Why It’s OK to Demilitarize America’s Militarized Police

America doesn’t need thousands of SWAT teams, whose existence guarantees their deployment, whose deployment guarantees wrongful injury and death. We don’t need to equip every major and minor police force across the length and breadth of the county with machine guns, full body armor, “flash bang” grenades and up-armored personnel carriers. This longstanding policy of police militarization isn’t just ineffective and unnecessary it’s dangerous to liberty. We, The People, don’t want to live in a police state. Police militarization enables and yes, creates that police state. The argument for militarized police is simple, emotional and wrong, wrong, wrong . . .

Supposedly, cops need massive firepower to protect themselves from criminals, who have massive firepower. The fact that no American policeman has been machine-gunned to death in decades, the fact that cops have killed citizens with machine guns, doesn’t get a look in. Nor have the po-po faced a coordinated attack from a squadron of bad guys firing assault rifles. Simply put, America’s police are not out-gunned.

Sure, there was the infamous North Hollywood shootout. And yes, there is a legitimate, limited role for a small number of SWAT teams in urban areas. But militarizing the entire U.S. police force to “prepare” for the black swan prospect of heavily-armed bad guys is like equipping every skyscraper in America with anti-aircraft missiles in case terrorists decide to repeat the horror of 9/11. Only worse [see: above].

Supporters of heavily-armed police say this lack of bad guy ballistic overkill proves that the trend is good. Cops need to out-gun the bad guys. All the time. Every time. Cops are, after all, the first responders.

Wrong. We’re the first responders, just as the customers, bank tellers and passersby at the North Hollywood Bank of America were the first responders in that attack. But more importantly, more generally, the “extreme” danger to the police posed by bad guys with guns—which justifies the SWAT-mania—is a fiction. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s mid-year stats on the subject tell the tale:

Traffic-related incidents were the leading cause of officer deaths, with 18 officers killed in the first half of 2013, matching the number of officers killed in the same  period in 2012. Firearms-related fatalities were the second leading cause of death among our  nation’s law enforcement officers in the first half of 2013, dropping 11 percent with 17 fatalities compared to 19 in the same period last year. Ambush attacks were the leading circumstance of fatal shootings, with seven officer fatalities . . .

Firearms-related fatalities peaked in 1973, with 84 officers shot and killed. Since then, the average has  decreased from 62 in the 1970s, to 29 in the 2000s.

The sub-head puts the numbers into perspective: “Firearms-related fatalities decrease to a 57-year low and traffic-related fatalities hit a 34-year low.” For even more perspective, America is currently  home to over 800,000 police officers.

Bottom line: it’s OK to take away the military-style toys and de-commission hundreds if not thousands of SWAT teams. Of course, supporters would claim that the SWAT teams keep police fatalities low. And considering the ongoing threat of terrorism (no longer crazed drug thugs)  it’s better to have militarized police rather than not. But that’s not true.

comments

  1. avatar Rydak says:

    Weak argument. Especially when it comes to body armor. “IF” you were a cop, you would want the best ballistic protection money can buy. And you would turn away an AR-15 (Or like rifle) if issued to you? Even though you yourself own such rifles?…ya..sure.

    1. avatar Chris Mallory says:

      The only argument needed is that the taxpayers should not be paying for this equipment. The citizens should be better armed than the government employees.

      1. avatar Rydak says:

        That’s not an argument , it’s an opinion, and fortunately…its not the majority opinion. Nor does it rational with common sense. If criminals and active shooters are trending towards using rifles, then police need comparable gear to respond to these threats. You expressed an ignorant opinion with not logic or facts behind it…..you sound like Diane Feinstein.

      2. avatar William Burke says:

        +1000

    2. avatar Blehtastic says:

      AR 15s, shotguns, and body armor is a-ok. Armored personnel carriers, automatic weapons and flash bangs are not.

      Busting down a door after hearing gunshots or a cry for help = cops doing their job. No knock raids and knocking down doors over a little weed smell = police state.

      1. avatar NYC2AZ says:

        ^^^^ Seconded

        Especially the last sentence. No knock raids are more of a danger to the average citizen than the danger of knocking is for the average police officer.

