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Friday, March 20, 2015

Militarization of Police: A Disturbing Trend

Militarization of Police

Gun News

There is a disturbing trend among law enforcement agencies, both local (municipal departments, state police agencies and sheriff’s offices) and federal. This trend is what some are calling “militarization,” and it has become a controversial topic. The controversy is being generated by several issues within the concept of militarization. I am not deluded enough to believe that law enforcement people see this issue the same way that the average tax payer does. But, as a tax payer and former law enforcement officer, I feel that these issues need to be raised and discussed. I am firmly in the camp that the militarization is a bad idea. It is a bad idea because it is expensive, it is furthering the disconnect between citizens and officers, and it is causing police officers and federal agents to act more like an occupying army than an entity charged with assisting citizens.

We as a country have a record debt that continues to spiral out of control. This debt is so large as to be almost comical. We now speak of millions of dollars as mere pocket change and billions as discretionary income. The debt has been caused by both republicans and democrats. The problem is that no one is willing to cut spending, and this includes law enforcement agencies. Just as an example; my local police department has changed the paint schemes on their cars at least three times in the last ten years. Most of the money used for these changes comes from grants from the federal government. Where does grant money come from? Tax payers. So, while our debt continues to accumulate, we continue to spend. The question is, what are law enforcement agencies spending this money on? Part of the answer can be seen on the nightly news.

How many times in the last few years have we witnessed situations where a SWAT team is called in and they appear in their MRAP or other armored vehicles, with the members dressed in Multi-Cam uniforms complete with Kevlar helmets and baklavas and armed to the teeth with the latest in military firepower? That is where a big chunk of tax payer money is going. Now, does that mean that the officers should be armed only with pistols? Absolutely not! But, do they really need multi-cam? Do they really need M-4s? Let us discuss the latest craze—MRAPs. I cannot for the life of me figure out why a police department or federal agency needs a mine and rocket-resistant armored vehicle. When was the last time a police agency came under a rocket attack? Is someone expecting I-15 in Utah to be mined? They must, because the Utah Highway Patrol just purchased an MRAP! But it does not stop there; they also received four grenade launchers and over 1200 rifles. Remember, all of this is being paid for by you and me, and if the feds are going to sell their surplus, why can’t citizens participate? Why can’t we buy surplus military rifles at the same prices that cops can? Not to mention that they were able to purchase this MRAP (which had less than 1,000 miles on it) for $8300. Brand new, they cost $300,000. Great use of tax payer money — somewhere along the line, we lost $291,700. It’s no wonder we have such a monstrous deficit!

Here is the real scary part: We paid for this equipment with our taxes to protect our soldiers overseas, but now this equipment is being repurchased with our local taxes to be used against us. Do not kid yourself, this equipment is not for our protection, but for the protection of LEOs enforcing laws, whether constitutional or not.

When I was growing up, police officers wore uniforms that were distinctly police looking. They were armed with pistols, shotguns and some had rifles, like the Mini-14. TheseMilitarization of Police officers were participating in a program called Community Oriented Policing. Officers were encouraged to get to know the citizens in their communities as well as the business owners. The purpose of this was to foster an attitude of cooperation between police and citizens. I know this because this is what I was taught in the police academy and what we practiced in the streets. This no longer exists. Now, most interactions between police and citizens are adversarial, at best. There is now a real chasm between citizens and law enforcement officials, and the chasm is growing exponentially. Distrust of law enforcement is at an all-time high, and rightfully so. Here are just a couple of examples:

December 20, 2012–Ogden, Utah police served a warrant at 2:30 a.m. by breaking down the door and storming the house in full SWAT mode. The residents were handcuffed and arrested.

Unfortunately, the police were at the wrong address.

October 4, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah–SLCPD served a no-knock search warrant on a home that they suspected had drugs and weapons, but it only had an elderly widow. This widow, “had the event of a lifetime…” according to Chief Chris Burbank commenting on the “mistake.” That’s right; the cops were at the wrong house.

If the above cited examples do not make your blood boil, try this one:

Lebanon, Tennessee–A man and his wife were watching television when the police broke their door down, serving a search warrant. The home owner, John Adams, confused and frightened by the police action, grabbed his shotgun and shot at the illegal intruders. The intruders, officers Kyle Shedran and Greg Day shot and killed Adams. Guess what? They were at the wrong house. According to Chief Billy Weeks, “we did the best surveillance we could do, and a mistake was made. It’s a very severe mistake–a costly mistake. It makes us look at our own policies and procedures to make sure this never occurs again, however, the two policemen were not at fault.”

They were not at fault. What comfort this sweet sentiment gives! This is why the chasm is growing and growing rapidly. If it is not the fault of the officers, then where does the fault lie?

Have you ever paid close attention to the Miranda Rights? These are the rights read to each suspect upon arrest or before questioning. Let me point out a line that is often overlooked, “… Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” (Emphasis mine) Do see anywhere that it says that anything you say will be used to free you or exonerate you? No, anything you say will be used against you. This is exactly why I never answer any questions that a law enforcement officer asks me. They will lie to you (perfectly legal Frazier v. Cupp) to get you talk. This is another reason that regular citizens distrust the police; they will lie to get you to speak, but if you lie in return, I guarantee you will be charged with lying to a police official.

The founding fathers of these United States feared a standing army because of the years of British rule that they had suffered under. This is one of the reasons for the Second Amendment. Can we not make the comparison that our law enforcement agencies, both local and federal, are now acting like a standing army? Have you ever heard the old adage— If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck? Well—If it looks like a soldier, dresses like a soldier, and is armed like a soldier—it is a soldier. Are supposed to believe that the police driving MRAPs and armed with grenade launchers are here for our protection? In today’s world, our right to bear arms is being limited while law enforcement’s is expanding. Where in the constitution does it grant law enforcement greater rights in bearing arms than it does to the people?

Why is it necessary for every government agency to have a Paramilitary force? Is it really necessary for the Department of Education to have armed agents? Are they really that worried about student loans? These Paramilitary forces are all armed exactly the same way that our military forces are armed. They have automatic weapons, grenade launchers, armored vehicles, etc. The Internal Revenue Service, a glorified collection agency, has a Paramilitary force as well. Why is this entire expense necessary? Why are we the tax payers allowing this misuse of our money to go unchecked?

It is time that we demand answers and accountability. The militarization of police is a bad idea and will only produce bad results. As long as law enforcement units can call the killing of an innocent civilian a mistake and not the fault of the officers, then we will have a major and deadly disconnect.

98 Responses to “Militarization of Police: A Disturbing Trend”
  1. Drew says:

    I think that you should talk with your co-writer at Gun News, Daly Harnish. He seems to think that everything is OK and we ought not to question the wisdom of militarizing the police.

    • jim says:

      Well, I really have to wonder about the author of this piece. He can’t seem to distinguish between a pastrie and the “baklava” that he says the guys are now wearing. Having been a deputy for 40 years plus, not to mention Sgt and Lt, I completely understand why our officers are gearing up. It’s not the same old world I found 40 years ago where it was a really big deal when you discovered a gun anywhere. And the drugs are certainly up higher than any other time, esp here in Colorado with cartels trying to elbow their way in to the marijuana thing.

      But, honestly, it is a disturbing thought to imagine that one day a city officer might ring my doorbell (or pound) on the door and ask for my guns. This has caused a few sleepless evenings, I might say. I would hope all of my “brothers” would realize when the time comes that the govt wants to use them as Hitler began when he took over the German police. Let’s say a prayer for our country and our brothers and sisters in the military and law enforcement and pray that should this time ever come, they will remember that some of their families own guns and hope they make the correct decision as to which side of the line to stand on. God bless the USA.

      • Steve says:


        Thank you for your LEO service. But my expectation as a taxpayer is: If there is a crisis which requires MRAPs and Grenade launchers, then we already have a trained National Guard for those emergencies. In the last 10 years, I’ve been pulled over a few times by gruff, uncaring, rude LEOs who talk to me/treat me as if I just robbed a bank or committed felonious assault – not for going 6 mph over a 45 mph speed limit. We Tax Payers are souring on our local police departments because (1) of the officer disrespectful attitudes towards we citizens who provide monies for their paychecks and (2) because LEOs receive special treatment when they break laws (speeding, DUIs, etc).

        Attitudes in Law Enforcement has to change – and it isn’t Militarization.

      • Magus says:

        Sure Jim, it’s not the same world. Violent crime rates are much LOWER in every respect today than they were 40 years ago.

