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Old August 30, 2014, 10:33 PM   #51
ronl
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The real issue here is not the military equipment being procured by depts. around the country, but more about the attitudes displayed. The fact is that around the country violent crime is down. The fact is that since 9/11 nearly 5,000 US citizens have been killed by police around the country. SWAT teams were used more than 50,000 times last year for things as mundane as raiding farms that produced natural milk, to issues concerning unpaid student loans. There are the raids at wrong addresses where innocent people have been killed. These things should not be, period. There is no reasonable excuse for the death of a single innocent life. It seems as though, once given all the big boy toys, most will jump at any chance to use them. This points to another major problem I see, and that is oversight, or better the lack of it. Very strict guidelines should be issued concerning the use of extreme force, and unerringly adhered to. As also pointed out, there is also the problem of immunity, which has been discussed and should not exist. Police should be held to the same standards as any other citizen. My greatest fear is that we are heading for, if not already immersed in a de facto police state, and the procurement of military grade weapons of war by police departments around the country does nothing to allay those fears.
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Old August 30, 2014, 10:37 PM   #52
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On the other hand, would the FBI lie to us about crime statistics?
Why not? The DoJ has made a habit of falsehoods re: Fast and Furious ..... The IRS claims all of their e-mail records (on several servers!) relating to the targeting of conservative groups) went poof at the same time ..... the State Department said the Benghazi Consulate attack was a demonstration against a youtube video that got out of hand ........ I don't trust the Feds on much of anything anymore.
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Old August 30, 2014, 10:41 PM   #53
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Are we really making the argument that the presence of tactical gear at the police station causes the police to become more "militaristic"... The mere possession of a scary looking weapon can change a persons behavior for the worse?
I think that all the .mil hardware is not the cause of the problem, but a symptom of it.
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Old August 31, 2014, 08:50 AM   #54
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SPEMack618 Wrote;
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The problem lies when concerns for officer safety morph into an attitude of "us vs. them" instead of community policing. That's when the MRAPs, ACUs, and face masks become the marks of an occupying force instead of a group of people trying to help their local community.
This is precisely one of the issues. The gear alone is not a problem, but when you take a group of "peace officers" ( This is what they were for most of my life until a few years ago ) And change their role to "Law Enforcement Officers" That was, IMO the beginning of a change in attitude.

To give an example, many years ago, when I was a teen, the officers in my town would patrol around looking for "activities" that might lead to a problem like, a bunch of teens standing around in a parking lot drinking a beer or, other similar activities. Their response was normally dictated by how the teens behaved. Usually, they would tell you that you could not drink (etc) in public and, have you pour the offending substance out on the ground and, ask you to disperse, with the understanding that "next time" would be a different story.

Likewise, we knew that, if we ever had a problem or, knew something bad was going down somewhere, we could flag down an officer and, be assured that the officer was there to help. There was a level of "Mutual" Trust and, "Mutual" Respect.


Now ? The cavalry (and their dogs) show up, everyone is searched, their cars searched, and, most likely, everyone goes to jail for various "charges".
The result ? Teens no longer trust the Police. Flag one down now and, even that might just result in your being searched and, "charged". This has built a generation that has had a great deal of adversarial encounters with police. The net result? no more mutual trust or respect.

"Peace officer" vs. "Law Enforcement". A complete change in method and perception that has put the LE community at odds with "us".

Take that LE "attitude" and, put them in BDU's , outfit them with military-grade hardware, and you now have something that, in no way, resembles a "Peace Officer"

If it: Walks like a Military organization, is outfitted like a military organization, trains in military tactics, and has clearly demonstrated that it has an adversarial attitude toward anyone who is not "them" what do you have ?
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Old August 31, 2014, 07:30 PM   #55
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The 1970s and 1980s were a very violent time in Americas history. In New York City, I was reading the highest number of shots fired from NYPD pistols was 2510 in 1972 whereas today its around 400. Keep in mind the population of NYC is much higher today. Back during the 70s and 80s, the police were armed with little more than a six shot revolver or Joe Bidens shotgun. They didnt have armored vehicles or any of the equipment they have today.

I attribute the lower violent crimes to the better response and better equipment the police have today. If you are some troublemaker who wants to shoot at the police or anyone for that matter you wont get a few guys with shotguns showing up, but an entire platoon of officers outfitted with armored vehicles, military grade body armor and automatic rifles. I have no problem with the police responding in this manner to these violent troublemakers who commit crimes against people in the community. These troublemakers deserve it. They deserve a monster MRAP riding across their lawn and a bunch of well armed officers invading their homes. It shows these people this is what you get if you decide to commit crimes here.
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Old August 31, 2014, 08:14 PM   #56
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Outcast, well said. As a retired LEO, I worked in a time when we were Peace Officers as well and use LEO because it is a generally understood term.