      2. avatar handfulofsounds says:

        Just wanted to throw this out there, so, say something horrible happens and there is a case where the US Military is used against its own citizens. I am friends with a few swat team members here in Dallas and they’ve joked with me before about them needing to be outfitted with the cool gear they have just in case Obama ever decides to start using drones against civilians.

        Now, the likelihood of this ever happening is slim to none, but we all use that scenario as one of the many reasons that we should have access to the same type of weapons that the military uses and I’m sure that the swat guys I’m friends with aren’t the only ones that think that way.

        Are there more chances that the police would use or abuse the gear they have than actually have a reason to use it in a serious scenario? Yes, almost guaranteed, but still, it’s one of those things that we could look at as a positive for them having all these awesome toys.

        1. avatar Johnv2 says:

          The military won’t be coming for citizens. Even if we stipulate that someone gets the military to disregard the whole “support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic” the Police will have been neutralized earlier. If LEOs want to tool up against some insurrection against the Constitution, they’ll need to have their own private arms, as the official stuff will have been locked up or otherwise made unavailable by the masterminds of the revolution.

        2. avatar William Burke says:

          Oh, I believe some police units would be used in a gun-confiscation scenario, but the ones who have actually trained for it extensively, on American soil, are Dutch and Russian military units.

        3. avatar SilentSecessionist says:

          Yep.

          In my particular part of SoCal, I’ve had some pleasant talks over drinks with our local “EST” (we dont have “SWAT” by name) and they’ve said the same thing.

          They consider themselves heavily armed civilians, ready to fight off the ATF; NOT heavily armed Gestapo, ready to enfore the will fo the ATF.

          But really it depends on the COP, nothing further.

          My point of view is : YES it should be fine for the police to have APCs and Flash-Bangs. It should be ok for me to have them too. Since it IS, I’m fine with it.

    3. avatar BillF says:

      There could be limits though. My town of 25,000 now has an APC. We’ve had it for a year and it’s been used only once, to my knowledge. It’s only mission so far? A team was dispatched to a residence to make a 2a.m. arrest for an unregistered 9mm handgun. There was no incident, no brandishing or gunshot–just a report of an unregistered handgun. The owner had no other record.

      1. avatar NEIOWA says:

        Been to city counci meeting to “discuss” their popo toy? May have gotten it for free but you maintain and insure it.

        1. avatar Jus Bill says:

          And it costs $$/mile to run. And it deteriorates when it sits, costing even more $$$ to repair.

    4. avatar pwrserge says:

      Depends on the body armor. I can see light weight vests. MOLLE vests with class 4 SAPPI plates? No. Unlike a private citizen, a cop DOES get told what he does and does not NEED. No cop needs gear that makes USMC standard issue look under equipped. If they feel they do, they should see their doctors and get a prescription for a pair of testicles.

      1. avatar Rydak says:

        So when a criminal shoots at a cop with a rifle that will go thru the “light weight” vest like warm butter, the plate carriers are evidence of not having testicles? Seriously?

        1. avatar gs650g says:

          So you would equip them full stop for the significantly small number of times its necessary despite the significantly large number of times the power is abused.

          Ok got it

        2. avatar pwrserge says:

          Yes… You do realize more cops get killed by cars than by guns right? A class IIIa soft vest is sufficient for 99.999% of police situations. You don’t need to run around in a MOLLE studded plate carrier to issue traffic tickets.

          The harm cops do to their image by looking like mall ninja thugs far outweighs the potential of one more cop per year possibly having his vest not stop a round… (How many cops get shot by rifles every year.)

        3. avatar jason says:

          do you know how much it costs to make an interceptor vest in “cop size”? it takes about a yard more material. First get physical fitness training….then back it up with tactical training…..then we will TALK about sexy military equipment. Most cops do not need what I carry at work every day, and never will. period.

        4. avatar Rydak says:

          Jason: “Most cops do not need what I carry at work every day, and never will. period.”

          Yea, and you don’t do the job that cops door have the training or same responsibilities that they do….period.

