Shouldn’t police be armed? Some people don’t think so.
Whatever your feeling on the 2nd Amendment, it would be safe to assume you favor policemen and policewomen being armed as part of their jobs. Not just in the line of duty, but it follows that law enforcement personnel might come in contact with persons they have put in jail at any time, and those criminals might just hold a grudge. So police should reasonably have a weapon handy at all times.
This logic does not seem to hold true in Mesa, Arizona or Belleville, Illinois.
First to Arizona. Officer Scott Urkov dropped his daughter off for school on his way to work. Since he was on his way to work, he was in uniform, including his service revolver at his hip. Later that day, the principal of Entz Elementary school called and asked the officer never to wear his uniform on campus again. Apparently several parents were concerned at seeing a fully armed policeman at the school. The officer originally vented his frustration on Facebook, but now has been advised not to talk about it anymore and just let it be.
The school district later issued an apology, claiming that the intent was not to offend the officer. They have now rescinded the prohibition and have asked the officer to speak at a special assembly to explain his role in the community.
Next, in Illinois. Five plainclothes officers went to a Denny’s in Belleville at around 10 am local time. All had badges on their belts or on chains around their neck. The officers were seated and ordered, received their food, and began to eat. Then store manager David Rice approached the group and said a diner complained about seeing a gun. The detective assured the manager they were all law enforcement officers, but the manager insisted they take their weapons and lock them in their vehicles. The detectives all then got up and left their food, refusing to pay. On their way out, General Manger Michael Van approached the officers and said Rice was wrong and they could say. The detectives left anyway, making a point to check for any signs barring guns by the front door. There were none.
After hearing of this incident, the Belleville police chief forbade any officer in his department from eating at that Denny’s while in uniform or while on duty for plainclothes detectives. Since the publicity of this incident, a formal apology has been issued and law enforcement officials are now allowed to patronize this Denny’s again.
In both cases, a severe gap in logic seems to have occurred. Many people think the average citizen should not be carrying a firearm in public, especially with many high profile cases of public shootings occurring. But do these people really also think that the people who are charged with protecting the public good should not be armed in the course of doing their job? If I saw a police officer at my child’s school, I would expect them to be armed because IT IS A POLICE OFFICER. If I saw a police officer that wasn’t armed, I would be more alarmed and suspicious, as it simply would not make sense to see a police officer in public without a gun. And if I was in a restaurant, and five people walked in with guns on their hips, sat down, and calmly ordered, my first assumption would be they are probably plainclothes detectives. If they were up to trouble, would they flash their guns before sitting down and ordering food? No, they would come in with guns drawn and pointed at everyone.
Even out of the context of these situations, I find it mind boggling that anyone would ever suggest a law enforcement official should not be armed. In 2012 alone, 120 officers were killed in the line of duty. How many more would that be if we insisted they keep their weapons locked in their cars? Are people really so scared of seeing ANY gun that they would be willing to put the protectors of the public safety at risk?