I too believe and have posted in this thread that it is all about attitude. I must say that the few times we have had to call out the Sheriff out to our home in far reaches of the county in a rural area, we have been pleased with their attitude.

What gets me is they seem very offish in passing whether off duty or in passing on the street.

In my retirement job I drive around two counties, and in passing there are a couple communities that the guys waive at me when they drive by and others who ignore me when walking by into the local gas station.

Attitude is everything in LEO work. If you are in a situation with someone that is drunk and angry, your attitude will dictate much of how the outcome will be. The equipment not so much!

Normally the patrol officers will be driving around in a patrol vehicle, in our area trucks are common, chargers, Impalas, Ford Taurus, Jeeps, and yes even a ton of unmarked cars like cobalts, Mustang HOs, and others. I heard that they use the best stuff that they get from RICO cases. The weapons they have in their cars are what they may need, the standard carry is a Glock in .40 and a taser, pepper spray, and an ASP. I am glad to see these men and women wearing vests under their uniforms. They have families to go home to just like the rest of us.

I see the need for all this surplus equipment as an emergency response tool and they should be able to use this!

It is my firm belief that we the people should elect our officials and demand they make sure our departments understand that 90% of the population are on their side and they should be friendly to them!

Programs like shop with a cop and cops at the schools giving presentations and such are very helpful. Their involvement in community programs like neighborhood watch and other citizen advisory groups go a long way to get rid of the us vs them attitude.

When we are speeding down the interstate, we get that same attitude. We are looking for them so we can slow down and not get a ticket, when we should just drive the speed limit and not have the trouble in the first place.

Traffic tickets are a major source of revenue for many agencies, so they have to work it. Besides if they didn't traffic would go unchecked and people would get hurt and even killed.

I don't really want to rant or ramble on, so I'll just end by saying, the attitude of militarizing of the police force is kind of a double edged sword and we the civilian population do play a major role in it in one way of another.

Mel
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Old September 1, 2014, 08:07 AM   #57
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It may be a bit off-topic but, I think it is germane to the discussion:

The huge change in "attitude" over the years has had a dramatic effect on the way LE is perceived by the very public they used to exist to protect.

Another example comes to mind : A couple of years back, my Son (18 or so at the time ) and a few of his other musician friends, were using my basement studio to record some tracks for a disc they were going to use as a demo to book gigs. One of his friends is diabetic and, forgot to bring his insulin. He began to feel ill and, needed to take his meds. Since my truck was parked behind all of them, my Son asked if he could borrow my truck to drive his buddy home to get his meds. I tossed him the keys, no worries. A few minutes later, I get a call from a LEO asking if he has my permission to search my vehicle ? I told him I do not consent to a search and, he hangs up. Approximately 30 minutes later, my Son, and his buddy return. Apparently, the LEO had pulled them over and asked for license, registration, etc. due to "careless driving" no definition was given of the allegation. He asked my Son if he could search the vehicle, My Son did not consent. The officer then told him that , since it was not his vehicle, he could not refuse, The Son insists that he should contact me for permission. Being un-satisfied with refusal from both My Son and, myself, he threatens to "bring in the K-9"
Son tells him, "no problem, bring him out" and sits on the tailgate to wait. Apparently, there was "none available" and he let the Boys go with a citation for "careless driving".

Fast forward to the court date, I attend to observe, Officer testifies that My Son was "weaving all over and, even struck the curb" Son asks to see the dashcam evidence. The tape is played and, clearly shows the vehicle traveling within the lane, no sign of "weaving" or contact with the curb. Case is dismissed as the Judge could find no evidence of the allegation.

My point is this: It seems that nowadays, officers tend to simply "throw charges" at anything just to see if they can make something stick. They don't seem as interested in deterring crime so much as "make arrests" Like they have some sort of "quota" to fill. Incidents like this do nothing to help prevent crime or, protect the public safety, they are "fishing" for anything that will "stick" It's like a game to see how many charges they can file in a shift. It creates a huge void in Trust.

ETA: Serving on a Grand Jury was an eye-opening experience as well, it is incredible the number of these "fishing expeditions" that happen every month and, the number that are No-Billed.

Again, the Mindset, and attitude, are just as key to this issue as the equipment. IMHO.
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Old September 1, 2014, 12:53 PM   #58
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It seems that nowadays, officers tend to simply "throw charges" at anything just to see if they can make something stick.
Certain kinds of people in law enforcement have always done this. And when its only your word against the cop, they usually get believed over you.

