Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Law Enforcement Firepower - Issuance of Long Arms

I read an article today, at Bearing Arms, titled:

"Incompetent Buffalo PD Boss Forces Underpowered Carbines On Officers"

See: https://bearingarms.com/bob-o/2017/03/08/incompetent-buffalo-pd-boss-forces-underpowered-carbines-officers/

The article lambastes the chief of the Buffalo, NY Police Department and his reported decision to adopt a carbine in 40 S&W, for issuance to officers instead of issuing each officer a carbine or rifle in 5.56X45mm. The union reportedly had been pressuring the department to issue long arms in 5.56 to all officers.

"Buffalo police brass have been publicly squabbling for the past year with the Police Benevolent Association over additional firepower.

The union wants each patrol officer equipped with a higher-velocity AR-15 rifle – or a comparable weapon – in addition to their handguns." (Source).

I do not know the reasoning behind the chief's decision to go with a carbine in 40 S&W and I do not necessarily agree with it. In fact, I agree with the article that a carbine in 40 S&W is not the best choice. I do not necessarily agree with the article at Bearing Arms, in which the author says: "BPD officers deserve the law enforcement standard AR-15 patrol rifle..." First of all, we should not call it a law enforcement standard because that adds to differentiating between our need for similar weaponry and that of the police officer. That is just as the leftists have been trying to do for years by saying such weapons should only be issued to LE.

Secondly, color me old fashioned but I see absolutely no need to arm every officer with a long gun. I am not supporting the chief's position nor am I attacking the article's idea that police do require sufficient firepower. In fact though, I know some good arguments against arming every officer with a long arm at all times while on the job.

In regard to that second consideration allow me to say this about it. First and foremost is the fact that not every officer will shoot them well enough to carry them routinely unless the qualification standards are lowered or fudged or they qualify by the skin of their teeth after a couple to a few failed attempts beforehand. I make that statement after 32 years in federal law enforcement and 15-16 of those years with collateral duties as a firearms instructor, including training agents with all firearms issued by my agency. I also believe that, if they are given normal capacity magazines for rifles or carbines (like 20 or 30 rounds), and they routinely carry them, they may get a sense of false bravado if they ever need to use them in a defensive situation and they will spray and pray by yanking the trigger as many times and as fast as they can until it goes click. That already happens with handguns, just look at the number of rounds fired by officers in some shootings. I believe that in such instances, those rifles or carbines will cause a higher risk of an innocent bystander being injured or killed. Another consideration is that some officers or agents will be physically incapable of qualifying with long arms. (Yes, I believe they should be removed from service but you argue with the heads of departments, lawyers, and leftists who lowered the standards for hiring LE personnel so as for the agencies and departments to be more politically correct in hiring practices.)

Don't get me wrong; I am a fan of officers having sufficient firepower but also of them being very proficient with their issued weapons, and of knowing when to back off until help arrives. I am not a fan of every officer responding to every call with long arm in hand nor off issuing a shotgun, rifle or carbine to each and every officer. That stands especially so for ones who have difficulty with maintaining, or who cannot achieve, high
proficiency with them.

Sufficient firepower for an officer on patrol could include a handgun or a long gun might be required. Those initially issued long arms for routine patrol though should be, in my opinion, limited at first to shotguns. That would preferably be limited to pump action shotguns. They require a bit of work to operate and in essence cannot be utilized to spray and pray by the average officer. Shotguns though should be issued only to those who prove themselves truly above average in use of their revolvers or semi-auto pistols at the range and have an excellent safety record with firearms. Say for instance that, candidates to move up to issuance of a shotgun must first routinely qualify, on average, at 80 or 85% proficiency with handguns. Then they must train with a shotgun and must maintain proficiency and an excellent safety record with them. After at least on year of safe carry and highly proficient use of a shotgun, the officer could be issued a carbine or rifle. However, rifles or carbines should be issued only to those with an 85% average proficiency with the shotgun, just as the shotgun issuance required the same higher proficiency with handguns nd of course they must qualify with the carbine or rifle. In other words the departments and agencies should require that someone with consistently higher pistol qualification scores can try out for issuance of a shotgun, then those with a higher consistent proficiency with the shotgun can tryout for issuance of a rifle or carbine, and on up the line to burst or full auto weapons if such are in the department's inventory. Then they must maintain an excellent safety record and a high proficiency with them to continue issuance. I also believe that any special operations teams should require an average qualification score standard of at least 90 percent of the highest possible qualification score for all weapons including handguns, shotguns, rifles, carbines and burst fire or full auto weapons.

Don't lower standards for the shooter or the weapon - make the standards higher to help assure the officer carrying those weapons is truly proficient. This is in essence how it was done in one of my agencies regarding issuance of the H&K MP-5. I think though it should have been done relative to issuance of all long guns. One other thing, all physically capable officers should be required to familiarize and qualify, with at least the lowest passing score, with shotgun, rifle and or carbine during each qualification period. That to be able to retrieve a fallen officers weapon and properly use it if such an urgent situation ever arises. Many departments and agencies, if not all, authorize officers and or agents to utilize whatever weapon is at hand in an emergency that calls for the use of deadly force. Wouldn't it be better for all officers in a department to at least be familiar with all weapons issued by their department for such emergencies!

I also think that any large department should strive to at least have 5-10% of their officers on special ops teams and about 20-25% of the officers on routine patrol armed with long guns. Very small departments should attempt to have at least one officer, of above average proficiency, per shift who is armed with a long gun. As I pointed out above, every officer should be required to be familiar with all department standard issued long arms (like shotguns, rifles & carbines - and not necessarily burst or full auto weapons) and should be able to operate them and hopefully at least minimally qualify with them for use only in extremely urgent situations.

All the best,
Glenn B