War is evolving. See previous comments. But so is law enforcement. And cops need to chagne to adapt to the changing threat. But the people here at the Daily Beast
don't seem to like that.
Local Cops Ready for War With Homeland Security-Funded Military Weapons
A decade of billions in spending in the name of homeland security has armed local police departments with military-style equipment and a new commando mentality. But has it gone too far?
by Andrew Becker , G. W. Schulz | December 21, 2011 4:45 AM EST
Nestled amid plains so flat the locals joke you can watch your dog run away for miles, Fargo treasures its placid lifestyle, seldom pierced by the mayhem and violence common in other urban communities. North Dakota’s largest city has averaged fewer than two homicides a year since 2005, and there’s not been a single international terrorism prosecution in the last decade.
But that hasn’t stopped authorities in Fargo and its surrounding county from going on an $8 million buying spree to arm police officers with the sort of gear once reserved only for soldiers fighting foreign wars.
Every city squad car is equipped today with a military-style assault rifle, and officers can don Kevlar helmets able to withstand incoming fire from battlefield-grade ammunition. And for that epic confrontation—if it ever occurs—officers can now summon a new $256,643 armored truck, complete with a rotating turret. For now, though, the menacing truck is used mostly for training and appearances at the annual city picnic, where it’s been parked near the children’s bounce house.
By military-style assult rifles you likely mean a varaint of the AR-15 which is a non-automatic firing version of the M-16. Sorry but it's not an assault-rifle
. From the Encyclopedia Britannica definition
assault rifle, military firearm that is chambered for ammunition of reduced size or propellant charge and that has the capacity to switch between semiautomatic and fully automatic fire...
It's a semi-automatic firing rifle. Simliar to the Ruger Mini-14 I carried on duty for almost ten years. Only the Ruger doesn't look evil.
...Like Fargo, thousands of other local police departments nationwide have been amassing stockpiles of military-style equipment in the name of homeland security, aided by more than $34 billion in federal grants since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a Daily Beast investigation conducted by the Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
Interactive Map: States Spend Billions on Homeland Security
The buying spree has transformed local police departments into small, army-like forces, and put intimidating equipment into the hands of civilian officers. And that is raising questions about whether the strategy has gone too far, creating a culture and capability that jeopardizes public safety and civil rights while creating an expensive false sense of security.
...Local police bristle at the suggestion that they’ve become “militarized,” arguing the upgrade in firepower and other equipment is necessary to combat criminals with more lethal capabilities. They point to the 1997 Los Angeles-area bank robbers who pinned police for hours with assault weapons, the gun-wielding student who perpetrated the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, and the terrorists who waged a bloody rampage in Mumbai, India, that left 164 people dead and 300 wounded in 2008.
...Adds Fargo Police Lt. Ross Renner, who commands the regional SWAT team: “It’s foolish to not be cognizant of the threats out there, whether it’s New York, Los Angeles, or Fargo. Our residents have the right to be protected. We don’t have everyday threats here when it comes to terrorism, but we are asked to be prepared.”
The skepticism about the Homeland spending spree is less severe for Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and New York, which are presumed to be likelier targets. But questions persist about whether money was handed out elsewhere with any regard for risk assessment or need. And the gap in accounting for the decade-long spending spree is undeniable. The U.S. Homeland Security Department says it doesn’t closely track what’s been bought with its tax dollars or how the equipment is used. State and local governments don’t maintain uniform records either.
A government bureaucracy spending money without taking in actual need. Who would have ever though they would see that in DC.
...To assess the changes in law enforcement for The Daily Beast, the Center for Investigative Reporting conducted interviews and reviewed grant spending records obtained through open records requests in 41 states. The probe found stockpiles of weaponry and military-style protective equipment worthy of a defense contractor’s sales catalog.
Yes, used for observation
In Montgomery County, Texas, the sheriff’s department owns a $300,000 pilotless surveillance drone, like those used to hunt down al Qaeda terrorists in the remote tribal regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
(e.g. SWAT situation) when you need a something overhead for a while. With a lot less cost than a manned helicopter.
...The flood of money opened to local police after 9/11, but slowed slightly in recent years. Still, the Department of Homeland Security awarded more than $2 billion in grants to local police in 2011, and President Obama’s 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contributed an additional half-billion dollars.
Anothe shovel ready job...thanks Barrack.
Law enforcement officials say the armored vehicles, assault weapons, and combat uniforms used by their officers provide a public safety benefit beyond their advertised capabilities, creating a sort of “shock and awe” experience they hope will encourage suspects to surrender more quickly.
“The only time I hear the complaint of ‘God, you guys look scary’ is if the incident turns out to be nothing,” says West Hartford, Conn., Police Lt. Jeremy Clark, who organizes an annual SWAT competition...“Luck is not for cops. Luck is for drunks and fools,” Clark said, explaining his devotion to training.
And to borrow a phrase from my army days, hope is not a plan. As far as being scary it's called overwhelming the target. He doesn't know what hits him until after he's in cuffs. That way he can't shot a cop. Do you get the concept now.
...Many of America’s newly armed officers are ex-military veterans from the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan. Charles Ramsey, who was police chief in Washington, D.C., on 9/11, upgraded the weaponry when he moved to Philadelphia in 2008. Today, some 1,500 Philly beat cops are trained to use AR-15 assault rifles.
“We have a lot of people here, like most departments, who are ex-military,” Ramsey says. “Some people are very much into guns and so forth. So it wasn’t hard to find volunteers.”
One, see my comments on assault rifles. And two, is there a problem with a vet of the recent wars being in law enforcment?
Now this is an intersting input to this story.
“With local law enforcement, their mission is to solve crimes after they’ve happened, and to ensure that people’s constitutional rights are protected in the process,” says Jesselyn McCurdy, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “The military obviously has a mission where they are fighting an enemy. When you use military tactics in the context of law enforcement, the missions don’t match, and that’s when you see trouble with the overmilitarization of police.”
As usual from the American Criminal Lovers Union, wrong. The duty of law enforcement is to deter crime from happening and should deterrance fail, then solve it for prosecution.
Interesting end I gotta say.
...Back in Fargo, nearby corn and soybean farmer Tim Kozojed supports the local police but questions whether the Homeland grants have been spent wisely. ”I’m very reluctant to get anxious about a terrorist attack in North Dakota,” Kozojed, 31, said. “Why would they bother?”
Why would two loner high school kids go after fellow students and shoot up the place? Why would a maniac place a rented truck in a federal building in Oklahoma and kill over one-hundred people? Why would a deranged army doctor scream "Allah Akbar" while shooting up injured soldiers at Fort Hood? Crime is changing. A few generations ago the St Valentine's Massacre made national news when 7 gang members were killed in a Chicago garage. More people than that get killed over a weekend in many city cities now. And police have to be prepared for the worse.
I wonder if these morons and The Daily Beast/Newsweek would be nice enough to look into the waste at school lunch programs like they do with this. Or is that too much to ask?