Police official says police tactics helped officers during San Bernardino shooting

Posted at 10:53 PM, Dec 02, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. -- Most localities in the Central Virginia have similar armored vehicles to what you saw maneuvering in San Bernardino Wednesday or have access to them.

Less than two years ago, such vehicles and military surplus weapons sparked a nationwide debate.

Later Wednesday, several people CBS 6 spoke with said the response to the mass shooting incident was proof that police departments need them.

San Bernardino, CA is more than 2500 miles from Richmond, but the massacre hit close to home for Fraternal Order of Police president Kevin Carroll.  His sister lives not too far from the Inland Regional Center.

"Until you get the details of what took place, it's scary,” said Carroll. “I knew she lived in the area with my nephew.  I got a call though and she's fine."

Fraternal Order of Police president Kevin Carroll

Fraternal Order of Police president Kevin Carroll

The mass shooting killed 14 people, and at least two suspects are dead.

It's a scene where witnesses report hearing more than 100 shots during a shootout between suspects in a black SUV and police in armored vehicles.

"It keeps officers safe and citizens safe, sounds like a win to me," said Carroll.

The use of the vehicles was under review by the Obama administration in August of 2014. At the time, President Obama said, "There's a big difference between our law enforcement and military and we don't want those lines blurred.”

Police armored vehicles

Police armored vehicles

"They gotta protect and serve, man," said Eric Mason.  He said it's clear to him that in California, the "blurred lines" were crossed and he’s OK with that.

"I don't have a problem with it,” Mason said.  “If they need it, go ahead and use what's there for them."

After every mass shooting and there have been hundreds in the U.S. so far this year, law enforcement officers say they learn more about how to minimize loss of life.

They say using armored vehicles and a change in tactics is something that's working in their favor.

"Knowing what to do and being confident with your abilities. That's what gives you the intestinal fortitude or guts to get out of your car and run toward the chaos," said Carroll.

Local police departments don't want to give an itemized list of what they have for strategic purposes, but CBS 6 reporter Jon Burkett said departments do have access to these type of vehicles and they use them during hostage and barricade situations.



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