Time To Demilitarize Police

Another one: http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/how-congress-helped-create-fergu...

This is getting bad! I've seen state police wearing paramilitary gear, on Lagrange Street.

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Weren't you Teapublicans the ones who made the problem much, much worse by handing them the keys to the arsenal after 9/11?


"In addition to the Pentagon budget provision, another agency created in the aftermath of 9/11 is helping militarize the police. The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) grants funnel military-style equipment to local police departments nationwide. According to a 2011 Center for Investigative Reporting story published by The Daily Beast, at least $34 billion in DHS grants have gone to police agencies to buy military-style equipment. This money has gone to purchase drones, tactical vests, bomb-disarming robots, tanks and more."

Oh yeah and how about another big Teapublican bit?

" 6. Border militarization and police militarization go hand in hand. The “war on terror” and “war on drugs” aren’t the only wars helping police militarization. There’s also the war on undocumented immigrants.

The notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio, infamous for brutal crackdowns on undocumented immigrants, is the paradigmatic example of this trend. According to the ACLU, Arpaio’s Maricopa County department has acquired a machine gun so powerful it could tear through buildings on multiple city blocks. In addition, he has 120 assault rifles, five armored vehicles and ten helicopters. Other law enforcement agencies in Arizona have obtained equipment like bomb suits and night-vision goggles.

Then there’s a non-local law enforcement agency on the border: the Border Patrol, which has obtained drones and attack helicopters. And Border Patrol agents are acting like they’re at war. A recent Los Angeles Times investigation revealed that the Border Patrol killed 19 people from January 2010-October 2012 — including some incidents in which the agents were under no lethal, direct threat. "

Oh yeah, along with the crackdown on dissent (you sure did love watching the cops break up #Occupy, didn't ya, TeaTards?) and all those asset seizures (because you don't care what the cops take so long as it's not yours, as the Teapublican mentality is "I've got mine so fuck you!").

Too bad you TeaTards got co-opted by and turned into Koch-suckers, it's too late to join with the scary LLLLLLLiberals who want the police demilitarized because you nuked your bridges.

aCOWARD, the big teapublican vote you are referring to couldn't be the senate vote which was 90-9 with only 9 nays, which means it was a bi-partisan effort something i'm sure you would like. Republicans did not like the occupy movement but many libertarians and tea party members agreed with some of their stances, just not their method and the fact that they had no plan going forward. You really should educate yourself more before posting

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

Dale educates the rest of us, all the time. I'm fairly certain he would help aCOWARD learn a few things, if he were asked.

Seems the paramilitary police respect those who open carry. The Clivas Bundy ranch standoff had rightwing extremists threatening violence and the authorities stood down. When peaceful unarmed protesters gather then the swat teams attack full force. Examples are the OWS and now Ferguson.

Many of these police are Iraq vets still living with Iraq fantasies. I think many are Barney Fife like without supervision..

From Mayberry to Ferguson, the rise of the modern cop

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

It's time to crack down on police unions I think.

"Rise of The Warrior Cop" by Radley Balko is the definitive book on this topic. Check it out at the TLCPL. Distilled to a single sentence, militarization has permeated police departments across the country, from the biggest cities to the tiniest towns. And AC, you misguided soul, this has taken place with the blessings and encouragement of Democrat and Republican presidents and congresses.

Patience is a great virtue.

I don't deny that at all. I'm just sick of all the right-wingers here who absolutely deny that Republican administrations and Congresses do anything wrong or have contributed to the situation, and of the hypocrisy where they cheer on militarized cops and SWAT teams to break up UNARMED protests but have a major fucking cow when the same militarized cops and SWAT teams show up to deal with HEAVILY ARMED RIGHT-WING protestors. See also one MikeyA's repeated comments over the Bundy Ranch thing. Cops having all these ex-military toys is FINE in his book so long as they don't use them against anyone HE agrees with. At least G-man, for all his faults, isn't so fucking dumb as to think "oh, the cops will just use this stuff on people I don't like and will NEVER EVER use it against me for any reason whatsoever!"

History is replete with examples of the people granting governments all sorts of powers to go after "the enemy" only to have the government turn and use those powers against them. You guys gave the government carte blanche under the PATRIOT Act and attacked all the "LLLiberals" who were opposed to it as hating America, and now you're bitching up a storm because between Snowden's leaks showing what the government has really been up to and the increased militarization of the police (justified at the time by the magic words "Homeland Security") it has boomeranged right back on you, and you are so fucking dumb and ignorant and brainwashed that you make this out to be a PARTISAN issue because you didn't even THINK of any possible future consequences before signing off on it.

Get over your embarrassment at being duped already.