          Cops dont walk around in that crap every day, they put it on when they hear the call come out for active shooter with a rifle…as well they should. And will continue to do, despite your childish unrealistic complaining. Their lives are worth the effort and the people they are sworn to protect are with the effort.

        5. avatar jason says:

          tell me again about that “sworn duty to protect?”….or does that damn police protection act get in the way. look…professional interservice squabbles aside, you are correct. I do not have the training or “duty” that police do. nor do I want it. what I have a problem with is the militirization of police forces across the country, for no damn reason. there is no need for a police force to commit resources for the problem you describe. call the national guard. I am sure they can bring the firepower if you need it, and they are under STATE CONTROL.

        6. avatar Blue says:

          You are making a separate argument than the one at hand. No one is talking about the patrol cop or detective etc. wearing kevlar etc. We are talking about SWAT etc. forming up in para-military garb to do routine things like serve warrants and check licenses at barber shops or look for some low level fugitive in an apartment complexes and development where better, more legal options exist.

      2. avatar JB says:

        Clearly, you are not a police officer and have absolutely NO idea of the risks faced everyday. You can sit back cozy and safe while spewing your venom thanks to people like me! You’re welcome AH!

        1. avatar William Burke says:

          Oh, please. Spare the melodrama. It’s already established that being a cop is NOWHERE NEAR the most dangerous job. Imagine, for a moment, a garbage man whining about the dangers of his job.

          Sorry, that crap just doesn’t float anymore. Try it somewhere else, Percy.

    5. avatar Dave says:

      What I would love to see from TTAG is the actual changes you want police departments to institute. It is easy to point the finger and tell someone they suck. If you could start all over; how would you equip, train, and employ a police department?

      Who can have SWAT teams and why? Who decides that? What kind of body armor is allowed? What firearms are the police allowed to carry? Maximum caliber? Full metal jacket or hollow point? What about police K-9; what breed of dog should they be using? What should the ratio of officers to the population be? What vehicles can be used? Under what circumstances can the police department request help from outside agencies? Is this decided at the city, county, state, or federal level of government?

      If every citizen should be allowed to have an AR-15 and open carry (I believe they should) shouldn’t the police have the same same right? If not, why?

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        Ok Dave… I’ll give it a go.

        SWAT teams should exist on county levels only. (if that) There is no need to have a podunk police department to roll around with their own squad of mall ninjas.

        Armament is even easier. Semiauto weapons ONLY. No caliber above .308 for rifles and above .44 Mag for pistols. If they are in a situation that need machineguns, they need to pull back and call for the SWAT team. Officers should only cary pistols with shotguns / carbines kept in the trunk for barricaded suspect calls or active shooters.

        Armor is a bit tricky but here is where the function of the Police comes into play. Camo MOLLE vest are right out. You can have plain black tactical or concealed vests, but there is no situation where a cop needs to be in a level 4 tactical assault vest.

        The private citizen SHOULD have more rights to cary than a cop does. Why? A private citizen is held accountable when they do something stupid or when Murphy gets involved. Until cops can prove that they can be trusted with the same level of firepower as private citizens, they should go back to wheel guns and shotguns.

        1. avatar William Burke says:

          +100,000.

        2. avatar Blue says:

          That would be a good set of guidelines.

        3. avatar JB says:

          Pwrsurge You are a whack! It’s the ‘trusted civilians’ that panic the anti gunners. Yes most gun owners are good to go, but I’ve dealt with too many negligent ones in my 17+ years as a cop. They give all gun owners (including me) a bad name. The small numbers of police that screw up should not be an indictment of ALL police in this nation. The argument works both ways. Most of the nations police do the job day in, day out with professionalism & dedication, you and those like you just whine & complain about a few incidents & fan the flames. That’s what libtard anti gunners do. Remember that.

      2. avatar Rydak says:

        Nobody on staff at TTAG is even remotely qualified to even describe what many police agencies experience, let alone what equipment or service tactics or training are needed or used. As always, any idea is a good idea, not matter where is comes from. But to look to this source for critical, experienced and thoughtful advise is like looking to David Jones for moderation on….well, anything. Fargo just lives to cherry pick incidents from the interwebs and Monday morning quarterback them. It;s basically the premise for his entire view point on the issue.

