Monday, June 08, 2015

Disarming A Police Force A Bad Idea

A city councilman in nearby San Marino has brought up the possibility of taking the guns away from the police force as a way for a “use of force become a terrible stain on San Marino.”
According to the linked article, within the past five years, police have had to use force a grand total of three times. 
Three times. The fact is that force was used 0.6 times in five years.
So what is it that is really bothering councilman Dennis Kneier?
Here is what worries Mr. Kneier:

While America has a policing problem, Councilman Dennis Kneier said, he didn’t want that issue in his neighborhood. Kneier worries a misunderstanding or accident might turn into a “use of force” and become “a terrible stain on San Marino.” So he suggested staff explore a style of policing where patrol officers don’t carry firearms.

America has a policing problem?!
I don't think so. 

We have a huge overreaction problem, but not some widespread "policing problem". 
But San Marino is the Beverly Hills of the San Gabriel valley. The median income is $147,000,
In fact, San Marino is the third most expensive city to live in Los Angeles county. It tops Beverly Hills and Malibu. It is a small town, only about 13,000 population. But it is surrounded by larger cities such as San Gabriel, Temple City, Alhambra and the behemoth of Pasadena. 
In other words, there is a reputation to protect. 
And that reputation is protected by 25 sworn police officers, seven cadets and a slew of civilian employees. And at a city of 3.8 square miles, that's 6.5 officers per square mile. 
Now I noted that there has not been a situation in which force was used that was due to some misunderstanding. 
What does the police chief think of such a proposal?
Police chief John Incontro is not all that keen on the idea. 

“We’re not an island, and we don’t have a wall around us,” Incontro said. “We have people committing crimes from outside this city, and the officers need to be prepared. They need to be sufficiently equipped to handle those incidents.”

Most valid point! 
One does not realize that a small town surrounded by larger towns as is San Marino simply puts them smack in the middle of potential trouble. 
Chief Incontro also noted a couple a major shootings that occurred in small towns. Those being Newtown, Connecticut and Lakewood, Washington. 
Some cities in Los Angeles county choose to have a local police force and some choose to contract out to the county sheriff. San Marino wants it's own police and what comes with that. That includes a unique sense of community of knowledge thereof. It's not to say that if the city decided to eliminate the police force and contract with the LACS it would  be bad. But they carry guns. And deputies don't necessarily stay in one area too long. 
The good thing is that the rest of the city council did not think it was a good idea, it is not being entertained at this point.  That does not mean citizens should not be vigilant and keep pressure on the city council to avoid a future council from entertaining it as a good idea. 

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