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Old December 21, 2011, 02:56 PM   #1
secret_agent_man
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Police Or Commandos?

The last thread mentioning militarization of the police has closed, so perhaps time to begin anew, with an article on that very subject.

The apparent driver for militarization is cited as $34 billion dollars in federal grant money that has gone to local law enforcement agencies around the country in the wake of 911.

Information is sourced from both sides of the fence. All in all, a fairly balanced article and not a rant against the police.

The death of Jose Guerena in AZ is mentioned near the end.

http://news.yahoo.com/cops-ready-war-094500010.html
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Old December 21, 2011, 03:09 PM   #2
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Is this going to be one of those ironic threads where the same people who advocate having the best possible equipment and training for themselves (all for those situations that might never occur) insist that the police do NOT the same?
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Old December 21, 2011, 04:02 PM   #3
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It looks more like this thread could be a dud.
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Old December 21, 2011, 04:14 PM   #4
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Does the title of that article(Cops Ready For War) mean currently prepared for war, or preparing for war?

Who is the opponent in this war? I hate sensationalism disguised as news in that way.
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Old December 21, 2011, 04:29 PM   #5
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Not as worried.

What do expect is going to happen? while crime may be at an all time low as a whole, the criminals are far more violent and far more likely to use deadly force against officers.

This is why almost every dept, or county has some form of a swat team. This is why those teams are used more and more often to serve search warrants instead of line officers.

As far as the purchasing of military equipment, this is a dual purpose, the military gets rid of old equipment and gets SOME money for it, while police departments get military grade equipment, for officers whom many are Iraq and Afghanistan vets who know how to use the equipment.

While I do agree most departments don't need Humvee, especially unarmored ones (No one in my county can give me a good reason why two of the departments in my county now have several soft skinned Humvees, or the duce and a half truck at my sheriffs dept.) Some of the equipment such as weapons, comm gear, armor, armored vehicles, and the like are convenient.

For those of you who say this stuff is for a situation that will most likely never happen; YOU WILL MOST LIKELY NEVER USE YOUR CONCEALED WEAPON SO WHY DO YOU NEED IT???? Don't like it when I use you own logic against you? The fact is it is better to be prepared and not have to use it than need it and not have it. While I agree some of this is a waste of money, not all of it is.

While police violating peoples rights, and now having military gear to do so is a worry, most officers outside of major cities are still sane. Most officers have a line they wont cross. Keep you departments in check and constantly demand copies of their budgets and ask your local politicians why the departments bought these things. Maybe they need a smaller budget if they're going to waste money.
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Old December 21, 2011, 04:40 PM   #6
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Govt made grants available for small police forces, they use it to buy modern gear and be a better armed patrolman. I am all for it. 100%

Hopefully it will soon suck to be a bad person...
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Old December 21, 2011, 05:46 PM   #7
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IMHO, What gear they have isn't much of a concern, behavior is. Do I think maybe some of the funds used to buy new gear might be better spent on training or other more common use items? Sure. Do I think simply having some military style equipment makes them "militarized"? Newp. As long as law enforcement continues to act in a manner that is not militaristic, I think they should be able to have whatever equipment their budgets can properly support. And while there are certainly incidents of law enforcement over stepping their bounds, I believe its far from a systemic issue.
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Old December 21, 2011, 06:15 PM   #8
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Attitude is the issue concerning the police.

The police shootings in Fulton county were a man was shot by a bait car stake out teamand the Tucson shooting and the shooting of a Marine Vetran in Tucson, AZ have been discussed in the Firing Line.

Both of these incidents illustrate the agressive military style tactics being taught to our LEOs. They also illustrate the lack of concern for individual citzens by the Police.

The Marine was killed because he associated with drug dealers. i believe there is something in the constitution about the freedom to associate. No evidence that he was infact involved in drug trade has been produced. Perhaps we will find out more when the civil suit is pled.

The decorated Vietnam Vet wa shot because he defended his property an some over zealous cops responded. The fabricated charges against the Vet were dismissed.

The Canton Ohio CCW case, while not a paramilitary operation, illustrates the divide between the citzens of a community and those sworn to protect them.

