Whitehead’s ‘cops and battle tanks’ is pure fluff


I am responding in regards to John Whitehead’s article on “Why do local cops need battle tanks?” The article was written on a pure liberal-pacifist level.

As a retired law enforcement officer with over 21 years of experience, I can assure your readers that Whitehead’s article is purely fluff with no substance.

Many of the items such as the MRAPs that he refers to in his article are being incorporated by Special Response Teams and SWAT teams throughout the country.

Mr. Whitehead asks what use these tactical tools have in American policing. Obviously he missed the incidents in Newtown, Columbine, and Boston, etc.

I find it not only absurd but incredibly ignorant for him to complain about a town in Maine purchasing eight tactical vests.

I am confident that the vests that he was referring to are level 4A tactical vests. Those ballistic vests are and should be worn by tactical teams which make entry for search warrants and arrest warrants. They have the capability to stop rounds from high powered long guns.

If Mr. Whitehead or anyone else questions the validity of the need for these types of vest, I encourage him to research the case of Deputy Todd Fatta, a Broward County Florida deputy who was killed in the line of duty.

Deputy Fatta and his team of officers were ambushed while serving a search warrant on a suspected child pedophile in Fort Lauderdale. Deputy Fatta was not wearing a level 4A vest and was killed by the subject.

As a result of Deputy Fatta’s death, Broward County Sheriff’s Office was sued by his wife and was awarded $10 million. Part of the lawsuit was based on the officers not being sufficiently trained and equipped.

I ask Mr. Whitehead or any of his followers as to what price they put on a police officer’s life? Mr. Whitehead further states, “growing numbers of unarmed civilians shot by police during relatively routine encounters and in the use of SWAT teams to carry out relatively routine tasks.”

As having served hundreds of narcotics search warrants, I can personally tell Mr. Whitehead that no search warrant should be considered routine. Entering a suspect’s domain is the most dangerous aspect in law enforcement. Officers are entering into the unknown and are at an extreme disadvantage.

Many law enforcement agencies across the country are falling into the trap of using a matrix to classify search warrants as either “High Risk” or “Low Risk” warrants.

These decisions [to] classify warrants is a dangerous gamble which has resulted in the deaths of officers such as Deputy Fatta. The end result is that officers pay with their lives, their families pay for their loss and the agencies pay in civil lawsuits for inadequately providing officers with needed equipment and training.

Citizens can be assured that law enforcement agencies utilizing specialized equipment are doing so for the sole purpose of protecting their officers and the public.

I am pretty confident that Mr. Whitehead would be writing a different tune if one of these armored vehicles was utilized in a hostage rescue event of one of his family members.

Mike DeMarcus
Law Enforcement Training Associates, Inc.
Peachtree City, Ga.