Recently I stepped out of my house in Henrico County to find 10 police cars parked on a side street. What, might you ask, was the incident that necessitated such a massive police presence? Was it a raid on a meth lab? A madman taking shots from his attack window? A shootout between rival gangs?
Nope. These Henrico police officers were responding to a domestic violence event. I watched from my window while they used a battering ram to break down the back door of the house next to me. One of them had a Taser at the ready, and four or five of them had their guns drawn and held up.
Police, ideally speaking, are meant to be different. Unless they're getting shot at by some murderous lunatic, they're supposed to view the public ó even domestic abusers ó not as combatants, but as people to whom they ultimately are subordinate.
We don't need our police forces treating the citizenry like domestic terrorist threats. It's offensive to our civil autonomy and an indignity visited upon us by those who are supposed to be serving us.
I have a challenge for all police forces in the area: Institute a no-overkill rule within your departments
. If a police officer cannot actively contribute to a situation, he or she must move on ó to a crime-ridden area where his or her presence is badly needed, say, instead of hanging around talking with other officers. If a crime involves a single person who isn't known to be armed and
dangerous, don't send an entire squadron of police cars to crowd our streets and give the impression of an occupying force. If this results in too many police officers with too much time on their hands, you might be ready to consider some downsizing.