In the auto sales business there is a saying, "Buyers are liars", Unfortantly. many departments and individual officers have come to believe that citzens are liars and perps.
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Old December 21, 2011, 06:33 PM   #9
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I would say that if the police were doing the things that I was doing in Iraq during the war they would end up in prison if caught. This is indisputable. I have not heard any such police officer violating civil rights in such a way with impunity. So if the issue is the police are overly militarized I would say that they are no where near how bad it could be were we to live in a militarized society. The police don't have much wiggle room on your rights.

In many years and many interactions with the police I can recall the number of non-professional interactions on one hand. None of them had to do with militarization and all had to do with personal behavior. So if the issue is attitude I just have not seen it yet.

The fear of the police having military weapons is a bit silly however. In a way I find it quite reassuring as the Federal Government is providing the weaponry. If the Feds were NOT providing such equipment and training if it were available that would speak volumes. Much more loudly too.
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Old December 21, 2011, 07:05 PM   #10
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Again, MTT TL, the issue is not one of equipment, it's one of tactics and utilization.

IE, what is the proper threshold that should justify use of SWAT type entries?

Why are SWAT teams used in cases where the person could be arrested outside the home, and a softer entry used to execute a search warrant?

That kind of thing, I believe, is what S_A_M has in mind for the thread.

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Old December 21, 2011, 07:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
I hate sensationalism disguised as news in that way.
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Old December 21, 2011, 07:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Is this going to be one of those ironic threads where the same people who advocate having the best possible equipment and training for themselves (all for those situations that might never occur) insist that the police do NOT the same?
All the equipment in the world is of little use without the proper training and often what happens is you add so much gear that the people wearing it arent as effective as they would otherwise be.

The more equipment carried the more the human body wears and tears doing so...

Besides for all its vaunted status 5.56mm isnt nearly as hot a round (M16/A1/A2 and variants) as what you can buy off the shelf at your local gun store.
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Old December 21, 2011, 07:51 PM   #13
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I know, and obviously it's my bad Secret Agent Man for peeing in the thread so quickly. I don't know why I would expect more from the co-mingling of Daily Beast and Newsweek....but WAR doesn't seem like the business of the police.
They can have bazookas and nuclear weaponry for all I care...because like MLeake said, the issue isn't the gear, it's the utilization.
Just struck me as odd from a magazine I read long ago.
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Old December 21, 2011, 09:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
but WAR doesn't seem like the business of the police
Have you seen the sorry state of humanity in our nation? It is definitively a war of some kind... Drugs and violence and every sort of sickness under the sun has now become acceptable and normal or at the minimum more acceptable than in any time in recent memory.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world and lets just leave it at that... but make no mistake our very culture as a nation has changed and I can see a lot of pack/predator behaviors that can only be handled with maximum force or the threat of maximum force.
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Old December 22, 2011, 08:17 AM   #15
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The continued militarization of the police

We have discussed many times the militarization of the police and what that may mean for our rights. This article discusses the continuation of that trend fueled by Homeland Security dollars which are flowing to police departments throughout America. Many have nothing to do with those dollars other than to equip their police as though they are going to war; but with whom?

There is an interactive map -- 2002 through 2011 -- linked at http://projects.cironline.org/police-grants which allows the user to click on any state to see what has been granted to, and spent by, those states, each year, for arming and equipping their police and other entities.

SOURCE

Quote:
Local Cops Ready for War With Homeland Security-Funded Military Weapons
Dec 21, 2011 4:45 AM EST

A decade of billions in spending in the name of homeland security has armed local police departments with military-style equipment and a new commando mentality. But has it gone too far? Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz of the Center for Investigative Reporting report.

...

The buying spree has transformed local police departments into small, army-like forces, and put intimidating equipment into the hands of civilian officers. And that is raising questions about whether the strategy has gone too far, creating a culture and capability that jeopardizes public safety and civil rights while creating an expensive false sense of security.
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Old December 22, 2011, 08:35 AM   #16
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I seem to recall there was a federal law that prohibited civilian LEOs from wearing BDU type clothing.
Then I recall hearing that was changed so that BDUs were legal when worn in drug interdiction operations or something like that.
To see LEOs now all but "combat ready" really is depressing. The LEOs I grew up with believed in interacting with the public on a much less intimidating level than we are seeing now.
I do understand that the "public" has changed, but I still don't see the need for all the battle gear.
Oh, and my tax dollars bought all that too?
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Old December 22, 2011, 09:03 AM   #17
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Quote:
I seem to recall there was a federal law that prohibited civilian LEOs from wearing BDU type clothing.
Please cite the laws you mention.
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Old December 22, 2011, 09:15 AM   #18
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I did a paper on this subject when I was in college, around 1970. You might recall that at the time, "law and order" was a hot-button political topic. There is nothing new under the sun.
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Old December 22, 2011, 09:17 AM   #19
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No such law.

