by Dr. Raoul Hunter, staff writer
Former Joplin, Missouri Chief of Police David Niebur would be proud. For those of you who remember, the lawman led the Joplin Police Department into battle from 1992 to 1997. During his reign, he unleashed the the local cops onto the populace like Heinrich Himmler on an acid trip. “Jack-booted thugs” was a term tossed about frequently when the JPD cruisers prowled the neighborhoods.
The jury is out as if to whether or not the cops have mellowed some since Niebur’s departure, or if they have simply gotten sneakier. At any rate, they are now in a position to make a grand entrance whenever Joplin suddenly becomes plagued with land mines or ambushes on…well, a MRAP.
What I am referring to is the Joplin Police department’s acquisition of a MRAP, which is an acronym for a military “mine-resistant, ambush protected” vehicle. The armored vehicle is a former ride used in the “wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan. The good news is that the $733,000 vehicle did not cost the taxpayers anything. The bad news is…it’s here. According to Joplin Police Lt. Sloan Rowland, it will only be used in rare instances that may include situations where there is an active shooter.
When we think of an “active shooter” we tend to imagine some madman opening fire at some location like a mall or a school. Movie theaters seem to be quite popular as well. Security professionals recommend that if you find yourself in a situation like this, you should immediately take cover. That makes a hell of a lot of sense. Find any place you can and get out of the shooter’s line of fire. Sadly though, the people who are in the gunman’s immediate vicinity are the first to take fire.
Generally, when a situation like this occurs, someone manages to call 911. When that happens, best case scenario suggests that the cops who have gone through the training to be able to operate the MRAP happen to be sitting in it, waiting for that “rare instance that may include situations where there is an active shooter” that Lt. Rowland spoke of. The odds of that scenario are highly unlikely.
A more realistic scenario suggests that once the police dispatcher receives the 911 call, “regular” cops are dispatched to the scene, while the “special” MRAP/SWAT cops are being rounded up. In the mean time, the “regular” cops have managed to pull themselves away from the rampant bicyclists who refuse to use headlamps at night and arrived at the scene to set up a perimeter; waiting for the MRAP and SWAT to arrive. Once the SWAT team decides on their point of entry, they move onto the shooter. Typically, they are now inside the building, while the MRAP is sitting outside waiting for its photo-op.
If the shooter happens to fire outside of the building towards the bystanders with their cell phones on video, the ones who happen to be on the far side of the MRAP will probably be safe.
That is, if the cops let you near it.