Armored vehicle provides peace of mind for Niles

The Niles City Council made the correct decision when it voted to support a request from the city’s police department to obtain an armored personnel carrier from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The vehicle will replace a similar one the city had to return recently after President Barack Obama signed an executive order banning the use of tracked vehicles by civilian law enforcement agencies.

The new vehicle will have wheels instead of tracks and won’t be in violation of the order.

There are a few reasons why this is a good idea.

The first and most important reason is that it will help keep our community safe.

Police could use the armored vehicle during the execution of a high-risk felony arrest warrant or to evacuate children during an active shooter situation at a school. It could also be used to transport first responders over rough or muddy terrain that would otherwise by inaccessible to most vehicles.

Fortunately, Niles police never had to use the other armored vehicle in the 13 years it was at the department. That does not mean nothing will happen in the future.

We’d feel much safer knowing that police have the vehicle just in case.

Another reason why getting the vehicle is a good idea is because it will cost the city next to nothing.

Chief Jim Millin said he expects his department will spend less than $1,500 to acquire it using a program offered by the Department of Defense. Any other costs would come from purchasing gasoline or routing maintenance.

That’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

The only criticism we’ve heard is that the vehicle could give the police department a more militarized appearance, thus making them less approachable to citizens.

While this is a valid concern, the police chief said the vehicle would not be paraded around the city. The only time people will see it is during training exercises or if it has to be used on the job.

As we see it, the vehicle is another tool that will help police more effectively do their job.

 

Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.

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