There’s no question that a career in law enforcement can be dangerous. Policemen are faced with dangerous individuals every day, and it’s impossible to predict when or where a situation will escalate to violence. In just over 200 years, there have been more than 20,000 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. In the past 10 years, 1512 policemen and women have been killed. The numbers are frightening. Standard police weapons and body armor are no match for some of the powerful, sophisticated military-style weapons and body armor that, increasingly, criminals have access to.
Over the past 10 years, there have been dozens of cases where an armored vehicle was the only thing that stood between police officers and a determined gunman. In most cases, the armored vehicle not only protected law enforcement but made it possible to subdue the gunmen without violence. Admittedly, armored vehicles are expensive, but these types of active shooter situations seem to be increasingly common, and you can’t put a dollar value on a life.
One of the most publicized cases where an armored vehicle was crucial in ending the situation was June 12, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. A gunman had killed 49 and wounded 58 others at the Pulse Nightclub, and many others were trapped in the building. Police were able to use an armored vehicle as a battering ram to open a wall in a bathroom where survivors were hiding.
If you’re a police officer, there’s no way to know what the criminal you’re facing tomorrow will be carrying. If it weren’t for the armored vehicle, the situation in Orlando may have ended up even worse—and that’s the case with dozens of similar situations over the past 10 years. Some see these armored vehicles as overkill, and in most situations, they are. However, when lives are on the line, it’s always better to have it and not need it than it is to need it and not have it.