Looking back at the week in news

Joe Biden would bring more than just entertainment

We hope Vice President Joe Biden gets into the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

He’s reportedly thinking about it now that the party’s long-assumed coronation of Hillary Clinton appears to be at least a little in doubt.

Besides the entertainment value in having a guy who is well known for tripping over his own tongue and once famously uttered an f-bomb at a White House bill-signing ceremony, Biden brings some things to the table in the policy department. When he was in the Senate he chaired the Foreign Relations and Judiciary committees, so it’s not like the guy is a lightweight.

Sure, he once declared that "I can die a happy man not being president," but his entry into the race would give voters another choice.

You could even say, as he might put it, that it would be "a big…deal."

An alternative for police
officers stuck in a tight spot

The idea is a laudable one: Give police "blunt impact projectiles" they can fire that cause suspects enough pain to bring them under control, but stop short of killing them.

Given all the attention being paid to police shootings of unarmed suspects, the new product from a Massachusetts company is an idea whose time has come.

An executive of the company that patented the projectiles agreed to serve as a test target, and he described the sensation as akin to "being hit by a hockey puck."

Sixteen law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and six in Canada have purchased the projectiles made by Micron Products Inc., including the SWAT unit for Los Angeles County in California.

"They want an option that bridges the gap between baton, Taser and their service weapons," said Salvatore Emma, Micron’s chief executive officer.

It’s not clear that the projectiles will be widely used in the industry, but anything that gives officers on the street more non-lethal options is a good thing.

Another good example of local community policing

The best police departments are those that understand that the community they serve is one of their biggest resources. The public can act as a department’s eyes and ears and a huge source of support for officers trying to do a hard job well.

On the flip side, everybody has seen the bad things that can happen when a community and its police department operate on an "us against them" level. To be truly effective, police must engage the community – a concept that was raised by at least one of the Nashua mayoral candidates in Tuesday night’s debate at Nashua High School South.

School resource officers in schools help foster communication and understanding, and so do community outreach events like last summer’s open house held at the Nashua Police Department. This week, we were glad to see Merrimack police held a "coffee with a cop" event at a local Starbucks in which residents were encouraged to come out, meet their officers and engage in a dialogue. At least 10 Merrimack officers attended the event, which was also well attended by the public.

"With everything going on in the country, we want to make sure we show our community that we are part of it," Merrimack police Capt. Mike Dudash.

It’s a sound idea, which is one of the reasons the "coffee with a cop" program is catching on around the country.