Strangely already under discussion in this topic.

And I will say the same thing I said there which is; it is great that the Federal Government trusts local government enough to provide them with military grade equipment. They will probably never need it but it would be nice to have if they did.
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Old December 22, 2011, 09:32 AM   #20
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No, people are no worse than they ever were. You could be accused at looking at the past through rose-colored glasses, you know. Drugs and violence are no more acceptable now than they were during prohibition. The culture of our nation has changed, of course, because it is always changing. If you want to send the Mexicans back to Mexico and the nice people from Peru back to the mountains where then came from, then you might want to think about sending the Italians back to Italy, the Greeks back to Greece, and the Irish back to Ireland. But I think we ought to keep the Germans.

I'm not sure and it may be only a liberal media thing but I read somewhere there used to be gangs even before WWII.

I also don't think the equipment itself matters so much. The police department in my hometown had a couple of submachine guns. I knew that because the tiny police department (this is in a town of under 10,000) had a garage type front, just like the fire department in the same building, and in the summer the opened the door and the gun cabinet was in plain view. But the policemen wore white shirts.

If a policeman wears combat gear, his attitude may be affected in a bad way. Using expressions like "war on" anything says that someone thinks there's a war on and the police are the soldiers. We might be the enemy. Lord knows where they get people who become policemen.

There might be a tendency to want to justify SWAT teams and the like by actually using them whenever possible, although one reads things (here) about them not being used when they should be. Can't win.

I mentioned in the related thread that I brought up the subject when I was in college around 1970 but the militarization of the police is much, much older than that. If you think about it, American state police forces have always be very militarized. The uniforms and haircuts have been very much more militaristic than "ordinary" policemen and they even have barracks. In other countries there are often a highly militarized or para-military police force, usually at a national level, but it never follows that they have been considered instruments of repression or anything like that. That can easily change, of course, when government itself becomes repressive. But don't blame government. Blame that part of the population that supports it. Don't kid yourself that dictatorships have no support from the people. But to end on a positive note, organizations like the RCMP and the Carabinieri are sources of national pride in those countries and yet are genuine para-military organizations.
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Old December 22, 2011, 09:53 AM   #21
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If we leave aside the question of whether such funds are a good use of the tax-payers contributions it seems to me that the crux of this issue is simply "do you trust your police force to use that equipment responsibly and in keeping with their duty to society?"
This ties in with MLeake's point about "utilisation".

But the question can be stretched further to whether or not people trust their government to use the police responsibly and in keeping with its duty to society.

If the answer to either of those is "no", then you have a problem that goes beyond simply what gear the police have...
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Old December 22, 2011, 10:10 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTT TL View Post
it is great that the Federal Government trusts local government enough to provide them with military grade equipment.
Now if we could just get them to trust us.
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Gun Control: The premise that a woman found in an alley, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, is morally superior to allowing that same woman to defend her life with a firearm.

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Old December 22, 2011, 10:12 AM   #23
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Duplicate thread. Please merge.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=472461
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Gun Control: The premise that a woman found in an alley, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, is morally superior to allowing that same woman to defend her life with a firearm.

"Science is built up with facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house." - Jules Henri Poincare

"Three thousand people died on Sept. 11 because eight pilots were killed"
-- former Northwest Airlines pilot Stephen Luckey
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Old December 22, 2011, 10:29 AM   #24
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From all the discussions, I still can't get my mind wrapped around the complaints that the police aren't doing enough to protect people to the complaints about not wanting to pay for more police to the complaints that the police are too powerful...despite the diminishing amounts of violent crime.

As near as I can tell from the threads here, reguardless of what the police are or are not doing, they will be the focal point for complaining about problems of our society.
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Old December 22, 2011, 10:38 AM   #25
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That's true but they're not the only government agency that has a lot of complaints. Think of public schools. They are expected to accomodate everyone and to turn out good young Americans. But don't worry. People will turn out to be Americans whether or not their parents like it or not.
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