        And seriously, “cartels trying to elbow their way in to the marijuana thing” in Colorado? The cartels just got CUT OUT of “the marijuana thing”, since there’s no reason anybody would buy from a cartel-affiliated drug dealer when they can get their pot legally at a lower price and in higher quality. It’s rather like how the cartels don’t bother with tobacco, because anybody who wants it will just buy it legally.

      • Ron B says:

        Amen, brother! National Day of Prayer, May 1, 2014. Find a church that is involved and pray for our country!

      • CavScoutSniper says:


        You are in a very dangerous place if you think that your “brothers” are going to do anything other than herd you right on into the FEMA camps along with the rest of the SHEEPLE just because you wore a badge @ one time. Like us Veterans of the Military you as Former Pork are right at the top of the “Most Probable Domestic Terrorist” list. Don’t feel bad though Jim, I’m both, \former Pork & A Disabled Veteran. Hope to stand shoulder to shoulder with you when TSHTF and not see you amongst the SHEEPLE being gunned down or marched into those FEMA Camps!

    • PFVF says:

      Reading down the comments here from current LEOs is totally disheartening. They show all the worst attitudes that are widening the chasm between the American public and increasingly militarized agencies, from police departments to the IRS & U.S. postal service. The myopic fortress mentality expressed here foolishly accuses intelligent, educated, experienced, freedom-loving citizens of being ignorant rubes and nutty conspiracy theorists when they warn that current trends portend an uprising that will make the little Napoleons riding in their MRAPs less secure, not more secure, for making themselves enemies of the American people!

      History continually repeats the sad lesson that only one thing ends tyranny – killing the tyrants.

    • Norman says:

      The local police train at our club. I know them, and they are members of our community. I guess that I”m more comfortable with them having more military strength than having federal law enforcement people come into my community.

  2. Citizen John says:

    Mr. Tom I believe that you hit every bullet point. Some of us remember the days when the whole community knew the cops and Sheriff and his Deputies and I still do but things are changing fast, the Feds are pushing these toys on them and encouraging “militarization” of the force. We had a Sheriff a County over who never even carried a gun. He relied on his reputation of fairness to keep him safe. He would walk into any situation and talk the people down. He was a little guy and was Sheriff for 40 or 50 years. I guess those days are gone. Now adays LEO’s are thinking tools, big tools, maximum force, just like we did when I was in the military.. I hope that the Sheriff that you mentioned was voted out, in Lebanon, Tn. You could probably have filled a book listing elderly people shot and killed by over zealous cops, here’s one from Atlanta, Ms Kathryn Johnston. 92
    If the cops bring a tank they will use it, ie. Waco, 54 adults and 28 children dead at the hands of the ATF. David Koresh could have been talked down.
    And so it goes…

    • Cliff says:

      David Koresh could have been picked up at approximately 10am on any given day. That’s when he left the “compound” for his daily run. There was no need for any of this to have occurred, and the Federal Government, once again, got away with murder. If you have not seen “Waco, the Rules of Engagment”, it’s a must view.

      The government relies on the public buying into false flag events and playing with their electronic devices. It’s time for us to wake up and start asking the hard questions and demanding change. Otherwise, the local police will soon be flying F-16′s “just in case”.

  3. alexander says:

    The Persians used elephants in battle not because they were very good at conducting war, but because people that have never seen elephants were intimidated by them. Same reason why cities keep horse-mounted police. Apparently, our government thinks of its citizens as nothing more than uneducated simpletons (not without justification – most of us went to government schools…) that can be intimidated by the elephantine MRAPs. Clearly, this equipment is not intended against criminals, but against the citizens.

  4. Justin says:

    Amen Brother! Being a soldier in The U.S. Army for 15 years (got out a year ago or so), I have asked myself all of these questions before. I have been shot at, taken rockets and artillery, navigated land mines, and so much more (much of which is still classified). During my many missions, operation, conflict and wars… I have seen both the best and worst in mankind. We for the most part have always had very difficult rules of engagement that I really don’t see in most current L.E. situation that make the news. I have had friend go to jail after our 2003 Liberation of Iraq for making all the hard choices and even doing the right thing. An example would be the alleged “Haditha killings” in 2005 by U.S. Marines. I by no means am saying that these men did not commit murder, being a Soldier I am well aware that all Marines are at minimum guilty by affiliation (just kidding; nothing but love); but I found it odd that right after it happened and was spread across the news like butter on bread, that these men (who took an IED and fire from the area) were more or less convicted just because there were bodies and NATO 5.56mm ammo casing being shown by a local in the area to a reporter. Why did I find this odd? Because it was and still is a common practice of enemy combatants and insurgents to use whatever means necessary to discredit the U.S. military… to include killing of their townsfolk or even family members. Heck, I we even found MREs that were fashioned into bombs and handed out to children to discredit our forces. Anyone remember our good friend Abu Musab al-Zarqawi trying out the M249 SAW ( How and why do you suppose he had such a weapon? I can tell you why (see above)! What bugs me the most about L.E. and their cool tax payers paid tools is the fact that they can buy them, yet us individuals have to jump through hoops (especially here in commiefornia). Police can get them for personal use and ownership; yet a soldier, veterans, or average Joe cannot. Disgusting. Again, I don’t have a problem with police having such things, but to be fair; if they are getting MRAPs, let us just hope that our government starts issuing its law abiding subject’s antitank landmines and RPGs to keep things fair and balanced!


  5. GDuke2 says:

    I read both of the articles on militarized LE and both Mr Hamish and Mr Hudson touch on the point from a different perspective. As one post to the Hamish article suggested, I hope that there was at least some degree of sarcasm involved. Two questions come to mind – is there justification and who pays the cost.

    The first part is no. LEOs in more violent urban areas may require to be up-armored. Response to various criminal elements require the safety of more specialized kit. I believe this should be the exception not the rule.

    American PDs are not supposed to be soldiers. In other countries, the militarized/national police often wear both hats. Not here. LEO has the unfortunate duty of often dealing with the worst of humanity – bad people doing bad things and good people swept up by unfortunate events (accident, injury, abuse, addiction) and trauma. The roll of Community Action requires someone viewed as a member of the society he/she is serving. Serving as opposed to occupying.

    A lost child doesn’t need Tommy Tactical. Nor does a traffic accident.

    Secondly, the costs for this are a staggering hit to the taxpayer. In the case of the Utah MRAP (whose usefulness and utility is suspect) it was already paid for by the taxpayer, I can see giving it to another agency but not charging the taxpayer again. Kind of like double jeopardy.

    Some have said that the only ones supporting all of the crime wars are LEs who are funded by these programs. Maybe a little fiscal responsibility will help keep agencies focused on helping the community rather than the other way around.

    End of Rant

  6. dave says:

    LE are citizens just like every other citizen in the US. Their training, licensing, and public employment status allows them special arrest powers and responsibilities, but they have no special civil rights above any other citizen legally (meaning according to our constitutional standard). Again, just because legislators have passed laws that violate this standard does not make it legal.

    Any defensive equipment or arms that police may legally possess, constitutionally so may other citizens. If there is a lesser discrepancy in reality on the ground there it is probably not that LE is overstepping its’ authority, but that local insurrectionists are illegally denying citizens their just civil rights. I’d suggest correcting these illegal, rebellious abuses be they on the part of LE, or of sitting elected and appointed officials who refuse to negate civil rights abusing laws.

  7. Jim says:

    “I cannot for the life of me figure out why a police department or federal agency needs a mine and rocket-resistant armored vehicle.”

    Boys like to play toys, especially when someone else pays for them. They are cool, fun to take home (as one local LEO was doing a while back) and, well, nothing screams testosterone better than a 7 ton Vietnam era APC. This is one of Washington DC’s V100 armored hobby/ fire trucks.

  8. sertnz says:

    Absolutely nothing good can come from this trend. LEO’s are paid by taxpayers to provide protection and safety, NOT as soldiers. I realize that ‘dressing up’ like soldiers is really cool for these young officers, but it’s gotten out of control – pushed by the Feds to suppress any type of civil disobedience and not necessarily to arrest the guy with a warrant or other simple violation of the law. As a former LEO and SWAT commander, I know what drives my fellow SWAT members, but this has got to be brought under control by the leadership of ALL agencies. WAKE UP leaders before you lose the respect and the confidence your constituency. There is a place for this activity, but it should be rare and only when absolutely necessary.

