By Michael Krieger
The militarization of police forces across the U.S. has been a key theme here at Liberty Blitzkrieg for a long time. Despite the fact that crime rates have declined sharply across the nation since the early 1990′s, domestic police departments are arming as if they are about to confront battalions of Taliban at any given moment. It’s absurd, dangerous and ultimately very divisive as police act more like soldiers than protectors of the community. The most egregious recent example of “warrior cops” causing serious damage occurred in Georgia late last month and was covered in my post: 19-Month-Old Toddler in Critical Condition After Cops Throw Flash Bang Grenade into Playpen.
Just yesterday, The New York Times covered this terrifying trend in its article: War Gear Flows to Police Departments. We learn that:
NEENAH, Wis. — Inside the municipal garage of this small lakefront city, parked next to the hefty orange snowplow, sits an even larger truck, this one painted in desert khaki. Weighing 30 tons and built to withstand land mines, the armored combat vehicle is one of hundreds showing up across the country, in police departments big and small.
The 9-foot-tall armored truck was intended for an overseas battlefield. But as President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” the former tools of combat — M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more — are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice.
During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.
The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs. Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of “barbering without a license.”
Yes, remember I reported that: There are Over 50,000 SWAT Team Raids Annually in America.
A quiet city of about 25,000 people, Neenah has a violent crime rate that is far below the national average. Neenah has not had a homicide in more than five years.
Neenah’s police chief, Kevin E. Wilkinson, said he understood the concern. At first, he thought the anti-mine truck was too big. But the department’s old armored car could not withstand high-powered gunfire, he said.
“I don’t like it. I wish it were the way it was when I was a kid,” he said. But he said the possibility of violence, however remote, required taking precautions. “We’re not going to go out there as Officer Friendly with no body armor and just a handgun and say ‘Good enough.’ ”
Congress created the military-transfer program in the early 1990s, when violent crime plagued America’s cities and the police felt outgunned by drug gangs. Today, crime has fallen to its lowest levels in a generation, the wars have wound down, and despite current fears, the number of domestic terrorist attacks has declined sharply from the 1960s and 1970s.
Pentagon data suggest how the police are arming themselves for such worst-case scenarios. Since 2006, the police in six states have received magazines that carry 100 rounds of M-16 ammunition, allowing officers to fire continuously for three times longer than normal. Twenty-two states obtained equipment to detect buried land mines.
In the Indianapolis suburbs, officers said they needed a mine-resistant vehicle to protect against a possible attack by veterans returning from war.
Oh sure, send them to die in pointless wars and then call them terrorists when they come back. Disgusting.
“You have a lot of people who are coming out of the military that have the ability and knowledge to build I.E.D.’s and to defeat law enforcement techniques,” Sgt. Dan Downing of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department told the local Fox affiliate, referring to improvised explosive devices, or homemade bombs. Sergeant Downing did not return a message seeking comment.
Of all the bad ideas currently being implemented in these United States, turning the police into soldiers is certainly near the top of the list.