Today, (mostly thanks to technology, like the dash cam, etc.) we are a lot more "slippery" than we used to be. Some still throw the BS charges, but its less likely to "stick".

Here's another point (and one the cops are not directly responsible for), the media. TV shows, particularly the "reality" shows like COPS. It's a perception thing, and I know the shows are only "entertainment" and so emphasize drama and action, but watching these shows leaves some of us with the (subconscious?) feeling that if we even TALK to a cop, we will be body slammed against the hood of their car.....etc.

People getting their attitude about police from fictional cop shows is bad enough, but a constant repetition of actual incidents (heightening the effect) can't be good for us.
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Old September 1, 2014, 02:02 PM   #59
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I have watched the metamorphosis occur starting with the "War on Drugs". Growing up right behind the Watts riots was one thing but the Crack epidemic was a game changer. LAPD and LASD militarized and so did most of the suburban PD's. Now it is extremely common for LEOs to refer to us as civilians. I happily ask them if at this particular time whether they represent the US military of (insert LE organization name here). When they respond the latter I inform them that they are in fact civilians too. Many try to argue that they are "different". In one respect they are and I have a problem with that difference. In Kali, there are quite a few laws (penal code mostly) to which THEY are exempted. This includes the personal ownership of "assault" weapons, full and extra capacity magazines, off list firearms, etc. Legally, they have been made into a special privileged class which furthers the Us vs. Them mentality.

Cover ups of crimes that when exposed (on or off duty) mostly result in disciplinary action or dismissal for them where were WE to do the very same would result in charged with a crime. I have seen this played out in the papers and media far too often throughout the years. This also plays into the mentality.

Now give them the toys and ask (not tell) little Johnny Law to play nicely with them. There is a reason that the Mayor Tom Bradley mobile door knocker was taken out of service years ago. Linky We had it then, you have it now.
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Old September 1, 2014, 02:09 PM   #60
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Fast forward to the court date, I attend to observe, Officer testifies that My Son was "weaving all over and, even struck the curb" Son asks to see the dashcam evidence. The tape is played and, clearly shows the vehicle traveling within the lane, no sign of "weaving" or contact with the curb. Case is dismissed as the Judge could find no evidence of the allegation.
And the judge didn't care that the officer was caught lying under oath. That's part of the problem too.
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Old September 1, 2014, 02:53 PM   #61
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It doesn't bother me if officers have combat gear , boots and clothing its some of the TTP that I don't agree with . All to often it seems they decide aginst officer friendly's visit because we had a concerd call and decide to go for the hard knock of show of force . What should have been a public servant doing his job turns into lets go intimadate the citizens and let them know if they are doing wrong or not . As far as the gear they have I guess they should be able to carry anything I carry .
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Old September 1, 2014, 08:06 PM   #62
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Anyone recognize these words?

Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort.

I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies?

No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us:
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Old September 1, 2014, 08:34 PM   #63
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zxcvbob Wrote:
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And the judge didn't care that the officer was caught lying under oath. That's part of the problem too.

Yup, it certainly is part of the problem, IMO.
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Old September 1, 2014, 09:49 PM   #64
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The institutionalization of a police state has no bounds.

As the post above says, the judges are often as or more corrupt than the officers committing the crimes.
Wanna see where it goes?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2IFcjbSqFs

These are historical facts, not opinions. This is the kind of history lesson that makes people uncomfortable, but it's a lesson that MUST be learned.
The police serving the Nazis were convinced they were justified when they started. Many never changed their minds.

This is just one example. Keep in mind the fact that most of the crimes were committed by people against their own countrymen at first.
There are many many many more, from the days of Egypt until today. Those that believe it could not happen here are the very people that are allowing the institution to grow until it’s too big to stop.
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Old September 2, 2014, 09:12 AM   #65
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There are the raids at wrong addresses where innocent people have been killed. These things should not be, period.
Do you have some plan for eliminating human error? Police raid the wrong house by mistake. Homeowner defends before s/he knows they're police. Somebody gets killed. It shouldn't happen, but I can't think of any way to prevent it every time for the rest of forever.
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Old September 2, 2014, 09:31 AM   #66
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Stop it forever and always ? No. But a officer walking up to the door and anouncing themself and letting the homeowner know why they are there would help . If its a situation where that is not likely then survaliance gather intel and find away to deal with it . This being normal calls not where we have knowlage of someone being hurt in the residence .
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Old September 2, 2014, 09:44 AM   #67
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JimDandy Wrote:

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Do you have some plan for eliminating human error? Police raid the wrong house by mistake. Homeowner defends before s/he knows they're police. Somebody gets killed. It shouldn't happen, but I can't think of any way to prevent it every time for the rest of forever.
I can think of a way that would certainly reduce the incidence of it, if not eliminate it altogether. Remove the immunity that LE hides behind.