        1. avatar gyrfalcon says:

          “Nobody on staff at TTAG is even remotely qualified to even describe what many police agencies experience, let alone what equipment or service tactics or training are needed or used.”

          Go F yourself…

        2. avatar pwrserge says:

          Please explain what possible police situation would require the use of .50 caliber rifles and automatic weapons… Who are these cops fighting? The last time I checked, the Taliban was still overseas.

        3. avatar Howdy says:

          The American citizenry should and does in many cases decide the budget of local law enforcement. That has a direct impact on policy. I wish people were more interested in the operation of law enforcement. If they were truly interested, I think militarization would be rarer.

        4. avatar NYC2AZ says:

          So, by that reasoning, an Oncologist must have had cancer in order to treat cancer patients? No?

        5. avatar Rydak says:

          NYC2AZ…you sound like Sara Brady.

        6. avatar janklow says:

          hell, if police officers are going to keep calling the areas they patrol “battlefields” and claim they experience the same threads as soldiers in Afghanistan, only with a higher rate of fatalities, then i’m going to have to say police officers aren’t remotely qualified to describe what they experience.

          also, this quote here:
          “I am less worried about police carrying military weapons then police adopting military look, attitudes, and tactics.”
          …pretty much sums it up. i don’t care if you think you need a better vest or an AR-15 in the trunk to patrol your “sector.” i DO care if you think it means you’re in the military and you base your policing accordingly.

        7. avatar Rydak says:

          pwrserge: Haha,you didn’t go there did you? .50 cals? Cause thats such an epidemic. Seriously, lets keep talking about the reason why police don’t need armor to stop rifle bullets…..cause that has so much validity.

        8. avatar NYC2AZ says:

          @Rydak: Ad hominems? Such low standards for a reply. I expect better on this board; this isn’t motherjones after all.

        9. avatar Rydak says:

          Janklow” ” then i’m going to have to say police officers aren’t remotely qualified to describe what they experience.”

          YEA…(Three dots, you know its serious when there are three dots afterward.)

          PS: Who said anything about battlefields? or Afghanistan? I have read every post here, but seriously. what you may have heard of is vets who came back and became police and were shocked at the level of violence, shootings and deaths compared to what they had seen in country.

        10. avatar pwrserge says:

          @Rydak I didn’t say that they didn’t need armor. I said they didn’t need level IV mall ninja gear. Anything more than a concealed level IIIA soft vest should be restricted to SWAT simply because a cop should look like a civilian not a commando.

          Please explain why you need gear designed to stop high power rifle rounds in your day to day tasks? Please explain what possible use cops have for automatic weapons?

        11. avatar Jus Bill says:

          Rydak, have you ever heard of CIVILIAN Review Boards? Now sit back down and keep coloring.

        12. avatar JB says:

          Amen! How about a blue flu nationwide to let these “concerned pacifist citizens” see how thin the blue line really is & THEY can use their mall ninja never been shot at for REAL ‘tactics’ to save themselves from the rampant lawlessness that would ensue. Oh, yea that’s not going to happen since the real police officers of this great nation took an oath that we honor to protect & serve. I’d like to see just one of these cretin TTAG staffers go and become reserves in a major city PD so they can realize how dangerous the job really is….but that’s not going to happen. They just want to rant like libtards about how mean the cops allegedly are.

        13. avatar William Burke says:

          Oh my god. What a drama queen.

        14. avatar JR says:

          Thin blue line, JB?

          As a former LEO, I can undeniably say your reply is full of crap. You are saying non-LEO’s are incapable of defending themselves? Well, that’s true only in places where they choose to obey the morbidly stupid disarmament laws and lack the weapons sufficient to the task.

          Further, as a LEO, I don’t recall ever taking an oath to “protect and serve.” I do recall, numerous times, taking the oath to uphold the Constitution and implicitly the people it represents.

          So, I respectfully request that you disengage the macho horse feces that prompts you to think you are the only one capable of defending citizens against criminal behavior just because you have a little piece of metal pinned to your chest.