  9. Gene says:

    Conspiracy hysteria, I suppose you think the government is still holding aliens hostage at Area 51 . With all the mass school , theater, and mall shootings you expect the cops to show up with McGruff the friendly dog? Do you think small school children will be saved with Officer Friendly handing out lollipops . Get real, most police departments are cash strapped, under gunned , and have limited resources , therefore surplus weapons & equipment level the deadly playing field or hopefully put the cops ahead. After all, I don’t suppose hacks that spit falsehoods have to worry about going home unharmed unlike those who are serving a day dealing with maniacs bent on hurting innocent citizens. Go hide behind your pen & paper, I can see why you didn’t last very long as a real cop.

    • alexander says:

      So, Gene, how many children did your well armed cops saved during the mass school shooting? Or mass shootings alsewhere? We do know how many bodies they counted, but did they actually save any? I don’t seem to recall…

    • BWells says:

      You are proving your intellectual capacity here. There is evil in this world. There are men who would do evil to others. As an LEO you should know this as much or more than others. The physiology of men demonstrated in studies like the Stanford Prison experiment prove that good people put in the right set of circumstances will do horrible things without the oversight of others. WE ARE THOSE WHO PROVIDE OVERSIGHT!

      Just because one chooses not to remain in a job, yes, being a law enforcement officer is a job, does not diminish their understand for the requirements, responses and effects of the job. Many, myself included, still regularly support our local officers and ride along with them in areas where back up may be far away. Even after leaving law enforcement I deployed with the military serving in combat so I do take exception to you characterization that anyone who is not a law enforcement officer cannot comment on this issue. I only hope you reflect and find yourself in a better place than you currently are as you will be held accountable for your actions.

  10. CHenry says:

    If nothing else, it effectively removes posse comitatus restrictions on military forces operating within the borders of the country by creating a paramilitary force that for practical purposes has all of the equipment and trainiing of infantry and air cavalry.

    • Steve H says:

      The founding fathers would have referred to it as a “specialized Militia” or a “select Militia” which was warned against as well. When local, county or state government is equipped to suppress rights it will…..One MRAP, a SWAT team for special responses in a population of few hundred thousand I don’t worry about. When whole small town departments and large counties are militarizing their entire police force, then I worry. I’ve seen lots of overkill responses in my 33 year career in the fire dept.

  11. Brenboy says:

    It’s not the money that bothers me, it’s the change in attitude and mindset that goes along with this “militarization”. The police stop considering themselves as SERVING the public but lean more toward CONTROLLING the public. With militarization you are no longer viewd as a person, a citizen, a neighbor in a community. You are viewed as a threat FIRST and foremost. This is a deep psychological change in police perception of humanity around them… they lose a sense of empathy and themselves become institutionalized in a culture lacking a core connection to the people they serve… very bad what powerful tools can do to the psyche if no context is ever given.

  12. Joe says:

    Excellent point. The “chasm” between citizens and poice is widening exponentially. This is a multifaceted phenomenon.

    I spoke with a very good-natured class three firearms dealer just the other day who operates entirely from his home. He is making money hand over fist. He shared that he us selling literally hundreds of class three weapons to police departments, full auto SBRs (LWR, 7″barreled, 6.8 SPC), grenade launchers, etc. He said he has never seen anything like this. And these rifles aren’t for a minority of the departments or fir swat teams. Every single officer gets one. Small rural, six-man departments? Everyone gets one. They are all outdoing somebody. Who do you think that is?

    Many do not realize that much of this can be traced to a major shift in our society away from a knowledge and embrace if the tenets of liberty. Collectivism has crept in. Why do I say this? The evidence is manifold but here us just one example. If you believe that in a nation founded upon liberty, the source of all authority comes from the people and this, not cumulatively, but individually. Ten citizens do not inherently have more authority than does the single individual. And government power, delegated from that individual, cannot be more than what the individual posseses. It is not possible to delegate more authority than does one have. There is no exception to this that is not tyranny. Yet we see it everywhere today.

    I will not belabor this issue but apply this principal to this situation and see where we stand. I think it is easy to see that we stand squarely in the middle if tyranny.

    Until Americans can restore an understanding of tges principals we will never reverse tyranny.

    • Michael Crist says:

      Ahhhh! I always love to read & hear about liberty & opposition to tyranny. Whether you agree with Joe or not… you gotta love his core values, which are such strong traditions among American citizens!

  13. Mith Radates says:

    Somebody, somewhere must know what the administration has in mind for all the military equipment, arms and ammunition that has been distributed to such non-military government agencies such as NOAA, NASA, Social Security, HHS, etc.

  14. N.Wells says:

    I believe the militarization of the police forces are just so, at some point, the federal government can “federalize” them under homeland security, and within minutes you have a federally controlled army patrolling the streets.

    Every city and state should enact anti-federalization powers against this possibility. Put it on record, put it in the books.

    The day the government federalizes LEO will be the day citizen will be pitted against citizen…the new civil war.

  15. BWells says:

    Having retired from the military, worked as a police officer, deputy sheriff and a member of a drug and high risk warrant task force I can say without a doubt that the militarization of the modern police has been growing ever since the days of Waco. I was called out by my Chief Deputy once for being published in a newspaper article wearing a camouflaged face net while cutting marijuana plants on a raid. He said it scared people and to never be seen doing it again. He was a marine Vet from Vietnam and for the life of me I could not understand why he would be worried about scaring people.

    Now that I have aged gracefully I think of him often when i see the dress and armament that my small town and county has. Not to mention now even the local community college has a full time police force complete with a SWAT team and counter-sniper! My grandfather use to rule the campus at night as the night watchman with a 4 d-cell flashlight and a gruff voice!

    In my opinion it is a concerted effort by the federal leviathan to co-op the local police into doing their bidding. It is no different than using food stamps, welfare and now Obama care to buy the votes of the populous. if an agency decides not to take the graft and gratuity of the feds it is attacked sic Joe Arpaio, the six-time elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona.

    Another facet would be the Nazi style jack booted thug chiefs of police appointed by “progressive” boards and mayors to be the catch dog of the local government. until we take back over our cities and counties through electing rational conservative officials we will continue to have this problem. Start at the bottom, not the top. That is how progressivism did it. How else could a community organizer become the POTUS?

  16. Chuck says:

    Having been in law enforcement for more than two decades, and a staunch believer in the unfettered 2nd Amendment Rights of law abiding citizens, I’m calling you out on this one!

    Currently, I’m still employed in a supervisory roll in the police department of a major city. While our population has fallen, the well armed violent thugs that prey on people just like you have increased…disproportionately, I might add. In the last 4 years, six of my men have been shot defending the laws of our land. The same laws that allow you to give your opinion in a public forum, no matter your level of understanding. Of those six, three paid with there lives, one is paralyzed, and two have recovered and returned to duty. We use that equipment for OUR SAFETY, not to intimidate tax paying citizens!

    Those of you who speak with great bravado from behind your computer screens should come out with me and face a drug crazed lunatic with an AK-47 (most likely a cheaper SKS) that has been traded for drugs by a “citizen”, and then tell me how you don’t need an armored vehicle to end the situation. Don’t tell me, show me how you would walk right up there and stop his shooting spree with your trusty .45! Show me how the rounds from his weapon can’t hurt you, because you’re doing what’s right.

    Instead of worrying about us using modern technology to return home to our loved ones uninjured, why don’t you use this heartfelt desire for some type of change to mount a campaign against the judges that allow these predators to return to our streets, after MULTIPLE gun, drug, and assault convictions. How about helping to ensure that when my men and I put our lives on the line for you, that the laws on the books are enforced!

    We, the police, and modern technology are not your enemies. Your apathy and unwillingness to force a change in the judicial system are!

    Good day”

    • alexander says:

      Chuck, first, I agree with you regarding the judges releasing convicted criminals (and often not convicting them at all). But, how to you justify using a SWAT to raid an organic farm suspected of growing pot, which it did not:
      or an animal shelter suspected of raising one baby deer: ???
      Now, please correct me with specific data, but I far as I know the use of an AK, SKS or an AR by criminals is a very rare exception; most use handguns or shotguns. And how do you explain or justify that it is a common occurrence to be treated at traffic stops (suspected violations) as if a dangerous felony was in progress? If you are out there to instill fear – you are doing a good job; if you are out there to earn respect – please re-examine your attitude!
      And btw, if you believe that the powers above are willingly providing you with MRAPs and similar equipment for your protection, do ask yourself then why is it that the same powers above release criminals and refuse to rein them in? Maybe, just maybe, there is a reason for this madness?

