“I don’t think Oklahomans as a whole are going to relish the day when their neighborhood is full of official police-package insurance department police cars as they’re executing an arrest on a guy who did a fraudulent insurance claim.” – Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, chairman of the Oklahoma House Government Modernization Committee, quoted in Okla. agency spends $180K on guns, police vehicles [via sfgate.com]

12 Responses to Quote of the Day: Police Militarization Continues Apace Edition

  1. Too many wannabe tacticools out there.

    But the good Representative needs to learn how to dress for an official photo. And he needs to take that shirt and immediately burn it.

  2. The QOTD is a little confusing. I read the linked article. Some “police cars” with weapons and gear were purchased by the Oklahoma Insurance Department. There was a reference, in justification of the purchase, to a couple of fraud investigators who were shot by a suspended insurance agent. Jason Murphey is critical of the insurance department becoming increasingly armed.

    I understand not wanting to get shot, or have my employees get shot, and therefore I understand the resulting arms purchase. However, the insurance employees are entering someone else’s property, regardless of who tells them they get to do so; it’s not the home owner. The escalation of violence is not good. I understand that “white collar” crime is also not good, and usually involves dishonesty, but there are a number of ways to avoid the mis-allocation of large sums of money. Such crimes will probably always happen. I admit I don’t know how I’d handle fraud if I ran an insurance company. I do think that it’s good to be upset at the idea of sending in an armed team to the property of someone who is not trying to shoot anyone. Any shooting can be called “defensive” it it’s indirect enough. I don’t want to make assumptions, but I get the feeling that if someone has guns in the house, especially guns and drugs, any form of violence carried out on him or his family on his property is largely ignored because he’s “that guy”.

    What really gets me though is armed IRS agents.

    • Why… An IRS agent has just as much right to be armed as any other american.

      Besides the IRS goes after some bad dudes. How do you think they catch the mob? Tax evasion a lot of the time.

      • the IRS is illegal and unconstitutional. they shouldnt even exist in the first place.

        they are collectors for the IMF and nobody else.

  3. The absurdity is killing me, they’re out buying cars and shotguns instead of detecting and prosecuting fraud? That money should be spent on legal/accounting sleuths to prosecute and convict the as yet uncharged white collar criminals. AIG gets a taxpayer bail out to the tune of $13+ billion when it defaults on cdss with Goldman Sachs’ fraudulent financial instruments. Goldman gets its $13 billion thanks to TARP. No one in either company gets charged with a crime. Or AIG pockets Oklahoman’s unclaimed life insurance payments and pays a paltry $1.6 million settlement and the insurance dept. knuckleheads spend a tenth of it on toys while not a single big bucks fraudster gets charged or goes to jail. Neither cars nor guns will help in the most important work and crime an insurance department should be pursuing. If there’s a douche in this story, it’s John Doak or the OK Attorney General.

    “Doak also stressed that the expenditures were not from state appropriations, but rather from a revolving fund created by lawmakers two years ago that receives money from fees, fines, penalties and settlements. The account is used to fund the agency’s anti-fraud division and received a huge boost last year when $1.6 million was deposited as a result of Oklahoma’s portion of a multi-state settlement with insurance and financial services company American International Group, or AIG”.

  4. “Insurance Commissioner John Doak defended the purchases, citing a case in Louisiana last year in which two fraud investigators were shot and killed during what should have been a routine trip to collect records from a suspended insurance agent who later shot himself.”

    Based on the sfgate story, Doak is trying to justify the purchase with one case that occurred out of how many millions over how many years? … and some private American citizens along with government officials still wonder why many Americans are concerned about the increasing military-combat focus by our own government onto the American people.

  5. You should only be armed if you are part of an “enFORCEMENT team” all others pose too much of a threat. (Sarcasm). Are insured people and insurance agents now considered terrorists? (Yet more Sarcasm)

  6. So, the bottom line is that BG’s, who are armed and violence-prone, commit insurance fraud, which the State Insurance Department uncovers and sends agents to collect evidence, who are now determined to be in mortal danger from these armed, violent BG’s, so the State I D has made provision to arm their agents to protect themselves.

    Is the real bottom line that today’s society is forcing these agencies to “militarize” so their agents can do their business with a fighting chance of not being killed? Recognizing that the incidence of SID agents encountering armed resistance is statistically small, where is the tipping point between agent safety and public duress over the vastly larger majority of cases where the agent’s duties are executed without danger? There’s no reliable predictor of who would surrender the evidence peaceably or who would try to kill your agents. Although sending armed, armored agents to every enforcement job is, on the face of it, very objectionable overkill, what would we have the agencies involved do? The same would apply if the agencies somehow arranged to have armed regular LEO’s accompany their agents as a “Security Detail”.

    Yep. I am deliberately stirring the pot. It’s easy to decry the “militarization” of various government entities, and I have done so myself, but you have to consider that as our society has become more and more complicated, the gray scale has expanded, but our capacity to deal with that expansion seems stuck in the “it’s black or white” mode, and that is just not working so well anymore. What are the workable alternatives?

    • The 80/20 formula. Focus 80% of your resources on the 20% of your endeavor that constitutes 80% of the total value. Those will all be white-collar criminals (barring the rare drug or mob king-pin) who are all pillars of the community and upstanding, non-violent family men. Prosecute, convict and throw their asses in jail for the extreme damage they do to society.

      The dollar value and impact of individual and violent crime pales in comparison to corporate crime where no individual is held accountable and no one goes to jail. They pay a fine and perhaps a settlement as a cost of doing business and move on to more of the same. This type of crime is more difficult to prosecute and convict because it involves tedious research and preparation. These criminals have money and political connections for defense and never provide distractions like car chases and gun play.

      Insurance investigators with guns means they’ve lost focus of what their work is really about. Anyone who thinks they can drill down in accounting detail while watching their 6 is living in media land. If you need that kind of protection you bring in professional muscle only if and when it’s needed.

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