It's not a partisan issue and the only one contending it is, is you, AC. Yours is a now-familiar argument where you reveal absolute patisanship by misleadingly claiming "the other side" made it a partisan issue. You see things only through the prism of the Democratic Party and, sincerely or not, contend anyone who disagrees with you only sees things through the prism of GOP/Tea Party.

Patience is a great virtue.

AC there is a difference. First, you support arming the Bureau of Land Management. I do not. It is not a law enforcement division. Arming them beyond a rifle or two to take down a wild animal is inappropriate.

It was the BLM who went in heavily armed to Bundy's ranch first. That is beyond escalation of force. You say there were threats yet the only resistance provided was Bundy's son kicked a police dog. Why was there even a police dog there? The Bundy situation was all about money and could have been handled through other means such as tax liens or confiscation of property when he takes them onto federal land, not storming his family's home armed to the teeth.

I have already stated the Ferguson PD acted inappropriately with their equipment. When dealing with protests you must utilize clear escalation of force procedures which were not followed during the protests after the rioting stopped. The rioting itself shows that the police do have the need for the equipment but that equipment comes with a responsibility to use it correctly. Keeping the peace needs to be the first priority but that doesn't mean intimidate protestors and arresting journalists.


decades, of scorn for governmental authority, and reckless threats by the Bundy group. I'm not crying for the poor Bundy group. They've brought all this upon themselves!

The greater issue to me, is that I want police forces to be at least as well armed as those who are lawbreakers. As you state in a post below, if common citizens are allowed to buy military weapons, why shouldn't police forces have that same opportunity? The key, as you have stated, Mikey, is PROPER TRAINING!

Dale, I agree the Bundy matter is a complex issue. However if you note I have no problem arming appropriate authorities appropriately. That was my biggest issue with the Bundy issue and this one.

The goal of police authorities in situations like this needs to be 1) protect 2) preserve the peace.

In both cases the authorities forgot #2. Sometimes a show of force is warranted, but that is when violence is imminent. In both cases there wasn't anything to show it was. In both cases the actions of the authorities caused the imminence of violence to raise.


I'm just glad I didn't have to make those decisions.
On the other hand, we desperately need better police training. Theft and simple assault, (if these charges prove to be true), should not mean the death penalty for any unarmed citizen. I used to tell my students to respect authority in every situation. And, furthermore, I warned them about challenging the authorities who legally strap on a weapon every day, and who are trained in how to use it.

I totally agree. In my line of work I've learned training is the key to your own safety as well as the safety of others around you. What you find is many don't make it a priority.

Sadly I've seen it even in the military. Had a MP break his leg after he crashed his military ATV. I told his supervisor (a civilian and retired Marine) that he was a piece of shit and the Marine's injury was his fault after he told me "I didn't know they needed a license to be on one." to which I called b.s. and said "if I were just riding one on base, the first thing your MPs would do is pull me over and ask where mine was." Ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse, even for the Police.

We shouldn't be afraid to give this equipment to police forces, but also when we do we should expect high standards are kept. They are public servants, they serve us.



Ya know, I once long ago saw a study to the effect of that firing weapons has a similar effect on the brain as a drug high.

Maybe we ought to be screening our potential cops better with personality tests/profiles and such so we don't have a pile of cops who get off on playing with their toys?


And there was one going around with something like "drunk knife-wielding German man threatening the public: Cop shoots him once in the leg, subject lived. knife-wielding American man threatening the public: multiple cops shoot him 12 times, subject dead"

Apparently American cops think the answer is multiple shots to the head and torso to kill the subject dead, rather than, oh, what could have been used in Ferguson? Pepper spray/mace? Taser? Unless someone's got throwing knives and is at fucking Ninja action movie level, stand the fuck back and give the guy some mace in the face or a few thousand volts, then kick the knife away when the jerk drops it and throw the cuffs on.

I have no problem with personality tests being given in both initial and refresher training. I think that is a smart idea.

You should post links to your examples. There could be circumstances that mitigate each and thus I won't comment on them. We need to deal with each example on it's own merits.


"It was the BLM who went in heavily armed to Bundy's ranch first."



"“The Bundy ranch standoff wasn’t a spontaneous response to Cliven Bundy’s predicament but rather a well-organized, military-type action that reflects the potential for violence from a much larger and more dangerous movement,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow in the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “This incident may have faded from public view, but if our government doesn’t pay attention, we will be caught off guard as much as the Bureau of Land Management was that day.”

Federal agents pulled out of the standoff and released Bundy’s cattle after militia snipers aimed rifles at them, an act that constitutes a felony."

The SPLC has found that a Montana man who leads a militia called Operation Mutual Aid scouted the locations that were used by the snipers.