    • dave says:

      “Instead of worrying about us using modern technology to return home to our loved ones uninjured, why don’t you…” – Better idea, I have no problem with LE using everything any other citizen can use. I’d suggest you (the royal you, not you personally) refuse to enforce laws that contradict the language in the constitution. Every time you do so you endanger everyone around you, foster a disrespect for the law and LE, and promote that insurrection to the point of committing rebellion on your part. My carry permit is the 2nd amendment. I won’t argue with any LE officer because I don’t carry and don’t need to. But if I need to I will and I’ll know every LEO I see is a potential threat. That’s not a positive situation and should never have to happen in the US.

    • J. Matte says:

      Thx. Chuck. Most of these morons have never been on a drug raid. The Vet.’s know what its like to be shot at, some of the cops do as well, the rest are just arm chair quarterbacks. Please cite all the wrong address search warrants u want. Yes it happens. Our military has done this as well. Intel can be your best ally or worst nightmare. Cops have been evolving to meet the threat. Look at Platt and Maddix in Miami, look at the shooters in LA. Cops were outgunned. I spent 30+ years in Law enforcement. It changed from a big dumb recruit to a more educated career oriented recruit. Now with the defcit departments are getting rid or pensions and retirement healthcare. We will go backwards. Look for more mistakes and more cowboys in the future. Professionalism is leaving. Militarization? It is only a small percentage of each department that is trained in swat IE military tactics. How should they dress? fatigues allow u to carry everything u need. Have u been in a firefight? U can’t get enough ammo, cover, backup. U carry what u can. Have u had a friend shot in the head? Why not wear helmets. Our military learned building searches from law enforcement. Get over yourself. I know cops make bad decisions. So does every group. Why attack a whole group for some bad actions of a few. The cops as a whole support the 2nd amendment. Many citizens have come to the aid of lone cops in trouble. Don’t dump us all in some group because you are too lazy to do your research. Yes u pissed me off. I bet u were a mall renta cop or got thrown off the force. U have a piss poor attitude and sound like a liberal. No facts just run with some bullshit idea.

      • Bwells says:

        But, your “group” is being purchased with cool toys and told you have to have them for officer safety. You want to use your weapon. You want to see if you measure up, if you can do it. You want the other officers to look at you and wisp her he is the one the shot that guy. There are those guys though there, more than you care to admit because it would undermine the narrative that you need more and bigger toys to protect yourself. Fine, I envoke the same logic. I want an MRAP, selective fire weapons, full body armor, suppressed weapons and flash bangs. He’ll, give me an M1A1 while your at it. I have qualified with it, that’s the excuse many LEOs use. Don’t cry to me when you and your family are targeted for your simple minded complicity in the suppression of the American people. YOU will be held accountable.

      • james says:

        chuck I will go along with almost all of your comment you got to the point where you said soldiers made mistake yes and if they do that go to a courts martial! leo’s seem to be exempt form this you are put on paid admin leave and investigated then cleared because you followed protocol with bad intel and I have been in harms way I served In nam! I

    • Michael Crist says:

      Your assumption that opponents of the militarization of local police departments is equivalent to “apathy and unwillingness to force a change in the judicial system” is completely laughable and a GROSS exaggeration. Your unnecessary emotional outbursts and verbal tantrum takes away from the very real and serious comments at the beginning of your post. Your attitude is EXACTLY what many people are commenting about. You are not in the military, sir, and your enforcement of the law is not necessarily the same as the sacrifices made by soldier, sailors, airmen etc. to defend the freedoms of American citizens. You seem to be confusing the defense of liberty with the enforcement of laws. They may be related… but they are not one in the same.

  17. Not to worry. I’m sure they’re just coming to protect and to serve!

  18. Not to worry. I’m sure they’re just coming to protect and to serve!

  19. Clinton says:

    I’ve heard that the “federales” can take control of these mraps when “needed”. It is sad to see what is happening to our country. “A well regulated militia BEING NECESSARY to the SECURITY of a FREE STATE”, how are we supposed to keep the government in check, you cannot fight mraps with muzzleloaders! We have allowed our government to get to big! Remember when government is scared of the people there is freedom, but when people are scared of their government, there is tyranny!

  20. Lysander says:

    You are correct. Militarization of police forces is one of the biggest threats to what remains of our fast-disappearing liberty. Support your local police, and keep them independent of the federal government and other communist influences.

  21. R. Lewis says:

    I have become so intimidated by the police over the last several years that if I see a patrol car behind me I will turn down the first available street or parking lot just to stay away from them. What was once “Protect and Serve” has now become “Harass and Arrest”. I actually fear the police more than I do criminals, at least with criminals I have a fair chance to protect myself.
    I firmly believe that unless things change there will soon be a day where people will resort to becoming vigilantes rather than involving the police.

  22. John W says:

    All I can say is remember Randy Weaver and his family. Then there was the Waco incident. That is a typical show of force by the government. The various police agencies could have used other less lethal tactics to control the situation. But no our government has to go in with full force to take control. Innocent people dead because these agencies want to show Americans what they will do once challenged by the same Americans they are paid to protect. It’s not acceptable to kill one innocent person in the act of trying to subdue a criminal. Are not these the same tactics that Hitler used on the citizens of Germany prior to WW II? Instill fear then take control! Our country is rapidly changing and I think for the worst. We have a president who feels no need to follow the U.S. Constitution but instead rules by executive order. We have the U.S. Atty General advising states that if they choose to over look the law it’s ok. Think about people.

  23. Mike says:

    Spot on Tom. Every word. Spot on. If it’s not a black and white 4 door sedan it doesn’t belong in a Police Dept.

  24. DjP says:

    I am not going to leave a lengthy reply, because I am not a person of many words. I have been an LE for nearly 15 years and have been on midnight patrol, v.i.c.e., SWAT and am currently a homicide detective. What most civilians don’t know or think about is that until the bank shootout in Burbank many years ago, most officers had their side arm and a useless 12 gauge shotgun that was usually in the trunk. They were outgunned and had little tactical training to deal with that type of criminal (look it up for details). Since then there have been many instances where we as LE have been outgunned. I, for one, am happy that most of us have access to more advanced training and powerful firearms than the criminals we have to deal with. We should not be expected to dumb down our tactics and abilities to make people feel warm and cuddly about police.

    Civilians have had access to more advanced weapons than the standard LE officer and still do. SWAT is a different animal all together, so you can not compare the two. They are here to deal with the worst possible scenarios. But just to let you know, armored vehicles are a must when approaching a barricaded gunman/active shooter/hostage situation. Many officers are issued AR15s/M4s now mostly because of active shooter situations. If I had a child in school and officers were responding to an active shooter there, you bet your ass I would want them to have more firepower and training than the criminal that is there solely to take human life. BTW those active shooters have been known to carry AR15s, AK 47s, and similar firearms.

    Don’t cry in your soup because you want to have a rifle or pistol for every day of the week in your safe and it costs you money. The only officers I know of that get breaks on personal weapons are the ones that have to use their personal weapons on the job and don’t get them supplied to them by their agency. I feel your pain. My agency provides my weapons and ammunition, so if I want a toy or a better piece of equipment for home defense, I pay full price too.

    I lied about not being wordy.


    • Michael Crist says:

      The 1997 North Hollywood shootout (i.e. Burbank) certainly is THE BEST argument for upgrading police equipment to correspond with that of criminals. While I agree with the gist of the author’s article… I can’t imagine being on the receiving end of full automatic gunfire from assault weapons with armor piercing rounds (or something very similar). Those guys were “armed to the teeth”, and had no intention of being taken alive.

      There was also the 1986 shootout in Miami, in which two FBI agents were killed. Here too… it involved serial bank robbers.

      Our law enforcement personnel do need equipment that at least matches that of the criminals. It’s only when this becomes excessive (in the mind of the public) that people express their concerns.

      • james says:

        you have hit the point on the head sir! it has become so evident that it has become an issue to normal folks! if I was told that the officer I saw with the m-16 on his motorcycle was also a swat officer I would be ok with him having it but I have seen all the motorcycle units side by side at the station and they all had one!

  25. UnicornPoop says:

    I’m not excited about a bunch of cops assing around town in their new MRAP, muzzling the bus stops with their new full-auto M4’s, but I get why they are doing it. If I was in their combat boots, I’d be getting pretty concerned with the number of folks out there that are buying weapons and then training with them. There is more tacticool gear available now than there ever has been before and more folks than ever now own military style high capacity weapons. The author’s BFG gang banger pose is further evidence that the average joe has access to some pretty wicked artillery (probably not the best photo for this article, Tom). Johnny Wannabe can outfit himself with as good or even better gear than the militarized police. If I’m a cop, I don’t want to go into a fight unless I know I’ve got the best gear and best training. Screw trying to “talk down” some crack addled, face eating felon while he and his kel-tec “slice the pie” around the corner of the dumpster. I’m just just gonna hit’em with the MRAP. Tom – cops don’t wear middle Eastern pastries sweetened with honey and nuts about their head and shoulders. Balaclava.

