Law enforcement in St. George, Utah is alive and well and much of that has to do with the plethora of both lethal and nonlethal weaponry local agencies have acquired to protect citizens and combat criminal activity.
Officers in Iron County and Washington County are equipped with rifles, shotguns, and handguns as part of their lethal arsenals but also with such nonlethal weapons as pepper spray, Tasers, batons and nightsticks, and bean bags. Every law enforcement officer in St. George undergoes extensive training and all have recently begun to have their uniforms fitted with “body cameras” that are being used to records all of the officers’ interactions with the citizenry.
Some of the agencies also have SWAT teams in place or have other tactical and special weapons teams that participate in interagency task forces. According to a St. George Police Department spokesperson, these tactical teams are intended for implementation in both serious situations as well as those that are not a severe threat to human life such as flooding, situations that would require extensive traffic control and other logistical tasks. Interestingly, however, they would not be dispatched for fast-breaking emergency events like school or office shootings. Another specialized unit is in place to address these types of active shooter situations.
St. George’s efforts are indicative of what has been happening in local law enforcement agencies across the country. These types of tactics by local law enforcement are causing the public to become aware that law enforcement is taking on a more military-style armament and capability, offering the assurance that police are well-prepared for anything that may happen on their watch.