          It seems, from comments like these, that the only law you seek to enforce is the law of “Us vs Them.”

          That attitude on display is precisely what gives people a bad taste about cops.

      3. avatar Cliff H says:

        Robert Heinlein – “An armed society is a polite society.” Yes, but ONLY if all sides are equally armed. What incentive is there for a militarized police force to be polite and courteous to the populace they are hired to protect if that populace has no direct and immediate means of ensuring that attitude from their public servants? Protests and petitions and court battles are for after the fact and do little or nothing to rein in a military force on the street that does not expect to meet equal force under most circumstances.

        MOST criminals are petty, low-class losers with over estimated self-esteem who could not mount a planned attack, much less a credible defense, against a strategically superior police force. Why then the need for a fully militarized assault force complete with “weapons of war”? We have seen no evidence, outside of television and movies, of heavily armed terrorist cells inside the U.S.

        Police departments should have JUST ENOUGH training and equipment to meet the types of threats most likely to be faced. Any threat greater than that requires containment until a team of specialists can be dispatched. Seems like this was the original role of SWAT. A policeman, or police force, that is in every and all cases equipped and trained to a military standard has no incentive not to become a gang of bullies and petty tyrants on the streets they patrol. Witness the many videos available on YouTube and elsewhere.

        When on average a “trained” police officer hits the BG he is aiming at only 30% of the time what possible excuse can be given for supplying that man with a fully automatic weapon?

    6. avatar Matt says:

      I agree with you. If I was put in that situation I would want the best equipment possible for the job be it an automatic rifle or a patrol shotgun. For the record, I think the police departments that have crew served machine guns are way over the line but I can understand the want and need for better/cooler equipment. How many of us can honestly say that given the opportunity for cheap, legal military surplus items we would refuse? My take is many of these officers are seeing an opportunity that few have and are seizing it. I know I would want a select fire rifle if I could get my chief/supervisor/whoever to approve it if I was an officer. When else can I ever buy such a rifle at a regular price? However, that does not mean this equipment needs to be taken out at every single opportunity or distributed to all officers. Duty should dictate equipment more than fear/”preparedness”

      Yes I understand the officer wants to live through the day and thus may employ certain pieces of equipment to give them a tactical advantage or have a greater threat of force but it is not necessary in what I would wager is 90% of situations. But how is an officer supposed to know how a given situation will turn out? How does he know he isn’t going to get murdered because of a traffic stop? So why shouldn’t he be armed and armored to the the greatest degree he can be? This is where the rub is for me.

      Tribalism and lack of transparency I think makes it too easy for an officer to put little thought into a decision and the officers that are video taped making egregious mistakes all seem to me to be the typical alpha male, meat head, don’t question my authority types. The real solution is likely to have better screening, better review, and better training on how and when use of different types of force/equipment is appropriate. I believe a police officer should be above reproach and held to a higher standard than the average citizen and from my perspective, that standard seems to be largely lacking.

      Also food for thought for all of you, the same arguments of why do they need that etc etc that are appearing here are remarkably close to the typical anti-gunner arguments we hear all the time. Replace police with civilian in any argument above and the results are basically interchangeable. Is it exactly the same situation? No, but its is close enough to say “Huh”.

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        Three things…

        If you can’t handle a traffic stop without feeling like you need to be kitted out like an 0311 in Iraq, you need to have your testicles surgically reattached. Nobody is saying you don’t need armor. What you don’t need is a mall ninja tacticool level IV vest. You are a cop, not a commando. Learn the difference.

        The firepower discussion is even more succinct. Cops should NEVER have automatic or large caliber weapons. The roles in which they are expected to employ those weapons would lead to an unacceptable risk of collateral damage. Even the military doesn’t just call an airstrike on every single building with insurgents in it. Unlike a civilian a cop is armed with the acknowledgement that they probably WILL use that weapon. Don’t give them a weapon that’s not designed for their roles.

