Military gear a balancing act for law enforcement

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The images from Ferguson, Mo., over the past two weeks have been troubling on many levels.

The shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown raises a host of questions about the use of force by police and the impact of race in these tense, often split-second confrontations. Bits of information have leaked out but there is much the general public does not know about what happened on Saturday, Aug. 9, in the St. Louis suburb, and we hope the investigation currently underway will soon answer those questions.

But the response of local law enforcement to the protests and rioting that followed the shooting have produced a whole other debate about the increased militarization of local law enforcement in the United States. Interestingly, the concern has come from viewpoints as diverse as conservative Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul to the American Civil Liberties Union.

It is an important discussion that the public and government need to have.

Without a doubt, the worldwide terrorism that came home to Americans on 9/11 has changed a lot of things. Local and state law enforcement now must be prepared for situations that we could not have imagined a few decades ago…

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