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Each Wasatch County deputy now carries a pistol and has a shotgun and one of the military rifles in his or her car or truck.

“Are they absolutely necessary? Well you never know,” Bonner said. “It’s good to be prepared. Will you ever use them? Hopefully not.”

Bonner pointed to the Feb. 28, 1997, North Hollywood shootout between the Los Angeles Police Department and two bank robbers wearing body armor. The police were firing pistols and a few 12-gauge shotguns, and could not penetrate the body armor. One robber, already wounded, killed himself during the shootout. Police officers shot and killed the other robber. Eleven police officers and seven civilians were injured.

In September 1997, the Pentagon sent 600 M-16s to the LAPD.

In his 2013 book, “Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Force,” journalist Radley Balko described how that shootout has been cited by police forces across the country as a reason to better arm officers. Boyack acknowledged that, supporting statistics or not, many police officers fear for their safety, and see the 1033 Program as a way to address their concern.

“Short of some massive cultural shift, I don’t see (the anxiety) decreasing any time soon,” Boyack said.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune,