Does APD need militia weapon to protect community?

So, I read that the City Council has approved Alameda Police Department’s (APD) equipment request. This request includes a number of AR-15 semi-automatic rifles.

OK, I know this is the police were talking about, not some dumb civilian or militia wannabe. And I understand the police’s desire to have firepower likely to be greater than the firepower of those attacking the police. (Which likelihood may be overstated, but that’s a different discussion.)

But there’s something about this that bothers me. Maybe it’s just the “optics”, as they say, or maybe it’s the legitimately negative reputation that these weapons have, or the simple fact that some misguided people think police departments should be paramilitary organizations, rather than, y’know, protectors of public safety (for which use AR-15s are sub-optimal). But seriously, in the current climate, AR-15s? Combat weaponry? That’s what you had to request? You couldn’t think of something worse? Maybe anti-personnel grenades?

I sincerely hope APD reconsiders this request. Alameda needs a police department, not a combat regiment.

— Jeff Mark