Police in Paris will be given heavier artillery in the wake of last November’s terrorist attacks.
All told, members of the Brigade Anti-Criminalité, the city’s special police force, will add 200-odd assault rifles, 1,800 bulletproof vests, and some nearly 250 Kalashnikov-resistant shields.
One of the first to arrive on the scene at Le Bataclan on November 13th was a member of one of Paris’s BAC units, who was able to shoot one of the terrorists dead with his handgun, but was forced to back down against the remaining terrorists, who were both strapped with Kalashnikov assault rifles, until special police units could arrive with matching weaponry.
Many might bristle at the further militarization of the police in France’s capitol—with its 2.2 million strong population and tens of millions of tourists a year—but a few assault rifles and a lot of defensive gear is a long way from U.S.-style militarization.
Take Keene, for example, a town in New Hampshire with a population of 23,000 and a murder rate of about two every five years: instead of bulletproof vests, their police for has a Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Vehicle Counter Attack Truck (or “BEARCAT,” an animal that doesn’t exist) to help quell terrorist attacks from nearby rogue nations like Vermont and Massachusetts. It cost just shy of $300,000.
The munitions payday for the Paris police, which includes Tasers and other less-fun weapons, has a cost of about $18.5 million, or 61 BEARCATS, with enough left over to buy Motu Matatahi, a two-acre island in French Polynesia that’s only ten minutes from the famous “Blue Lagoon” by boat.
“Some of the criminals you are confronted with no longer hesitate to use heavy weapons against you,” interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve told officers at a police station in Paris, “and you must be equipped with the means to fire back, and adequate protection,” Mr Cazeneuve told officers at a Parisian police station,” which begs the question: what will they arm police with when they upgrade from assault rifles?