Archive for Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Editorial: Armored and ready

October 17, 2012


OK, Lawrence, we’re about to get our very own armored car — whether we need it or not.

America’s taxpayers collectively will pick up the tab, so the $152,000 expense won’t be borne entirely by Lawrence taxpayers. A Homeland Security grant will fund the acquisition, and it’s not yet known from whom the vehicle will be purchased.

The case for the vehicle is made by Police Chief Tarik Khatib, who says in a memo to the City Commission: “A purposefully built vehicle which protects its occupants is a necessary component of any professionally equipped law enforcement agency; especially one that is responsible for safety and response in a large university city…

“Such a vehicle would increase the department’s capability and officer safety in response to critical incidents involving active shooters, barricaded and armed individuals, and perimeter control out in the open,” Khatib wrote.

It would be a tragedy if any of our officers were injured or killed in an incident in which an armored vehicle would have offered protection, but the chief’s rationale sounds a lot like the arguments offered for traffic signals: Somebody’s gonna get hurt or killed unless you install a signal! And if it’s appropriate for a professionally equipped law enforcement agency in a city such as Lawrence to have such a vehicle, it marks a turning point that certainly means there’s very little reason to consider the Lawrence we love as some idyllic college town. How sad.

Well, Al Capone had armored cars. And one of them, the story goes, wound up being thrust into service for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Perhaps that means some alternative uses can be found for the city’s new car.

Apparently it won’t be delivered until 2013 – not in time to be pulled by Percherons in the annual horse-drawn Christmas parade. Perhaps, though, with astute planning and some luck o’ the Irish, it could power the Sandbar float in the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day extravaganza.

Seriously, let’s all hope it’s never needed.


Richard Heckler 5 years ago

I prefer to keep war toys out of parades. War toys are nothing to celebrate nor do I feel safer because Lawrence is buying one. Spend the $152,000 connecting the Burroughs trail to the river levy trail.

But i guess you are right that Lawrence might no longer be the safe small town of some 25 - 100 years ago.

Yes what comes with more growth comes more and more crime. An armored car speaks volumes of the change growth has brought to Lawrence. Gone are the days when in Lawrence,Kansas cars could be left unlocked most anywhere.

Frankly I say the justification for such a vehicle was weak at best. An armored vehicle will NOT prevent an attack nor prevent killings..... that part of the equation will have already been underway or accomplished.

Pamela Shanks 5 years ago

Read again. The vehicle was purchased to protect the officers who have to respond to the call. No where was it stated that it was preventative other than preventing harm to officers. Frankly, we are lucky that the recent movie shooting did not happen in Lawrence. He had applied to KU and had he been here, it could have been our movie theater that was the target. As you stated we are not the safe small town of 25 - 100 years ago. In 2011 55/134 law enforcement fatalities were firearms related. So far in 2012, 35/99 law enforcement fatalities have been firearms related.

bad_dog 5 years ago

Thank goodness the Aurora police force had such a vehicle during the recent shooting. We can only imagine what might have happened to the police if the vehicle had not been available.

cowboy 5 years ago

Hopefully we'll have it and never need it .

riverdrifter 5 years ago

Waste of tax payer money, in otherwords....

kernal 5 years ago

Interesting comment, SageonPage, especially because I've yet to hear any liberals say the liberals will riot if Romney is elected, but have heard multiple conservatives say the conservatives will riot if Obama is re-elected. And now, here you are claiming the liberals will. Careful what you wish for.

Getaroom 5 years ago

It's main use will be Intimidation. And as far as never needing to use it, if they have it, they will use it. That is the military way. The military and the police are always looking for an excuse to use new "toys". Can't you just hear the command, "SWAT, deploy the APC!" Can't wait.

happyrearviewmirror 5 years ago

Overkill! An authoritarian attitude along with the typical lower Midwestern incompetence and ignorance forms a toxic combination.

oldbaldguy 5 years ago

I have been concerned for years with the militarization of local police. LPD does not need an APC. The Feds are paying for this out of Homeland Security funds. This unnecessary and it is going on all over

Pamela Shanks 5 years ago

And, I am quite disappointed with the tone of this editorial. That the writer thought it OK to joke about the safety of the officers of this town is so very inappropriate. If you disagree with the purchase, do it with sincerity and back it up. To turn it into a joke is a slap in the face to the officers Lawrence and the family members who sit at home waiting for them to walk through the door.

The word is out to Kansas City and Topeka area thieves that the residents of Lawrence don't: 1. Lock doors to homes 2. Lock doors to vehicles 3. Leave valuables, $ and electronics in open view in vehicles overnight. 4. Leave garage door openers in vehicles overnight.

In other words, we are easy pickings. The homicide tally in KC is 87 so far. Let's hope that stays there. But if not, I want the officers responding to the next stand-off with a weapon safe.

As the writer stated, it is sad that we cannot think of ourselves as an "idyllic college town." However, it is time to wake up to reality. How many tragedies do we have to observe in other college towns before we realize that really could be us? Again, we are so lucky that the recent movie shooting did not happen in Lawrence. He applied to KU and had he been here, it could have been our movie theater that was the target. I don't know how more real the threat is going to have to be before some in the town takes it seriously. Sadly, I think it will take the "tragedy" to which the writer refers before an attitude shift happens for many. Finally, it is very sad that this editorial perpetuates this attitude by joking around.

somebodynew 5 years ago

I too am disappointed witht the tone of this editorial. It sounds more like a letter to the editor from one of the citizens who still believe Lawrence is an "idyllic college town". It is well past time that the citizens who live here realize that Lawrence is just like any other City and has it's share of crime (and sometimes more than it's share).

Just because the LJW doesn't employ many reporters who actually try to find things that are going on, and instead, wait on the Police and Sheriff to 'spoon feed' them what they qualify as news is no reason to perpetuate the myth that 'nothing goes on in Lawrence' and it is just a quiet little town.

You can have legitimate arguments about wether the police need this equipment, but for a newspaper editorial staff to treat this subject in (my opinion) such a dismissive manner is un-called for. But then, these are the people who might have use for one of those armored vehicles while people are shooting at them. These would be the people cowering in locked offices and hiding under desks waiting for some officer to recue them. (Without the benefit of the proper equipment if the editorial board had their say.)

cowboy 5 years ago

Your editorial sucks.

I would not want "our guys' having to respond without the best equipment and safety available.This crazy crap can happen anywhere these days. While I think the police perform a fair amount of just plain citizen harassment , when the phone rings about something crazy they don't have a choice , they must respond , and they deserve every safeguard available.

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