        Finally, a civilian SHOULD be able to own weapons not issued to cops for the very reasons listed above. A civilian with an M60 is not expected to use it to clear rooms in a crack house. If a cop as a private citizen wants to get cool toys, that’s fine. But they are toys. Not tools appropriate for his job. If you issue hammers, every problem will look like a nail.

        1. avatar Matt says:

          Interesting approach.
          1 – We have the typical you are compensating for something argument that anitgunners love to toss around; nice. You also take an example and run with it a little far; I agree being dressed like you are walking into Fallujah for a traffic stop is inappropriate. Having that gear at some officers disposal for some situations I think is acceptable. The purpose of my example was merely to highlight the fact that all situations, even the mundane are unpredictable; the exact reason why we carry every day everywhere we are legally allowed.
          2 – We are talking about automatic weapons not airstrikes, a slippery slope argument. That seems familiar too… Anyways, again I agree. Extreme firepower is not necessary or appropriate for most officers to have. An automatic weapon in the hands of a beat cop is unnecessary, an automatic weapon in the hands of a SWAT team that gets called for extreme situations only, that sounds a bit more reasonable. A crew served weapon in the hands of any cop, no. If it takes more than one person to shoot/load it I think that is above and beyond what is necessary in even the most extreme police work. I don’t know that a cop has anymore knowledge that they will use their issued firearm any given day than any normal guy who legally carries for protection does. Again I think we are in overall agreement here….
          3 – Again I think we are in overall agreement here. Not all cops should have the serious firepower they have. I’m just saying that come on, if you had the opportunity, wouldn’t you take it regardless of if you ‘needed’ it or not? I think we all do that everyday in different ways. Hell, I own at least 5 guns I don’t need but bought because the opportunity was good. I think if cops can have it then all civilians should be able to have it. Again I think it is appropriate in certain situations for the hammer to be issued to certain people but like you said hammers are passed out like candy nowadays. And like you said the more hammers around the more likely ‘nails’ are to be found. And come on, why would anyone knowingly try to use the wrong tool for a job? Sticking to your hammers, it would be like trying to use a rock to pound in a nail, you may get the job done and probably sloppily at that, but its not the best tool for the job.

          Im sure I practically sound like a police apologist or something, but I am not. I just think that there are realistically situations where increased firepower is necessary and am acknowledging the multitudinous reasons why that firepower is spread around so much or acquired. I would say if you have it as a cop, because you should be at a higher standard than the regular citizen, you should be scrutinized heavily.

        2. avatar pwrserge says:

          @Matt

          I have yet to hear a single legitimate scenario where a cop needs an automatic weapon. Those weapons are designed to provide suppressive fire in situations where collateral damage is unimportant. That is NEVER the case with a police encounter.

        3. avatar Matt says:

          Honestly I’d be more worried about the cop with a handgun who only shoots it to qualify with it causing collateral damage versus the SWAT guy with an automatic weapon causing collateral damage. The guy that was talked about in the video was killed with a MP5 and there was no mention of collateral damage… I don’t think the concept of collateral damage is as simple as you are making it out to be but that is hardly the issue at hand.

          I do see the merit of your point; it is very hard to justify the use of an automatic weapon for any sort of police work. You say there is no circumstance where it is necessary, I say there may be, but the need and existence of that circumstance is near nonexistent. That being the case, I agree with you at this point and think we should at least err on the side of caution and say there is no legitimate need for an automatic weapon for any police work. Yay we’ve disagreed to agree 🙂

        4. avatar Blue says:

          Actually, the guy killed WAS COLLATERAL damage. He wasn’t the robbers they were looking for. Plus he was back shot. Plus there are a whole list of screw ups by SWAT botching no knock raids and even being at the wrong place etc. Plenty of collateral damage.

        5. avatar William Burke says:

          100% agreement.

  2. avatar Rydak says:

    Better training, I see an argument for that. And have made this argument myself many times. Better discretion on use…etc. I agree completely.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      There is some stuff that cops simply should not have. Automatic weapons and armored personnel carriers are at the top of my personal list of NO.

      1. avatar Rydak says:

        Oh…but you would have a smile from ear to ear if you watched the news tomorrow morning and saw that Obama opened up the Class III registry?… yea, something tells me you’d be filling out forms like a mofo by lunch time.

