HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Law enforcement across the nation is under a magnifying glass these days for a variety of reasons.
Recently, in Huntsville, we got a reminder of the risks of law enforcement when an officer was attacked by a mentally ill man at a bus station. And it raised a lot of questions about what kind of force police should take, when they think their life is in danger.
WHNT News 19 received some interesting perspective from defense security expert Cameron Bucy, who explained how police are trained to combat situations as they arise. But Bucy was quick to point out, it is never an easy decision.
“You may have picked up the wrong tool for the wrong job at that time,” said Bucy, “but unfortunately you don`t know that in those situations until it`s too late.”
Especially, Bucy says, when you have no idea what you’re dealing with. Law enforcement faces the ultimate challenge of not knowing what they are walking up on, when they approach a scene or respond to call.
But they are trained to expect the worst.
“And if it`s less than lethal, is it enough force to take control of the situation? That’s a very fine line they have to walk every day,” said Bucy.
There’s another challenge for officers in today’s society: technology.
With a camera in every pocket, the public is often videotaping police incidents and posting them on social media. And while that can certainly serve to shed light on abuses of power, Bucy says it doesn’t always tell the whole story.
“They may have recorded the last few seconds of it, or the first few seconds of it – and they didn`t see the whole thing.”
Bucy encourages the public to consider how challenging the job of law enforcement really is.
And he says to remember: Police officers have another job to do besides the one they are being paid for, and that’s getting home at night.