Militarization of America's Police Forces.

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n11pilot
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Militarization of America's Police Forces.

Post by n11pilot » Mon Oct 01, 2018 5:27 pm

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On another branch of the social media tree our founder and fedora aficionado broached the subject of the militarization of America’s police forces. This militarization is not a new phenomenon. As early as the mid 1800s civilian police were borrowing state militia equipment to put down riots. In the 1920s the NYPD instituted what some consider to be the grandfather of all SWAT units by establishing a special squad comprised of police officers who had been Doughboys in WWI. These officers knew fire and maneuver and were familiar with military weapons. Today this issue fascinates me because I am intellectually torn on the subject and can see equally valid arguments on both sides. On one hand I never want to see any police force in this country as nothing more than blue suit, combat robots rolling through American streets in MRAPs seeking to subdue an unruly population. On the other hand if there is a significant terrorist attack in one of our cities the first responders aren’t going the be the 1ST Infantry Division or the 82ND Airborne, it’s going to be local law enforcement and they may well need those plate carriers and MRAPs. The same applies in cases of widespread and deadly rioting.

Complicating this situation is the fact that we are coming off of eight years of an administration that used identity politics and division as a tool of control. This blend has worked so well that today in many places police officers are viewed as popup targets for groups that have even the slightest grievance, legitimate or otherwise, against almost anyone else. For segments of the population this puts all police officers in the role of “Government thug”. I consider this unfair as most police officers are simply good men and women doing a dirty and dangerous job and who should be able to go home at the end of shift safely.

So, short of stripping all local law enforcement of valuable tools what is the answer? More civilian oversight on the part of local government? Body cameras? Dual key release of equipment? Honestly, I don’t know but I do know this needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
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Cousi
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Re: Militarization of America's Police Forces.

Post by Cousi » Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:38 pm

I struggle with this too, for the same reasons you give. Also we all know that corruption exists and while we believe it to be mostly isolated and small, with equipment like this in corrupt hands it could still do quite a bit of damage. Not only in terms of violence but in relations between the police and the public. All the honest cops I know absolutely despise corrupt cops because of how much harder it makes the job.

Not sure what solutions there are tough. Nominally the national guard is supposed to be that first line of defense. Realistically it will be the police until those forces have been mobilized.

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Blackthorn
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Re: Militarization of America's Police Forces.

Post by Blackthorn » Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:44 pm

We live in mindboggling times.
The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything….Albert Einstein

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n11pilot
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Re: Militarization of America's Police Forces.

Post by n11pilot » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:07 pm

Blackthorn wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:44 pm
We live in mindboggling times.
We do indeed, my friend. While we are on the subject of mind boggling militarized forces can anyone tell me why agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Education, US Fish and Wildlife Service, among others have fully equipped and trained tactical teams?

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Blackthorn
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Re: Militarization of America's Police Forces.

Post by Blackthorn » Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:26 pm

n11pilot wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:07 pm
Blackthorn wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:44 pm
We live in mindboggling times.
We do indeed, my friend. While we are on the subject of mind boggling militarized forces can anyone tell me why agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Education, US Fish and Wildlife Service, among others have fully equipped and trained tactical teams?
No, no one can, because there's no legitimate reason.
The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything….Albert Einstein

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Eric Renderking Fisk
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Re: Militarization of America's Police Forces.

Post by Eric Renderking Fisk » Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:17 pm

Here is the original image I shared.
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When you're a hammer, everything is suddenly a nail. Anyone with an ounce of heart and intelligence should be conflicted about this. Why, yes... if there is a terror attack or a riot then I hope the police are well armed. But then I'm left asking if the police have all that then what's the point in having a National Guard?

At what point is a Police Chief going to use all this equipment at the weakest provocation just because he can?

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n11pilot
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Re: Militarization of America's Police Forces.

Post by n11pilot » Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:11 pm

Eric Renderking Fisk wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:17 pm
When you're a hammer, everything is suddenly a nail. Anyone with an ounce of heart and intelligence should be conflicted about this. Why, yes... if there is a terror attack or a riot then I hope the police are well armed. But then I'm left asking if the police have all that then what's the point in having a National Guard?

At what point is a Police Chief going to use all this equipment at the weakest provocation just because he can?

This is indeed a point of internal conflict. The issue with the National Guard is that only a State's governor can commit its resources to any incident and this does and probably should take some time and thought. There is also the political ramifications for a governor to commit NG troops to put down riots in certain areas. Some governors may not have the political will to do something that would not play well in the press simply to protect an area they didn't carry in the last election. Politics is an ugly thing.

Now to control any unhinged police chief I submit a duel key system for release of any equipment beyond an agreed upon maximum, say 24 fully equipped officers and one MRAP for example. This would require not only the authorization of the police chief but also the top political leader of the jurisdiction, mayor, county executive, etc before any more equipment could be released.

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Cousi
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Re: Militarization of America's Police Forces.

Post by Cousi » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:57 pm

n11pilot wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:11 pm
Now to control any unhinged police chief I submit a duel key system for release of any equipment beyond an agreed upon maximum, say 24 fully equipped officers and one MRAP for example. This would require not only the authorization of the police chief but also the top political leader of the jurisdiction, mayor, county executive, etc before any more equipment could be released.
That's a start I think. It might actually work in most circumstances.

I can help but notice that no small towns have this sort of police ordinance. I still hold strong to my belief that cities in and of themselves bring out the worst in people more than the best. If we had no place with a population density greater than 2,500 people per square mile (largely considered a 'suburban' population density) I think we'd see the rate of a lot of crimes drop. I know, it'll never happen but a guy can dream can't he?

Or is that no longer politically correct.

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n11pilot
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Re: Militarization of America's Police Forces.

Post by n11pilot » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:03 pm

Cousi wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:57 pm
I can help but notice that no small towns have this sort of police ordinance. I still hold strong to my belief that cities in and of themselves bring out the worst in people more than the best. If we had no place with a population density greater than 2,500 people per square mile (largely considered a 'suburban' population density) I think we'd see the rate of a lot of crimes drop. I know, it'll never happen but a guy can dream can't he?

Or is that no longer politically correct.
In areas where there are clusters of small towns this type of equipment is usually under the control of the county government. In Maryland, in the West and North of the state especially even incorporated cities with their own police departments can call on the county police/sheriff's departments for support of this type. I think that you are quite correct about population density. When the population increases for a given space, pressures on that population also increases leading to conflict, frustration, aggression and crime. I think this has been true since the invention of cities.

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Cousi
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Re: Militarization of America's Police Forces.

Post by Cousi » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:02 pm

In Massachusetts where I grew up, the only equipment the county officials had were vehicles and small arms. The county itself didn't have any political power, but existed more as a geographical boundary or means of organizing towns and cities. In Utah where I currently live, the county has much more power. The county sheriffs actually function in a law enforcement capacity somewhere between the state and city, and are often the only law enforcement in the smaller towns. The power of the county varies greatly state by state.

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