Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the North Hollywood, Ca., bank robbery shootout that changed the way police forces arm themselves and continues to touch the lives of those involved, reports the Associated Press. Hundreds of rounds were fired during the 45-minute gunbattle, and 11 officers and six civilians were injured. The two bank robbers were killed.
AP says that he heroic way police handled the incident gave a morale boost to the Los Angeles Police Department, which was struggling to rebound after the 1991 Rodney King beating and subsequent race riot. Dozens of Web sites are dedicated to the shooting and have links to video clips. Covered from head to toe in Kevlar, the robbers carried high-velocity assault weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Los Angeles patrol cars now are equipped with AR-15 assault rifles and have Kevlar plates in the doors for added protection. Other police forces added firepower and training to prepare for more varied threats, said John Firman of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “There is a lot more focus on the planning and strategies of the bad guys” in police training, he said.