Ryan Payne, a 30-year-old electrician and former soldier from Anaconda, Montana, told the SPLC that in the days before the standoff he and Bundy toured the public lands the rancher was using, looking for ways to defend them. Payne had snipers in position when the standoff came to a head.

“Not only did they take up the very best position to overwatch everything, they also had the high ground, they were fortified with concrete and pavement barriers,” Payne said. “They had great lines of fire and then, when I sent in that other team, for counter-sniper positions, [the BLM agents] were completely locked down. They had no choice but to retreat.”



Oh, and don't forget all the criminal law-breaker TeaTards who aimed their rifles at the Federal agents, which is a FELONY. Oh yeah. The Feds let the whole lot of 'em skate on that one, rather than attempt to arrest any of 'em.

You're spot on with what you are telling us. In 1990 a Bill went through allowing the Government to transfer military weapons to local/state PDs.
Since then enough politicians have gone along with the program to keep it in place. Now why would politicians go along something like this, while at the same time try to keep us from having firearms? Their OWN protection?
What that means is that every city/town/county/etc., has a small mobile army at its' disposal for "whatever". BTW, Don, I will be checking your book ASAP!

G-Man, the book's number of incidents of police overkill, as it were, is mindnumbing. What's worse is that citizens are being conditioned to expect SWAT team responses to virtually anything rising above a traffic stop. Seeing armor-plated police assault vehicles no longer shocks


Patience is a great virtue.

This has been discussed all day. The officers are being compared to people who carry hammers. They said what happens is such people look around and "see" others as nails! What I saw in todays' videos, was a bunch of people acting like: "that's right, I'm bbbaaaddd!"

Would a militarized police force have tanks? If so, we sure could use one in Toledo (you know--with all of those blighted houses needing to be demolished).

I don't know. The Israelis' do that, but I think they use large bulldozers. I regular person I think can own a tank, providing the cannon is de-milled, and "street legal, if it's going to be driven on regular streets.

People are talking about this and have no understanding about what it actually means.

First, by buying military surplus is a way for the fed to get something back on a temporary asset. Second, people keep throwing around terms like "military grade weapons" that's a loaded term with no real meaning. Really what they mean when they say that is generally it houses NATO approved rounds, which is only for sizing. I read an article where they described the weapons and someone said "Why do the police need a weapon effective at 500 yards?"... well, you just described the majority of rifles on the market, so giving them the market standard makes sense.

Another thing is I keep seeing MRAPs described as tanks. An MRAP is only "mine resistant armor protected". It is not a tank. It is not tracked nor does it have a cannon on it. The military isn't keeping MRAPs because they are too big to be expeditionary, and require too much long term maintenance IOT keep a fleet for a prolonged period of time. Hence the decision to sell them to police forces as react vehicles.

The problem is the police force in Ferguson and St. Louis clearly was lacking in riot training and escalation of force. All of the equipment they used is fine for them to own but it requires annual training and defined escalation measures. Look no further than the North Hollywood robbery/shooting of the early 90's for a reason for a police force to need the equipment and IMO every major city should have them available. With them comes the responsibility of ownership. Forces who are ready to use them need to ensure the officers who use them are adequately trained in their use.


Informative; enlightening!

An MRAP is not officially a tank so "it's fine" if all local cop shops have one ot two, Mikey says. The problem is not the military-level gear, weapons and vehicles, but only the lack of training for Everytown's Barney Fifes, he says. I guess if a burg's citizens have broken no laws, there's no reason to become unsettled by seeing armor-plated law enforcement vehicles rolling down the avenue. Maybe after making sure a few of its officers are properly trained, the TPD could ask the Pentagon if it has a spare attack helicopter it could part with. If it's all about maintaining law and order, why not load up the arsenal?


Patience is a great virtue.

Well Don, people ask why do the Police need this equipment?

Well, I'd say right now it's definitely needed by the Ferguson PD, the problem is they weren't employed in the standards set forth in the training. So either there's a lack of training or the PD just didn't care. I'm willing to bet money it's the former.

"TPD could ask the Pentagon if it has a spare attack helicopter it could part with. If it's all about maintaining law and order, why not load up the arsenal?" They are not selling PD's M2 crew-served machine guns or mortars, they're selling them sniper rifles and highly effective small arms.

As far as helicopters go, if we're talking a Huey or even Ch-53's for high rise evacuations then yes, I'd support that. If we're talking an Apache attack helicopter then no. Common sense should dictate what gets sold to law enforcement and nothing you've posted has displayed that it hasn't.

