Opinion

Trust police to maintain order

The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri reopened the debate on the use of force by the police. A contributor to The Miami Hurricane gave his own opinion on the matter and questioned the state of civilian-police relations in a way that was not entirely definitive.

The columnist noted that CS gas, commonly known as “tear gas,” was outlawed for use as a weapon in war. However, the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention specifically allows for the use of such agents as a means of riot control. What does this mean? It means the use of tear gas by police departments is not of questionable legality, as the author insinuates, but is well-understood as necessary by the international community.

SEE ALSO: Military weapons destroy trust between police officers, public

As for the use of military equipment by police, the aforementioned article claims that “police cannot develop the necessary experience to handle [military-grade equipment],” which results in police “using [said equipment]carelessly.” Without proof, this is pure speculation on the part of the author.

Per the standards of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which certifies police agencies in this state, officers are required to take a qualification test at least once a year for all weapons they intend to use, whether they be handguns, shotguns or AR-15 style rifles. Simply put, no officer will handle a weapon for which he or she has not received training.

If you wonder why the police carry such weapons, look no further than the riots that broke out in Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict was delivered or the looting that took place in Miami in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. Violence of such magnitudes could happen anywhere, and I’m sure we’d all prefer the police have weapons bigger than the criminals’.

Why weren’t the police “focusing on individuals trying to incite riots, or looters,” the writer questions. Tell me; if you were in that chaos, would you be able to easily separate the looters and rioters from non-violent protestors? When the police receive notice of an urgent emergency (known as either a Code-2 or Code-3 call) requiring an immediate response, minutes mean the difference between life and death. The first priority is always to maintain order and prevent the situation from worsening.

Once again, this is easier said than done. Hindsight is 20-20, after all. We can second guess the actions taken in Ferguson until the end of time, but none of us were there being forced to make split second decisions.

We must always hold our public servants accountable, but it is equally important to scrutinize the job honestly. We must respect the immense pressure of making split-second decisions that mean life or death. If we lose all faith in our police, what does that say about us as a society?

Will Schaub is a senior majoring in political science and English. He may be contacted at w.schaub@umiami.edu.

September 16, 2014

Reporters

Will Schaub


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Three of four University of Miami scholarship quarterbacks were suspended at various times this seas ...

While the University of Miami offense has struggled mightily this season, its defense has been stell ...

The Pittsburgh Panthers boast one of the best rushing offenses in the country. On Saturday, the Miam ...

After watching several juniors turn pro and then go late in the draft or not at all in recent years, ...

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Monday: ▪ If you ever wondered what the Hurricanes would look like if ...

Erin Kobetz, director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Firefighter Cancer Initiative, disc ...

Kristiana Yao, who graduated summa cum laude in May, said she was “still in shock” after finding out ...

UM Libraries is presenting an extraordinary exhibit that immerses the audience in an emotional journ ...

A UM researcher is helping to lead a study on how smoke interacts with clouds and its impact on the ...

People are bombarded with news and information these days, providing opportunities for discourse tha ...

The Miami women's basketball team jumped two spots to No. 22 nationally in the first in-season ...

The Canes got back to their winning ways with an impressive 38-14 victory at Virginia Tech. ...

The No. 24 Miami women's basketball team dropped a 75-52 decision Sunday at Iowa State in the P ...

20-point performances from Chris Lykes and DJ Vasiljevic led Miami past Bethune-Cookman. ...

The University of Miami volleyball team forced No. 10 Pitt to five sets in a thrilling match on Seni ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.