Well, think about it.
The police are looking at a vehicle that is behaving suspiciously, and on a license plate check, it comes up as stolen. What do you expect them to do?
Now, the police have to realize there is always a possibility that the database is wrong, and the vehicle was not stolen. But if it is on the list of stolen vehicles, it probably is stolen. You have to figure that the list is right more often than not, right?
So, if the vehicle was stolen, would there have been anything wrong with following the procedure for a high risk traffic stop? Job #1 on a high risk traffic stop is to control the situation and eliminate the possiblity that the occupants of the vehicle, who you figure at a minimum are probably car thieves, can resist. So you stop the car and gunpoint, remove the occupants, secure them (with handcuffs), and then check the registration.
I can see being cautious on the approach and asking them out of the vehicle while you and your guys figure out what’s going on, but there’s an awful lot of “mights” and “coulds” in there to be immediately treating them as violent criminals. I’ve been in their shoes before, in far more dangerous grounds than Wright-Patterson AFB, and I’m not understanding why there’s apparently zero on-site judgment being used. It sounds like they reverted to some battle drill and didn’t bother analyzing the situation beyond what some database told them.
Anyone in the military who’s had to sit through getting their paperwork updated in S1 should know you can’t trust a database any farther than you can throw the SAN that hosts its data.
Here is the correct approach by those doing a necessary job in a society of free peoples :signalling the vehicle to stop ,and a cautious approach with HOLSTERED weapons until close enough to see the occupants were an older woman and children,at which time a slight relaxation in posture would have been appropriate,followed by a REQUEST for license and registration,and a question as to the reason for "cruising the parking lot". the assumption that everyone is a criminal and dangerous until proven otherwise is a complete reversal of traditional America,and that viewpoint neds to be eradicated from police training and policy. There is entirely too much willingness and desire to point guns at people by cowards in uniform. Yes,I said COWARDS, and I mean it!This nation is beset by cowards in uniform who shoot out of unreasoning fear that every and any movement is “reaching for a weapon”. These cowards routinely shoot dogs that are no threat,and unarmed people.Then their bosses defend those acts.
It's been over twenty years since I wore a badge,did traffic stops,responded to accidents, and prowler calls,etc.;and my gun stayed in the holster unless there was a real threat.If there seemed to be potential them my hand was on the holstered gun.Pulling a weapon unless actually threatened creates more danger for everyone and is usually punished if a mere "civilian" dares such a thing. (Another artificial distinction promoted by statists;police ARE civilians.)
But I did have a comrade in uniform who thought it prudent to always pull his gun on routine traffic stops;and the department later had another who pointed his gun at a mother who drove slowly to a safer spot before pulling over.
My instructor long ago told us never point a gun at anything you didn't want to shoot.the chances for “accidental” shots fired by startled ,nervous holders is very high.
There is no good reason for the actions of these Air Farce officers,anymore than the vast majority of guns pointed at people by government agents.
And that was no apology issued by the Air Farce but a CYA press release instead.An true apology would have been delivered in person by the chief and officers involved.The sovereign immunity doctrine protects too many incompetents and powertrippers.
See that there's a granny and kids . . . say "O Sh!t! . . .", keep an eye on 'em while you check the registration . . . then say "Sorry folks, a computer glitch." and give them a personal tour of the museum.