,000 tank,” added one gentleman.
For many who expressed disagreement with such legislation, however, tactical concerns were cited. Remarked one respondent, “They should get whatever they need. The last thing we need is for our cops to be outgunned by our criminals.”
This last notion troubled many of the respondents who chose to discuss the subject more broadly, as one woman referred to possibility of police outgunned by even civilians in some cases as “a Catch-22.” She added, “We have a heavily armed civilian nation, so at times the police may need to step it up for the safety of the citizens — such as in the pursuit of the Boston Bombers.”
Rob Levey is editor of the Live Free or Die Alliance website, LFDA.org. The nonprofit, nonpartisan Live Free or Die Alliance, which takes no position on this or any other issue, presents this report not as any sort of scientific poll or survey, but rather a digest of citizen testimony. To learn more about this issue or the LFDA, visit lfda.org.