Should we have unarmed police?

Apropos of the recent protests regarding Americans killed by police… Now that the crime rate has fallen so much in the U.S., why continue to arm the typical police officer? It is true that we are a nation of gun nuts, but it is still a minority of Americans¬†engaged in criminal activity who carry guns, right? Why should every police officer bring a gun onto the scene? That would seem to invite a huge escalation of the violence, either with the officer afraid that the suspect is going to grab the gun or that the suspect might choose to shoot him or her before the gun can be pulled out, etc. The British seem to manage with the first line of law enforcement being unarmed with deadly force. Is it crazy to think that it could work here? (The Economist did a comparison of shootings by police in Britain versus the U.S. in an August 15, 2014 story.)

Related: My October 2014 posting about armed police approaching a stalled-out car.

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

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