US

For police, San Bernardino and Colorado Springs show need for more military gear, not less

FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2014 file photo, a law enforcement officer watches from an armored vehicle after a device was fired to disperse a crowd during a protest for Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo. Law enforcement officials have lobbied to protect federal programs that have funneled billions of dollars in high-powered weapons and other military-style equipment to state and local police forces, calling the equipment critical in this era of terror threats and the all-too-frequent mass shootings that demand a swift and effective response. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2014 file photo, a law enforcement officer watches from an armored vehicle after a device was fired to disperse a crowd during a protest for Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo. Law enforcement officials have lobbied to protect federal programs that have funneled billions of dollars in high-powered weapons and other military-style equipment to state and local police forces, calling the equipment critical in this era of terror threats and the all-too-frequent mass shootings that demand a swift and effective response. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)  (The Associated Press)

Backlash over the images of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, clashing with officers in combat gear drove an ongoing national push to scale back the militarization of police. Now, in the span of six days, police suddenly have a pair of poster cases for the use of such gear.

California police officers deployed armored vehicles at the scene of a shootout last week with a married couple who had killed 14 people at a holiday party. Officers in Colorado used armored vehicles last month to rescue people from the area around a Planned Parenthood clinic where a gunman killed three people.

It's too soon to say whether the mass shootings will quiet calls for demilitarization. But they have renewed the focus on how much military gear belongs on American streets.