  26. Bob says:

    Is there any organization for former and (like me) current law enforcement officers that see themselves as citizens first, and question this madness? My agency is hurtling down this path.

  27. Ryan says:

    As a current LEO, I understand the concern most people have. There are always two different reactions to every issue and then a muddled marsh of confused individuals in between. My agency, the largest in this state, just recently received an MRAP and I know for a fact that it didn’t cost us a thing… Except to outfit it with the equipment we already have. We receive items/vehicles like this through a military program and get equipment that otherwise would sit in a bone yard somewhere. This stuff is perfectly good, but due to downsizing of the military (which I disagree with), budget cuts, and the closing of military campaigns, why let perfectly good (and expensive) equipment sit in a field and rot??? Makes no sense especially after it has been paid for by tax-payers. There are several different roads we could take from here regarding irresponsible government spending, but most… Yes MOST… Law enforcement agencies have no expectation to use this equipment to enforce “unconstitutional laws” nor to create a military state or martial law… In fact, it helps the citizens to prevent an occupation by OUR OWN government and military. There are several reasons to have this equipment and what I recommend is to become involved with the local LE agencies and see what they do for the community. People are always resistant to change and afraid of the unknown… So go ask the agencies questions!!! We are here for you, ESP the Sheriffs, who are elected by the people!!!! What better protection. With modernization of technology and the criminal element, the police need to be better prepared. Just my two cents and I’m sure several people will disagree, but I say go arm yourself, because I believe in the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment! God Bless America!

  28. Robert says:

    Tom is dead on. Anybody who thinks “it can’t happen in my community” should think otherwise:

    On this map there is one incident reported in my relatively small community of <50,000 population. Two more within the past five years (that I know of) are not shown. Every day across the country there are more of these FUBAR-ed raids, and that doesn't count the over-reacting cop in routine situations. I'm not anti-cop and not prone to conspiracy theory gibberish, but we are witnessing too many cops and LE agencies out of control, and it is not only becoming institutionalized, it is institutionalized. The response is always "he followed training and department protocols." Who is approving and overseeing the training and department protocols?

  29. Scott says:

    I sry this is a load of BS! I have this crap for 20 years now! Why do the cops need more than a revolver? Why do they need a shotgun? Why do cops need new cars? Some of you would have our LEOs armed with slingshots and driving a scooter instead of having up to date weapons and vehicles we can rely on! It doesn’t matter what SWAT wears because citizens will complain about it. Tell why everyone can own an AR15 fir self defense but God help us if a cop has one in their patrol unit for their defense and the defense of the citizens they protect. Armored vehicles? Law Enforcement agencies have had them since WWII! LEO’s have had milspec weapons since the days of the Pretorian Guard!!!! We’ve had almost 30 of our brothers and sisters killed in 3 months of 2014 already and you still begrudge us the time and monies to properly train to defend you and ourselves from the increased threats on the streets of our communities. Threats citizens choose to ignore but we die from. Threats that you are too spoiled and too busy to recognize but still have to deal with. Wake up people! Utah and Idaho are in for a rude awakening soon. Mexican drug cartels are becoming bigger and more violent in rural America and you complain that LEOs aren’t PC enough…….. Thanks for the support folks………

    • BWells says:

      This is the US. There is no Pretorian Gaurd. We were designed to be different. Government of and BY the people. YOU as a LEO are Government. Federal, State of Local. When there is no defining line then you are no different.

      My advice is as local law enforcement is you seperate yourselves from those who give you a bad name or you will be held just as accountable when a time or reckoning comes.

      As a local official I would do all I could to reign in the tyrannical and replace them with people smart and willing enough to deal with each threat (ie person) with the appropriate level of force. Does that sound familiar? What happened to the Force Continuim I was taught about at the academy?

      • james says:

        well sir I do support my LEO’s however that does not mean I trust them all! last night on the news they had a call to potential suicide one hour after responding they ended up killing the man! some one didn’t do their job right! the swat team rushed instead of taking their time!

    • Johnny Montana says:

      Scott – It is precisely your “us versus them” attitude that makes the militarization of law enforcement so dangerous to the law abiding general public. If you don’t like the “crap” go get a job a McDonalds where you belong! Giving you anything more than a slingshot and a scooter for ANY LEO functions would be grounds for dismissal of your entire chain of command. As a public servant YOU had better get a grip upon the concept that you are employed to SERVE AND PROTECT! When you or your department become more concerned with concepts of militarized “revenue generation”, it is YOU and your department that are far worse than the criminal element you are tasked with protecting us from.

      Even asking the question “why everyone can own an AR-15” says you should NOT EVER be in law enforcement. I would never begrudge any LEO having an AR-15 “at the ready” should it be needed. That however, is a far cry from a short barreled select fire M4 that most LEO’s utilize today. Your assertion that LEO’s have had “Mil-spec” weapons and armored vehicles since WWII is pure BUNK! I remember in the early 80’s having an S&W Model 59 with 15 rounds of 9mm that was the envy of every LEO that was still carrying a .357 revolver. While it is true that most every department had a Thompson or two, perhaps even a few Ruger 556’s or other assorted military grade weapons, those were ALWAYS kept under lock and key back at the station, they most certainly were NOT carried by LEO’s in their day to day jobs. It was even rare for the LARGE urban cities to have armored vehicles. LAPD SWAT pioneered the use of Light Armored Vehicles, more often than not on TV or the movies. It was not until well AFTER the 1997 B of A robbery in North Hollywood California that LEO’s even started carrying AR-15’s in their vehicles along with that shotgun. That YOU feel that LEO’s should be somehow entitled to have far “superior firepower” than the average citizen is in stark contrast with the foundations that this country was built. It will also be your downfall. When the citizens of this nation have had enough (and that day is fast approaching), it will be the local LEO’s that will bear the brunt of their anger. The SMARTEST thing LEO’s can do is to simply refuse to carry of utilize ANY weapon, or high capacity magazines, that law abiding citizens can’t legally own.

      I have the utmost respect for those officers that put their lives at risk every day to keep their community safe. That said; this is EXACTLY what they are being paid to do and is part of the JOB. The unmitigated gall you have bringing up the loss of 30 of your “brothers and sisters” shows the degree of “entitled elitism” affecting the LEO community! HOW MANY hundreds of law abiding citizens have perished at the hands of criminals and police in that same period of time. The day you tell me that YOUR safety is somehow so much more important than mine, my families, or my neighbors safety is the day YOU deserve to join the ranks of your fallen “brothers and sisters”! I understand that Police work is dangerous and LEO’s face far more dangers today than they did years ago, but that is STILL THE NATURE OF THE JOB!

      I am one individual, who is NOT too spoiled, lazy or busy to ignore threats to my family. I am well armed, and very well trained (military service) and quite frankly, my first impressions of your “whining” was one of seeing a few local LEO’s (like YOU) as being a far greater threat to my families safety than any Mexican Drug Cartel. People ARE ALREADY AWAKE! What escapes you is that in militarizing, it is now local law enforcement departments that are really the ones becoming a “bigger and more violent” force in rural America. You are the one that should WAKE UP! Are you going to be part of the solution, or part of the PROBLEM?

  30. Mike says:

    Modern policing was developed as a response to escalating inner city crime in the early 1800′s. Para-military management & uniforms have been the norm since the beginning of police forces. Arguments about the “militarization” of LEOs have also been around since the beginning. That should not be shocking as this is where the origins for the modern police force lie. There are both good and bad points in this piece.

    Wasting money on military equipment by the Feds then using the local LE agencies for disposing of the equipment when it is still useful to the military is indeed stupid.

    Arming many federal agencies that do not have a traditional LE reason to exist is stupid.

    LE at any level kicking in doors at the wrong locations is not only stupid it is tragic.


    Dressing officers in polyester uniforms designed for Sheriff Taylor in Mayberry or an office environment is stupid. Military officers had neck ties as part of their battle uniforms, but common sense and tactics have changed that. Multi-cam may nor be necessary, but a modern BDU style uniform – regardless of color – offers more utility, comfort and safety than what most officers are required to wear to look “professional”; neck-ties, pinned-on brass, concealed body armor.