Your link once again uses highly loaded terms. An excerpt: "Tanks and aircraft, helmets and armor, guns and grenade launchers have flowed to police departments from Des Moines (home of two $180,000 bomb-disarming robots) to Keene, N.H. (population 23,000, murder rate infinitesimal and the proud custodian of an armored BearCat)." So, we're selling tanks? I've already shown this is false. Additionally, none of this equipment was used until after the rioting and looting started. Are you suggesting that Toledo couldn't use this equipment during it's last riot?


Mikey, if you ever leave the military and return to civilian life, for everyone's safety do not sign up with a police department or security agency.

Patience is a great virtue.

Because I believe equipment should be handled responsibly?


Because you think they should have all this crap in the first place.

It's not needed for 99% of the time and for the majority of the 1% of time it's actually needed, it's a situation in which they'd be better off calling in outside police forces anyway, because the riots are over something the cops did in the first place so it's better to just bring in State Police or National Guard to attempt to de-escalate it by arguing the force now in charge isn't the same corrupt bastards.

Why should my tax dollars go to some, as you yourself admitted if I recall, HIGH-MAINTENANCE MRAP or other gear and the associated upkeep and places to store it and all the other costs? I'd rather the FIRE AND RESCUE DEPARTMENT and EMS have the stuff they need to deal with the next natural disaster or major accident. Put another fire truck or ambulance or trailer full of emergency gear or boat and trailer in the garage in place of the armored vehicle, I bet it would save a lot more lives!

I've already posted where a BearCat was used in an incident and saved both lives and money. There are dozens of incidents where unprepared police were caught off guard and didn't have them, in the last 3 years as the equipment is both more available and cheaper we're seeing where they are being used effectively.

You believe they shouldn't have it. But I've already demonstrated that you or I can legally purchase them. Why do you not think the police should be able to buy what we buy?


Because it's called an "arms race" and I'm not a fan of having to pay tax dollars so the police can get into a dick-size war with some nutjob who thinks he needs to own a tank because right wing radio and the Internet confirm his irrational fears that the government is conspiring with Jews/Muslims/aliens/whatever to come for him.


Standoff in Pennsylvania between the Police Dept and a former NJ Police Officer. http://patch.com/pennsylvania/doylestown/bearcat-survived-standoff-polic...

3 Police vehicles were shot at; an SUV, a cruiser, and a Bearcat. Guess which one was not totalled?

FYI, the gun in question was a semi-automatic Ak-47. The BearCat has armor that can withstand up to a 7.62 round the same size round as the AK-47.


If I was out to troll and start a flamewar, I would say that either that proves that the government outguns the people and thus invalidates all those talking points the right-wing gun nuts make about how they need all sorts of guns in case the government turns on us, because it's already Game Over, OR I would say that escalation is the next step and private citizens should have the right to have tanks, machine guns, weapons-grade lasers, guided missiles, weaponized anthrax, and nukes.

But I'm not going to say either of those things.

Private citizens can buy military surplus as well. So if you can buy them why shouldn't the police be allowed to buy them?



Mikey, he touches on many points, including your favorite military vehicle the MRAP. Grab some snacks and enjoy.


Patience is a great virtue.

Turning to daily show pundits is a hallmark of when you cannot cogently provide an argument. Paul does it all the time. What Oliver doesn't do is offer solutions just mockery. Can't you see this is merely for entertainment and not serious discussion?

And he makes fun of rural areas having these vehicles conveniently highlighting Saginaw, MI. What was America's worst incident of school violence ever? Bath Township, MI 1927. I bet if the officials in Bath had access to an armored vehicle it could have saved some of the 45 dead and 58 wounded. Hmm rural area, 1927, that doesn't really fit the profile now does it, yet it happened and the perpetrator was the most effective we've seen in the US, EVER! Could that be BECAUSE it was in a place least expected?


It sounds like, Mikey, you're for making mockery illegal unless the perp also proposes some sound, serious solutions to whatever issue he dares to speak out on. That's one way of putting all the late-night American TV comedians on the unemployment line. I like your point about allowing police to buy equipment that citizens can purchase. It reminded me to go to the Pentagon's website and order another case of tear-gas canisters. They're pretty effective against pesky mosquitoes.

Patience is a great virtue.

Don, I suggested nothing of the sort. I countered his argument with a historical scenario. Likewise you nor Oliver offer a counter solution. I could say it sounds like you don't want the police to protect you. The late night comedians serve a purpose, to entertain, what they don't serve to do is give real solutions to world problems. I have no problem with their purpose I just expect mature individuals like yourself to be able to understand the difference.

The Pentagon deals in only CS gas but luckily there are three type of "tear gas" that you as a consumer can legally purchase on the market. And yes, they are used primarily in two thinks, personal protective kits in small ammounts, and large ammounts generally as a large animal deterent. I for one am glad America has this type of freedom.


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