Skip to comments.Stop arming the police like a military
Posted on 06/27/2014 6:05:36 PM PDT by RKBA Democrat
If theres anything I know after serving the Boston Police Department for 27 years, its this: Good policing is all about trust.
This isnt a particularly novel insight, but my time as a beat cop hammered it into me time and again. Yet its incredible how many police departments across the nation have lost sight of this in their rush to transform into something more akin to a standing army rather than a civilian police force safeguarding a democratic people.
Have no doubt, police in the United States are militarizing, and in many communities, particularly those of color, the message is being received loud and clear: You are the enemy. Police officers are increasingly arming themselves with military-grade equipment such as assault rifles, flashbang grenades, and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, or MRAP, vehicles and dressing up in commando gear before using battering rams to burst into the homes of people who have not been charged with a crime. Perhaps more alarming is the fact that the Pentagon has played a huge role in this militarization by transferring its weapons of war to civilian police departments through its so-called 1033 program.
Many communities now look upon police as an occupying army, their streets more reminiscent of Baghdad or Kabul than a city in America. This besieged mentality created by the militarization of police has driven a pernicious wedge into the significant gains made under community- and problem-oriented policing initiatives dating from the late 1980s. The trusting relationships so many police officers painstakingly built within their communities have been eroded by the mindset of the warrior cop.
One of the more alarming trends in the overall militarization of police, which has accelerated since 9/11, is the use of Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT, teams for routine police work. According to the ACLUs new report, War Comes Home, the majority of the SWAT raids it examined was to execute search warrants, usually in low-level drug investigations. The ACLU also found that many of the SWAT raids it studied used unjustifiably violent tactics and equipment, often in homes where children were known to be present.
The ACLU also found something far more worrisome but unfortunately not surprising. The use of SWAT teams disproportionately impacts people of color, particularly when the teams were deployed to execute a search warrant for a drug investigation. Of the cases the ACLU studied, when SWAT raids affected blacks and Latinos, 68 percent were for drug searches. But when SWAT raids affected whites, only 38 percent were for drug searches, even though whites use drugs at roughly the same rates as blacks and Latinos.
This discriminatory and excessive use of SWAT teams turns the criminal justice system on its head and eviscerates the presumption of innocence, which is the hallmark of American justice. People who have been charged with no crime arent only treated like theyre guilty; theyre made to endure a violent intrusion into their home based on the mere suspicion of low-level crimes. To the victims of unnecessary SWAT raids and their communities, the idea that police are there to serve and protect them becomes a bad joke.
This isnt to say that the use of SWAT teams is never justified. I know better than most. I participated in one of the very first SWAT deployments at the Boston Police Department when a man who shot a police superintendent barricaded himself in an apartment. But this is the precise type of situation that the SWAT program was created for, not breaking down the door of people in the middle of the night with guns drawn in pursuit of drugs.
Militarized policing undermines the very notion of law enforcement in a democratic society. Rather than reassuring us that we are safe and out of harms way, it creates a pervasive sense that we are unsafe and in danger, sometimes from the police themselves. Its not surprising then that the ACLU also discovered that the militarization of domestic law enforcement occurred without any input, direction, or oversight from affected communities and that law enforcement agencies records on acquisitions of military weapons, vehicles, and equipment were virtually nonexistent.
The situation, however, is far from being beyond hope or possible resolution. Not all police practitioners including policy makers, administrators, managers, supervisors and line officers endorse and support the militarization of Americas law enforcement agencies. Progressive police chiefs in Madison, Wisconsin, and Salt Lake City, Utah, for example, have been publicly critical of police militarization practices and initiatives.
If we want to roll back the militarization of our police forces, the ACLU offers many common sense recommendations, but two stand out as critical first steps. The first is that the use of paramilitary tactics should be restricted solely to situations where there is a true and verifiable emergency, such as a hostage or barricade situation. The second would require that police record and report all uses of paramilitary tactics, including a justification for the use of SWAT, as well as all injuries and property damage caused by the use of SWAT teams.
Our streets and communities arent warzones, but the creeping militarization of our police forces and the warrior mindset it creates has the feel of a self-fulfilling prophecy on the part of our nations law enforcement agencies.
Ping for your lists.
Arm the Border Patrol like a military.
Why? They are not allowed to do anything except baby sit.
My first thoughts exactly. Para-military tactics are used against US citizens but not ILLEGAL invaders. Hussein Obama should be impeached on that issue alone.
And declare a free-fire zone along the border. There. Fixed.
When a nation fights a series of long, low-intensity wars, soldiers act like cops, and finally cops act like soldiers.
The part I don’t understand:
Axiomatic to fighting an insurgency is need to cultivate and retain the trust of the populace, so WHY do so many PD’s appear hell-bent on BANISHING trust..?
The idea is that the populace supplies INTEL regarding the enemy.
The fact that cops are so complacent about public trust indicates to me that they have some very reliable ALTERNATE source of intel regarding the communities they police.
I WONDER WHAT THAT SOURCE IS, RIGHT...?
There’s so much free stuff available, counties of well under 100K population have multiple Humvees, MRAPs, helicopters, etc. I told a deputy recently they should keep an eye out for a Stryker and he said that would be a good addition to the fleet.
Progressive police chiefs in Madison, Wisconsin, and Salt Lake City, Utah, for example "
"the ACLU offers many common sense recommendations..."
What Good Can a Handgun Do Against An Army?
Amazing article in this day and age, thanks for posting.
You want to look around the world and see what a country really stands for, and what the word “civilization” really means? You need only look at one thing: the relationship of its police to its people.
That tells you at a glance everything you need to know.
People take cops for granted. But I submit that one of the highest achievements of Western civilization is the modern police force that is specifically and by intent NOT a standing army.
THAT is more precious than gold.
Police State USA , Life During Wartime
These types of operations are probably attracting individuals hungry for action.
And what did American's watch for nearly 10 years on the news every night?
US soldiers walking down dusty alleys kicking in doors and raiding homes...Over and over and over for about 10 years....Endless SWAT style raids...A SWAT war...
The entire time it appeared as one big giant police action...Like no war I've ever seen or read about...
Hmm, wonder why the FG would want to be encouraging the militarisation of the police? Combined with all the ammo they’re buying, and the Pentagons training actively for putting down nationwide civil disorder, I have wonder it is exactly they are expecting and preparing for?
“Paramilitary tactics are used against US citizens but not ILLEGAL invaders.”
Before this, they wouldn’t enforce laws with our native-born ghetto inhabitants either. I can’t take anyone seriously when talking about gun control unless they concede that the cities have to be subjected to search-and-destroy missions along the lines of the war in Vietnam. Disarming the “strategic hamlets” of (generally) law-abiding Americans while letting Charlie roam unmolested makes no sense.
Premier Ubama doesn’t need any police. Police protect the peasants. The more peasants who die, the better. Ubama needs a civilian army to help the process along.
“It is the duty of every patriot to protect his country from its government.” Thomas Paine.
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