    Expecting officers to ride toward an active shooter in an unarmored Crown Vic is stupid. No one is going to shoot a RPG at them but the vehicles should be armored enough to withstand a rifle shot.

    Expecting LEOs to operate like Sheriff Taylor is stupid. Bad guys tend to be way more aggressive today than in the past, should the tactics that LEOs use remain grounded in the 1950′s rural experiences?

    Mini 14s and AR15 are basically the same other than a pistol grip. Most agencies do not deploy fully automatic M-4s – and should not to the rank and file (military doesn’t either).

    The so-called militarization of police and tragic, stupid & extreme examples of police misconduct do not belong in the same opinion piece. Pooling these two separate issues is the type of journalism I expect from anti-gunners.

    Getting our officers out there and in contact with the public is a great idea. The original concept of Community Oriented Policing was developed to reverse the trend of “militarized” and corrupt policing prior to the 1970′s. Guess what – its costs more in time and money to do this. Cops on foot patrol can take longer to respond to a call and can cover less area than a cop in a car. Doing more with less is always the way things turn out in the long run. More calls, faster responses seem to win out over more Officer Friendlys walking a beat every time.

    As far as people who complain that our LEOs look like soldiers and saying that is a bad thing – isn’t that the same argument anti-gunners have against modern sporting rifles; that they look scary?

  31. Bee says:

    32 years as a State Trooper, I never saw the need for such equipment even at hostage situations. This started before “homeland unsecurity”, but has escalated greatly since. This is for the anticipated marshal law declaration to confiscate all privately held firearms by our “protectors”. This can not be denied with the Connecticut State Police calling a citizen “unAmerican” and saying by Lt. Vance that he was her “master”. This is the behavior of too many LOs today. I worry.

  32. Danny says:

    Do you think it may be a result of the militarization of our country after years of warfare? I look around and see CCW and NRA instructors wearing their “uniforms” of khaki cargo pants and black polos. Security guards in black BDUs, Almost everyone in some form of military surplus. Even toddlers in camo diapers.

    When I was on the job, our dress styles mimicked the public style. Longish hair, turtlenecks instead of ties, etc. (Yea, I’m that old). Now try to find a cop with anything more than a high and tight Marine Corps buzz and un-ironed, un-shined gear normally seen on combat troops in the war zones.

    I agree it’s a dangerous trend and serves to widen the gap between law enforcement and the public. But I don’t see it as some menacing form of police takeover or abuse of powers.

  33. Joe says:

    Don’t misunderstand me. I do not believe anyone’s right to self defense can rightfully be limited. A few points I see as critical:

    First, there is no difference between their right to defense and my own. A citizen has the same rights to any resources, including weapons, they have. You can’t have different equipment than what I am allowed. We should both be allowed to have whatever we can afford.

    Second, speaking if what we can afford, the citizens have ultimate say over what expenditures will be allowed with their money. You can’t take my money and buy weapons I don’t approve.

  34. bob says:

    Take a look around, the “communities” you reference don’t look like the communities of 40 years ago. Long gone are predominantly law abiding citizens in their brick rancher neighborhoods. Today’s “communities” are full of generations of families provided for by the government, many of whom are involved in illegal activity who will stop at nothing regardless of whether you are wearing a uniform or not. Think about it. Suppose all grocery stores within an hour of you were empty for 1 month. The ensuing chaos would make the Rodney King riots of 15 years ago look like kids playing in the park. I totally agree on the saving of tax dollars – I think you need a second look on how threats have changed.

  35. Scott says:

    We use empathy with the public because we work for crap pay, see the worst our “fellow citizens” do to each other and then get treated like crap by them! When was the last time you or your families lives were threatened because you were a plumber or electrician??? When was the last time you were in harms way? I served my country in the military for 27 years and then became a LEO. Fighting on the battlefield is a hell of a lot easier than dealing with the back biting politicians and spoiled ignorant public. At least you know where you stand with the criminals…..

    • BWells says:

      Just as I did, every officer has the choice to make. I left after the “crap pay” was more than me and my family were willing to accept. I don’t say all, but many. if not most, LEO’s enjoy that most of the time there is nothing to do and it is an easy local job with free coffee and they get to carry a gun on their hip. I feel this is one of the reasons you see such a backlash from some LEO about open carry laws. The thought that the average person can carry a gun and take some of the mystiic aura away from the LEO is too much to bear.

      The reason I get so much backlash for my posts is that they hit too close to home for many LEO that say I cross the “thin blue line”. The only line I am worried about is the one between right and wrong. I know how to deal with outraged citizens, or ignorant as some would descibe those of us PAYING YOUR FREAKING SALARY!

      If you hate being a LEO so much and feel so unfairly treated do as I did and go out into the private sector and get a good job making good pay with great benefits. Who is the dummy now?

      Protect and SERVE! Not assault and condemn!

  36. Scott says:

    Outstanding!!! Spot on Sir!!! A lot of this ignorance by the public could be solved by both sides staying informed. Citizens need to interact and stay informed about their local agencies. As a vet and an LEO Intook an oath to protect our country and communities, but I can’t do it having to look over my backk all the time because the public has become so PC they can’t leave the house!

  37. BWells says:

    This is directly from the National Institute for Justice website.

    I encourage anyone to explain where the MRAP or other militarized item fits within this recognised approach to threat managment.

    The Use-of-Force Continuum
    Most law enforcement agencies have policies that guide their use of force. These policies describe a escalating series of actions an officer may take to resolve a situation. This continuum generally has many levels, and officers are instructed to respond with a level of force appropriate to the situation at hand, acknowledging that the officer may move from one part of the continuum to another in a matter of seconds.

    An example of a use-of-force continuum follows:

    •Officer Presence — No force is used. Considered the best way to resolve a situation.
    ◦The mere presence of a law enforcement officer works to deter crime or diffuse a situation.
    ◦Officers’ attitudes are professional and nonthreatening.
    •Verbalization — Force is not-physical.
    ◦Officers issue calm, nonthreatening commands, such as “Let me see your identification and registration.”
    ◦Officers may increase their volume and shorten commands in an attempt to gain compliance. Short commands might include “Stop,” or “Don’t move.”
    •Empty-Hand Control — Officers use bodily force to gain control of a situation.
    ◦Soft technique. Officers use grabs, holds and joint locks to restrain an individual.
    ◦Hard technique. Officers use punches and kicks to restrain an individual.
    •Less-Lethal Methods — Officers use less-lethal technologies to gain control of a situation.
    (See Deciding When and How to Use Less-Lethal Devices. )
    ◦Blunt impact. Officers may use a baton or projectile to immobilize a combative person.
    ◦Chemical. Officers may use chemical sprays or projectiles embedded with chemicals to restrain an individual (e.g., pepper spray).
    ◦Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs). Officers may use CEDs to immobilize an individual. CEDs discharge a high-voltage, low-amperage jolt of electricity at a distance.
    •Lethal Force — Officers use lethal weapons to gain control of a situation. Should only be used if a suspect poses a serious threat to the officer or another individual.
    ◦Officers use deadly weapons such as firearms to stop an individual’s actions.

  38. Bill says:

    This article blew this topic way out of proportion as it relates to specialized equipment. Regular patrol officers, the ones you and I are most likely to have any contact with, are not militarizing. Yes, many police departments are gearing up. However, they are not using this gear for routine police work. You aren’t going to be stopped for a traffic infraction by an MRAP. The NYPD got a couple old APC’s decades ago. They very rarely ever make an appearance. This gear is for special, high-risk situations. The post-9/11 world we live in needs people with specialized training and equipment that can respond as quickly as possible. Another poster said that’s what the National Guard is for. Does anybody realize how long it takes to mobilize a Guard unit? Simple answer: too long. While this specialized equipment should not be used routinely, it should be available (and trained with) for when it is needed.

    • alexander says:

      Bill, even if what you said were to be 100% true and correct, seing what is going on in the country and seeing how the government is behaving, don’t you think that the tenuous benefits are far outweighted by the risks?

    • BWells says:


      When rural and suburban police departments all of a sudden find themselves in possession of hardware they have only ever seen in movies used in a battlefield scenario they want to use it. When the hardware comes out the cameras turn on and the local legend is born. Five minutes of fame at the expense of losing Liberty is not worth it.

      Yes, most officers are good citizens doing a thoughtless job in most cases. However, as they are promoted through the ranks of small departments the begin to fall prey to the same failure mechanisms the befall most politicians. Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely.

