(Reason) -- A news photograph from Friday taken in the normally placid suburban community of Roseville, east of Sacramento, was shocking. A California Highway Patrol officer was pointing a rifle at a motorist stopped at a checkpoint, as police searched for an armed parolee who had injured some of their colleagues. It seemed reminiscent of an occupying army.
News stories focused on the suspect and the details of the manhunt, but the police approach – evacuating houses, using military-style vehicles and helicopters – raises a question rarely asked about policing policies today: Do they unnecessarily endanger the public’s safety?
When agencies combed Southern California for former Los Angeles Police Department officer Christopher Dorner in February, some officers fired upon innocent bystanders who didn’t come close to the right profile. Dorner, a large black man, was driving a gray Nissan truck, but an officer shot two Latina women driving a blue Toyota truck. An officer also fired on another bystander 20 minutes later.
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