Stephen Henderson interviews Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard.
Bouchard represented Sheriffs of Major Counties in recent Whitehouse talks about police access to military-grade equipment. He emphasizes that police training and appropriate deployment are key and that resources like armored vehicles and tear gas rifles play a defensive role for police in Oakland County. He discusses common misconceptions that affect political and media discussion about police demilitarization.
Some of the key points from the discussion with both Sheriff Bouchard and WDET callers are:
- Defense against shootings. Bouchard states that West Bloomfield residents expressed gratitude when Oakland County police used armored vehicles to evacuate people from their homes during a shooting.
- Risk minimization. Armored vehicles and specialized weapons can allow police to handle sensitive situations safely and minimize physical threats to themselves and residents.
- Role of perception. Bouchard states that police armored vehicles are often called “tanks” and tear gas launchers are often called “grenade launchers”. He believes that this influences the national discussion about police weapons.
- Armored vs. Armed. Callers emphasize the distinction between equipment that helps police minimize violence and equipment that could exacerbate aggression.
- Feeling threatened. Stephen points out that people feel threatened when they see an armored vehicle which could affect their relationship with local law enforcement.
Hear the full conversation by clicking the audio link above.