      • Bill says:

        Granted, there are probably many departments that because of size and location should not have this kind of equipment. It should be kept by special units such as SWAT and used in very limited circumstances. Perhaps smaller departments should contract with a nearby larger department to handle certain hazardous situations. The article did not specify large or small, rural or urban, but instead painted all law enforcement with the same brush. The need is there for law enforcement to have these tools. Anyone who believes large-scale terror and/or criminal incidents can’t happen here are grossly naive. Make no mistake; while rare, comabt-type situations do occur here, and the enemy is getting better armed all the time. We wouldn’t send our soldiers up against such threats without this equipment so we shouldn’t ask police officers (many of whom served in the military) to do it without the proper gear either.

        • Bwells says:

          Although the article did not specify the responses here and in other places are examples that it is happening. If one would consider the vast number of small department s versus the number of large agencies one would begin to realize the gravity of the situation. If it were only large departments with limited use highly specialized units in high risk areas it would not be as big of an issue. However that is not the case.

          Judging for your resistance to accept this is a disturbing trend indicates you are part of the problem. I pray you wake up and see the error of your ways before it is too late for you. You will be held accountable.

          • WILLIAM BOLLS says:

            I totally agree with Tom. The local law enforcement absolutely do not need the same weapons as a standing army or a paramilitary group. And not all law enforcement officers are saints either as some of the fellas that posted seem to claim. UI have seen officers lie on the witness stand and lie on police reports and abuse their authority and act like a jackass and be totally disrespectful which they have no right to do. ,After all,they work for the public or are suppose to. Not all officers act in this manner but as time go on more and more do so the last gd thing they need is more power. Remember Ruby Ridge Idaho? Remember Waco? I could go on and on but if you in law enforcement do not remember that I sure as hell do and remind everyone I come in contact with and tell them to be ever vigilant!

  39. Bwells says:

    I would add that although many Leo May serve the simple fact remains the LEO are NOT soldiers. If seen as such they would meet the very standard set forth by the forefathers for the tyrannical British RedCoats and be subject to the same disposition.

    As these officers live in the communities they are serving I do not think it will be long before they would be forced by the population to se the error of their ways or suffer the consequences. Remember, all is fair in love and war.

    • Bill says:

      I’m curious. If a group, be it a terrorist organization, organized crime, or a street gang, were involved in an incident, and said group was armed with AK’s and maybe even RPG’s, who do you say should respond? And what equipment should they respond with?

      • Bwells says:

        In a community of 3000 people in a county of 40000, why? The grants are wide open and lil kids are getting big toys. The older guys are for the most part cool with it, but the new breed are like hell yeah let’s bust some heads. Like everything else look at 5 10 years into the future and tell me what it could look like. These kids with the keys to the MRAP (being used as a metaphor, look it up) crashing into the unruly populations homes and peaceful demonstrations as is seen in the European countries when things go against how the ruling party see fit.

  40. Dave K says:

    So, you’re gonna use all the latest techno gear against the drug-crazed wackos and the cartels in the streets, right? Well, do me a favor first, please; when those MRAPS return home from Afghanistan, make sure all of the heroin is removed from the chassis before you outfit the thing for urban combat. After all, the wackos have to be as high and jacked up as possible before you zero in…right? Thanks.

  41. Rob says:

    LE agencies don’t pay for gov surplus vehicles. Our agency got an MRAP because the city council thought the free MRAP was better than a $200k BearCat, though the BearCat would have fit our needs much better. It is also cheaper for the Feds to pass this equipment on to local agencies than to pay for the upkeep themselves. Our neighboring agencies armored vehicle saved the lives of several officers when they came under fire from a crazed gunman threatening the neighborhood. The MRAP is overkill, but it stops bullets and it’s free.

    As for cops not needing M4s – most of us carry AR15s just like any other citizen, and I had to buy it out of my own pocket. What kind of cop do you want showing up when some nut is shooting up your kids school? You want the social worker cop with a dress uniform and a smile, or do you want someone who is trained and equipped to engage the bad guy before he kills more kids.

    The “militarization of police” is a load of BS. LE has evolved just like any other profession. Cops are members of the community just like everyone else and we care deeply about protecting the freedoms we enjoy in this country. If there is someone to watch, it’s the politicians. They are the ones who are stripping us of our liberty – not your local police officer.

    • Bwells says:

      It has been paid for by the taxes of everyone. Nothing is free. There are strings attached . If you choose to use it in the wrong manner, we will hold you accountable. Judges can’t protect you all the time.

    • alexander says:

      So, Rob, please tell us how many nuts cases have LEo’s stopped who were shooting up kids in schools, presumably with AR’s and AK’s?

  42. Dan Hoffman says:

    Getlemen I have been a LEO and a cheif LEo for several years. It seems many of the new oficers we get are disappointed because we only have shotguns and S&W MP 40′s as weapons. We have never needed more but maybe other departments do need more if they are involved with armed drug cartels or terrorists. I can’t speak for them but I notice a growing trend for new officers to really pursue new and more destructinve weapons. I don’t want to hear it is because of their military back -round as some of the greatest demands come from those whe were not in the military. It seems like boys want their toys or they live in fear everyday because the career they have chosen was one they really should not have.

  43. OFBG says:

    I believe that the real concern is not the acquistion of “military grade” weaponry itself, but how this contributes to the “militarization” of the law-enforcement mindset. I can understand the desirablity of an armored vehicle, even if the need for one is rare; the problem is, as goes the old saw, if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Before the past couple decades very few police or sherff’s departments had SWAT teams because they rarely, if ever, neede special weapons and tactics.After everyone decided that even the criminals in Mayberry posed a significant threat, (and the Federal government surplused M-16s, etc. to departments that wanted them) everyone got a SWAT team. The only problem was that most of these are discrete units, not just patrol officers with more training who could be called on when warranted by a situation. You can’t just have them sit around until a crisis arises, so what do you do with them? You send them out to do the work of regular patrol officers, like serving warrants on non-violent suspects. The trouble is, once the SWAT team arrives it immediately ups the ante, and some otherwise routine calls become crises that end badly, and as it is in my town, the manufactured crisis is used as justification for sending out the SWAT unit in the first place.

  44. james says:

    I Want to know why a motorcycle police officer needs an m16 mounted on his motorcycle! I have a mixed bag when it comes to lEO;s I have encountered some that are the salt of the earth and deserve the response of all but on the other side I have dealt with some who lie cheat and disrespect the people they are here to protect! along with break the law to try to get it done their way! I have had my vehicle searched with out permission or probable cause! cost me time and money to defend myself when I didn’t do anything wrong! then have them lie in court about what happened! I had witnesses to prove /I had not broken the law they said I did! three days in court and a 300 mile round trip each time to make the court appearances. not to mention the cost of a lawyer! which you should never go to court with out! because cops lie and judges let them!

  45. Koko says:

    Food for thought, and the beat goes on. The society that spawned “Give me liberty, or give me death” had no welfare rolls.

  46. Stan j says:

    I was one of those citizens who sported a bumper stick supporting our local police for many years but it appears that we taxpayers cannot continue bearing the inflated expense. Besides, where is the defining line drawn between peace officer and soldier?

    • dave says:

      By joining the military you take an oath that officially sets you apart from a citizen, your citizenship status changes and your civil rights are no longer determined by the constitution, but by the UCMJ. That is where the line, and the only line is. No law enforcement officer is any different than any other US citizen, and any law, code, or protocol that states otherwise in in conflict with our constitutional standard. It’s incredibly simple.

  47. lanceb says:

    If police become militarized, what would be the point of national guard? It would slowly lose its relevance over time.

  48. Alexander says:

    Michael, the fact is that high power semi automatic rifles, AK, SKS and AR’s are very rarely used by criminals. In a 30 year period that you described, you referred to two (2!) occurrences. And how many criminals have you ever seen using APC’s and MRAP’s, besides those with badges? If there is one justified case somewhere, compare it to dozens of cases of using these tactics simply to terrorize citizens.

  49. Art Cannon says:

    About 10 years back, I was asked to participate in a Career day at a local Junior High School. The Fire and Police Departments were there, as were many businesses. The Fire Trucks and Harleys attracted a lot of traffic from the students.

    At one of the tables was a gentleman who was about my size (5′ 7″). He was by himself, looking kind of lonely, low table traffic. I became interested because he had a couple of weapons displayed. Being a shooter, I decided to go over and introduce myself. Turns out he was with the local office of the FBI. I introduced myself and handed him a business card. I asked if I could pick up the rifle. Both the rifle and pistol were unloaded. He told me that he would not let the students pick up either weapon, but that I could.

