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Off-Duty Police Officers Want to Bring Their Guns to NFL Games So They Can Thwart Terrorists
Following the terrorist attacks in Paris last month, the National Fraternal Order of Police sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell asking him to rescind the league’s current security policy and allow off-duty police officers to bring their guns into NFL stadiums. Their belief is off-duty officers with guns can help prevent or thwart terrorist attacks at American football games.
Here’s the NFOP in their own words:
The terrorist attacks and threats of attacks from organizations like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are selecting targets based on the amount of death and injury they can inflict – mass murder and casualty events. Well-attended venues and areas are being deliberately targeted by the radical killers who do not intend or expect to survive the assault. Law enforcement, even when working actively with highly trained and skilled security professionals, cannot be certain that all threats will be detected and neutralized.
The NFL has not issued a formal public response to this request. However, when the NFOP raised objections to the NFL’s zero guns policy when it was put in place back in 2013, the NFL offered this defense of their philosophy:
Recognizing that reasonable people may hold a different view, the NFL believes the safest environment for all fans is achieved by limiting the number of firearms and weapons inside stadiums to those required by officers that perform specifically assigned law enforcement working functions and game day duties. On average, more than 500 civilian security personnel and 150 on-duty uniformed armed law enforcement officers were assigned to protect public safety and enforce the law in every NFL stadium.
The league also laid out the inherent risks of allowing off-duty officers to carry firearms:
If permitted to carry concealed weapons, they create deconfliction issues for working law enforcement officers and increase the potential for “blue-on-blue” response confrontations. … Moreover, off-duty law enforcement officers are not included in the on-site law enforcement chain of command or bound by department or agency-on-duty policies that restrict their use of alcohol or subject them to other on-duty behavior standards.
Personally—and I cannot believe I am about to say this, but here it goes—I agree with the NFL on this one.
With the security the NFL currently has in place, there’s no way an ISIS gunman is getting an assault weapon into the stadium. And that’s the only kind of terror attack an off-duty cop with a gun could possibly expect to thwart. In the highly unlikely event that somebody managed to sneak an explosive device in (remember, the would-be Stade de France bomber wasn’t allowed through the doors after a standard pat-down), the chances that the attacker would be identified by an off-duty cop before detonation are infinitesimal.
Then there are the other issues. What if an off-duty cop with a gun has a few too many and gets in a fight him- or herself? What if he or she responds to a violent situation appropriately, but the on-duty cops at the game arrive at the scene and think he or she is the threat?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-cop, and I’m not against off-duty cops carrying guns in general. In fact, I welcome it in places where (a) there is not already a significant police and security presence, (b) off-duty officers are unlikely to consume excessive amounts of alcohol, and (c) fights and brawls are not highly likely to occur. By all means, protect the hell out of me and my family at malls and movie theaters. But NFL stadiums? No thanks guys, I’m good.
What do you think, internet?
Hat Tip – [Deadspin]