We’ve seen these programs come and go over the years based on what is happening with the military and what war they are or are not engaged in. We have not seen a lot of usefulness for us in the military surplus. We don’t need armored personnel carriers or grenade launchers. Police and the military don’t do the same job. The military mission is to win this country’s wars on foreign soil. There are times and places for some kinds of military equipment for police but they are very few and very far between. In contrast, we are part of the fabric of our community. Which means that we do our job in ways that builds trust with our community. We want you to know you can count on us to be fair and to do the right things while doing our job in the most professional way possible. And we know that relationship is built over long experience.
We don’t have a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team here in Auburn Hills. We have trained our officers to a higher level to be able to take some kinds of actions to protect themselves and rescue others. Often being able to act quickly can resolve a situation before it devolves into a crisis. We have been local leaders in less lethal force options because we believe that you want us to take that step first, if we can. When we have exhausted our options and we have need for a SWAT team we call the Sheriff’s Office or the State Police who work with us to achieve a necessary end. But the responsibility for our community is still ours–we don’t turn it over to someone else to make decisions for what is right in our town. The SWAT teams are leaving when it is all over–we are staying.
So the same people you see at National Night Out handing out raffle prizes or in your neighborhood registering your child’s bike or the school officer at your child’s school or having lunch in our local restaurants or giving safety talks at preschools and businesses are the same people who will make decisions in our town when a crisis occurs. We have invested our lives here, we know people here and we understand how this community wants to be policed and their expectations of us.
And we don’t see a role for military grade weaponry. That is not what we are about.