If I shoot someone by mistake ( you know, human error ) I will be charged, tried, and likely spend some time in prison.

Police officers do not have that same fear, if they did, there would likely be a paradigm shift in the use of the "no knock" type raids that usually propagate the deaths of innocents by "human error".
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Old September 2, 2014, 09:56 AM   #68
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I can think of a way that would certainly reduce the incidence of it, if not eliminate it altogether. Remove the immunity that LE hides behind.
OK. Who do you prosecute? The clerk who transposed the house number? The officer who misread the street sign? The first officer (who did none of the above) through the door who gets shot at and defends himself from the misunderstanding resident? Is the Lieutenant who wasn't even there open to RICO charges?
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Old September 2, 2014, 10:25 AM   #69
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JimDandy Wrote:
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OK. Who do you prosecute?
Start with the shooter(s) and move from there, Just like any other case, if there are "accomplices" They should be tried for their roles as well.

If you remove the "protected class" status, everyone that has a hand in such activities will be darned sure they are correct before proceeding.

A little "skin in the game" could make a world of difference.

But, this is off-topic and, has had many a thread on it's own.
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Old September 2, 2014, 10:51 AM   #70
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Of course this is all reactive. I would hope a full root cause analysis would be done with appropriate system/process corrective actions.

I would also like to see/understand what the risk analysis was prior to conducting these operations. Surely they've done a thorough risk analysis when setting up the SWAT team?! Did they use FMEA (Failure Modes & Effects Analysis), Fault Tree Analysis, or some other methodology? It would be negligent not to.

In fact it would be sensible to do a risk assessment for each (planned) no-knock warrant entry or similar operation or at least review the established risk model/template for a similar operation.
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Old September 2, 2014, 12:20 PM   #71
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Start with the shooter(s) and move from there
So you want to prosecute the guy in the back of the van whose only "crime" is being the first through the door when a misunderstanding resident shoots at him.
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Old September 2, 2014, 01:23 PM   #72
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Wyosmith,

Yes, I recognize Patrick Henry's speech. We had to memorize it in school and the snippet you posted resonated after more than half a century in my brain, so I looked it up and re-read the whole thing.

There is no question that your analysis is correct, but what course of action do you propose? Henry proposed war - his entire speech was a call to arms, immediate as opposed to "when it gets bad enough" - and I do not think most Americans see the issue as having degenerated to the point that outright immediate rebellion is appropriate.

Pointing out the change in mindset from "Peace Officer" to "Us versus them" is the most effective course of action I see. I do not think that hardware is the issue, I think the adversarial relation between "civilian citizens" and "civil police" is the problem. And I do not see that problem being solved by hysteria in the media or by cop bashing, or taking up sides - except being on the side of reason and (as you point out), historical understanding.

Sorry to ramble so - I resented being forced to memorize all those things then, and now I'm grateful for it.
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Old September 2, 2014, 01:41 PM   #73
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Now ? The cavalry (and their dogs) show up, everyone is searched, their cars searched, and, most likely, everyone goes to jail for various "charges".
The result ? Teens no longer trust the Police. Flag one down now and, even that might just result in your being searched and, "charged". This has built a generation that has had a great deal of adversarial encounters with police. The net result? no more mutual trust or respect.
When I lived in the less savory parts east of L.A. that was exactly the situation. Its a self fulfilling prophecy. The more you act like us vs. them (on both sides I'll add) the more it reinforces that.
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Old September 2, 2014, 01:50 PM   #74
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Keep in mind that Police enforce the laws they don’t actually make the laws. Yes, I remember when Police often gave you a lecture and sent you on your way. However, in the litigious society that we now live police are fearful of not doing everything by the book. So, they enforce all the laws to the letter and people get angry. There is no doubt this adds to the adversarial relationship, but are the police the problem. Doesn’t the problem actually lay with our political leaders that feel an ever growing desire to regulate all aspects of our lives? Of course, I suppose, the ultimate responsibility falls on us the citizens that allows it.
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Old September 2, 2014, 01:52 PM   #75
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Quote:
Quote:
There are the raids at wrong addresses where innocent people have been killed. These things should not be, period.

Do you have some plan for eliminating human error? Police raid the wrong house by mistake. Homeowner defends before s/he knows they're police. Somebody gets killed. It shouldn't happen, but I can't think of any way to prevent it every time for the rest of forever.
Sure its not difficult. Quit "no knock " SWAT raids. They weren't started as a safety measure but to get in before the BG could flush drugs.
Its not worth it.
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