    That rifle was the sweetest balanced weapon that I’ve ever held. I asked if it was semi-automatic. He informed me that it was fully automatic, selectable. It also had the first holographic sight that I’d ever seen. He had to turn it on for me. I’m telling you that if I had been in that Junior High School, I would have wanted to join the FBI based on that one meeting. He was a good person, low keyed.

    I asked him why, fully automatic. He inquired if I had seen the following bank robbery on the news:

    Watch the video and then look at the pictures. There was a bank robbery in Plano, Texas (November 4th, 2004). After this robbery, the local FBI office upgraded their weapons the following week. I would have upgraded mine.

    More recently, about 9 miles from my house, this took place:

    The suspect had murdered a prison chief in Colorado and shot an officer in Texas, after a traffic stop. The young officer recovered, thankfully.

    I’ve had officers draw their weapons on me, more than once. In all cases they exercised amazing restraint. Once, back in the early 70′s, a friend and I fit the descriptions of two prisoners that had broken out of jail and killed a Pennsylvania State Trooper. I had more pistols and shotguns pointed at me than I care to remember. And yes, I raised my hands, closed my eyes, prepared to meet my maker and screamed like a little girl: “I didn’t do it.”, whatever “it” was. I’m sure that the sheriff’s, local police and state police had heard that line once or twice before.

    I’ve never been in law enforcement. I hope that I never need an MRAP to come to my aid. I am a strong believer in the second amendment and practitioner.

    It all boils down to the officer, the person behind the badge and weapon.

    Back in 1962, I can remember taking the bus to school with my friends and our .22′s, leaving them in the cloakroom during class, then walking the mile down the hill to the police station after class. This walk was through downtown and passed in front of the courthouse, with our unloaded weapons, for lessons. The Greensburg Pennsylvania Police Department taught us respect and proper use of the weapons. They also instructed us on the consequences and penalties of misuse of our weapons.

    Things have changed; not always for the better.

    Anyone remember the Clock Tower at the University of Texas in Austin in 1966, when there was a call over the airwaves, radio and TV, for people with high powered hunting rifles to come down to the Campus and help save lives. I do. In 1966, the Austin police were not adequately armed.

    Is an MRAP or APC overkill? I hope that I never have to find out. But if I do, I hope that the people behind the weapons exercise common sense and remember that they are there to serve and protect. I believe the vast majority do remember.

    The pendulum swings. It’s up to us, all of us (civilians and LEO’s), to make sure that it never swings to far in the wrong direction.

  50. Bwells says:

    We all Hope that things will Change. It hasnt worked out too well thus far.

  51. Concerned says:

    You forgot to mention that more and more departments are encrypting their radio communications. Gone are the days of citizens listening to their local police on a scanner to hear what is happening in their own community. Why must police communications be shrouded in secrecy as if they are members of a three-letter federal agency?? We, as citizens, have the obligation to stop this madness now.

    • james says:

      ok im going to side with the cops on this one~ if you encrypt your communitations the bad guys cant hear what you are up to! I knew “in the day” when guys listen to the scanner to tell when the cops were coming to get their stash! so if you are a bad guy you would if you can listen to what they were trying to catch you doing! from my days in the marine corp we had a saying “Charlie is listing” security is important to the mission! so once a gain I will give the cops this one!

    • Mike says:

      Encrypted radio communications:

      Because identity theft is a thing.

      Because bad guys can also listen in.

      There is a lot of “madness” in the world that needs to be stopped, encrypted radio communication by public safety agencies is not one of those things.

  52. Justin P says:

    As far as radio communication encryption goes I am with the cops on this one but… being in the army for many years and using only secured lines of communication during operations, I know for fact that this could be used easily to sodomize the Liberty of free people. Keeping the public in the dark can be dangerous too, perhaps in the long run as much as as not having it would threaten the safety of our law enforcement officers. There is an easy solution to this dilemma though: for opsec when transmitting names our addresses or other sensitive information, the officers can push a button while to “bleep” out those parts. The technology is already there. This way the American public who is listening will know if something is not right with the government if all you hear is silence. Also, scanners give people the ability to know what is happening in their communities day to day and during emergencies. Scanners are just not for nefarious reasons. Scanners and ham radio operators can help the public greatly during emergencies and it doesn’t cost tax payers a dime!


  53. Not Barney Fife says:

    Sad to say, it seems that current “training” is geared toward attempting to escalate any “contact opportunity” INTO AN ARRESTABLE “OFFENSE” ,MOST ESPECIALLY IF THE CONTACTING OFFICERS WERE WRONG IN THE FIRST PLACE. When ordinary people are assailed in their homes by badge wearing thugs in full “ballistic -resistant” gear, the family dog is shot, and the helpless owner, who is proned-out on the floor , with a thugs knee in the back of his neck, gets jeered by same thug ofr not having “restrained” his dog, something is as far out of wack as it can be ( YES, I read such an account on another popular website, They unfortunately have new material nearly daily!) ). It really IS no wonder that ordinary, law abiding citizens ( you know, the ones with no probation officer to use as a job reference?) no longer trust police.

    • Citizen John says:

      Amen !

      • james says:

        I ran into this a couple of years ago with a local sheriff after he stopped me for supposedly trespass (proven incent) I idenitfyed myself as a ccw holder along with the passenger in my truck! I was ask to step out to the rear of my truck since I was not speeding I ask the officer what he stopped me for he said we will get back to that in a min! where was I coming from! I told him a land mark I knew about 4 miles from the turn, about that time another person came up and said the reason I was stopped was I was hunting on his lease! I told him where I had been hunting he said no I had come from another location belonging to some one I know of! I told him no I was hunting on a friend of mines land not theirs! the sheriff ask me if there was any weapons in my truck I told him well since I just told you I was a ccw holder and was armed the answer to that question had to be yes! at which point he proceeded to go open both doors on the drivers side and start to search my truck !” in my state if you identify yourself as a ccw as long as there is no other reason the police cant use safety as a reason to search your vehicle” with out probable cause as neither me nor my passenger drink so no odor of alcohol and no drugs either! they later found my loaded deer rifle in the floor of my truck covered with all kinds of clothes! I later found out that you cant carry a loaded long gun during hunting season! he then called the game warden to write me a ticket for having the long gun loaded! long and short he looked for reason to arrest instead of trying to find out the truth! I am happy to say that leo is no longer working!

    • Pictsweet says:

      Trust and honesty I think is what all this comes down to. Do you trust our laws and law enforcement to be true and honest. (example) I give a late turn signal and I get a ticket. Same officer gives no turn signal right after giving me a ticket nothing happens ( above the law). I go on a trip ( vacation) i am not a credit card user for the most part, so I carry cash a lot more than most people. I get stopped for speeding. Can I search your car? I have nothing to hide so I say sure. Almost $15000.00 in cash found, cash eventually taken under forfeiture laws. You sign this paper giving us the money and you can be on your way. It cost more $$ than that to fight it. Not to mention the time. I don’t know for sure but I guess carrying almost $15000.00 around in a car worth half that doesn’t make sense to some. I like to go to the Casino. I am frugal to say the least. It’s a bad law when it’s abused. Which makes a good LEO bad. Power can corrupt almost anyone to a certain degree. When we see and know our officers are breaking the law no mater how small and nothing happens what kind of message are they sending. Where is the good example. LEO’s are like the rest of us they have good days and bad they are not perfect but they have to be better, more honest, more trustworthy than anyone but your Pastor or gradualy all trust is lost. When our law enforcement loses our confidence we all lose. I was raised to respect these people and it only takes one or two times to lose that respect and support for all. When you are a cop just doing your job isn’t good enough. If that is your attitude find another job.

      • james says:

        im sorry sir Pictsweet but I got a $190 dollar ticket for carrying a loaded long gun during hunting season that was found in an illegal search I spent 3 times that much just in gas to go back and forth to fight the thing not to mention legal fees! I fought it on the matter of principal! you let the leo’s take advantage of their power because they can! no short cuts for cops! I make them do their jobs right! if they have want to search my vehicle I require them to get a search warrant! period! if they cant then let me go! this is how do it correctly! they are trained to ask you to give up your rights in a way that you don’t know you are! After being ask to let them search and denied them the privilege I have been ask what you got to hide trying to get me to let them search! I tell them nothing just not letting you take a short cut to doing your job! I tell them I will happily let them search as soon as they get a warrant and will even wait patiently while they get one!

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