        1. avatar pwrserge says:

          I don’t plan to use said automatic weapons in CQB situations with no meaningful training and dozens of innocent bystanders. As private citizens, cops can own what they want. On duty, they should be restricted to weaponry appropriate for their roles. There is no realistic police situation that legitimately calls for automatic fire. This is the real world, not a Bruce Willis movie.

        2. avatar Cliff H says:

          I believe the statistic is somewhere around 30% of shots fired by police at suspects actually hit their intended target. Explain the rationale of giving these men fully automatic weapons. If a policeman’s MP5 has a 30 round magazine 20 of those rounds go who knows where?

          The military rationale behind the sub-machine gun was for infantry to be able to burst into a trench or urban environment and lay down a heavy base of fire indiscriminately because EVERYONE inside that place was the enemy and could/should be killed. Collateral damage was not an issue, nor was there a concern about rounds penetrating walls unless troops from your own side were on the other side of those walls.

          Can anyone here give a verified example of civilian police use of fully automatic weapons that was justified and/or necessary? And please don’t talk about Waco. Even in the North Hollywood incident the BGs were heavily armored AND prepared for a fight and as I understand it some well placed shots to un-armored extremities would have been more effective than bursts of either 5.56 or 9mm center of mass.

          Please, if the civilian police NEED this level of militarization and firepower, provide examples. And if they do need it, which is doubtful, why do not the rest of us civilians need it as well?

        3. avatar William Burke says:

          Mikey Numbers? Is that you?

    2. avatar Blue says:

      How about Podunkville spend the money on training their patrol officers etc. instead of on paramilitary operations. They seem to like spending huge amounts on speed trap tech and SWAT/military stuff or get from the feds.

  3. avatar Michael B. says:

    SWAT teams need to be restricted to only situations where there’s a gunfight, hostage situation, or armed standoff in progress.

    They should not be serving warrants and going on no-knock raids.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      That was the original purpose. I believe that SWAT was the police response to the Charles Whtiman incident at UT. Active shooter response was SWAT’s primary mission all the way up to 2001.

      1. avatar William Burke says:

        Various sources differ on the beginnings of SWAT teams. More common sources cite 1967 in LA, under chief Darryl Gates.

        The Texas Tower shooting was about a year earlier, in 1966. You could still be right, but more sources cite LA, 1967. LA has the dubious honor, in my opinion, of being the origin of militarized police.

        Good Ol’ LAPD; heavily interfaced with the CIA.

    2. avatar Blue says:

      This is the key thing.

    3. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Thank you.

  4. What is even funnier…. when I was deployed to Hurricane Sandy with a medical team we were asked why NYC did not activate the National Guard. The answer: Because they did not want to make it look like they are a “Police State”. Here is what made it funny – While making this statement about a police state I personally had 3 U.S. Marshals, 4 ATF, 4 FBI, 6 local LEO’s from NYC, 6 Local LEO’s from New Jersey, and an unnumbered amount of other peace officers in helicopters overhead. All of them in full SWAT gear and automatic weapons…. all of them there to make sure that no one stole the fuel needed to keep all these LEO’s operational…. fuel that was seriously needed by the local residents to escape the carnage that Sandy had brought… but could not because there was no extra fuel but that needed to fuel the overwhelming groups of LEO’s. And NYC did not want it to look like a “Police State”…. my ass!!

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      ^^^^ This!

  5. avatar tdiinva says:

    As someone noted yesterday while the kitted up cops were running frantically around the Navy Yard a squad of marines or Navy MAA moved up smartly in soft caps and ACUs. Who would you rather have protecting you? The ktted up imperial stormtroopers or the military guys?

    I do agree that the cops should outgun real bad guys. They can do that with Beretta Cx4s just like the Italian Carabinairre use.

    1. avatar Michael B. says:

      The military guys, who are confident in themselves and don’t need to run around kitted up like complete assclowns to make themselves feel tough.

      1. avatar Blue says:

        Amen! It is disgusting how many of these para-military style cops have the mentality of paint-ballers. I make this on the assessment of U.S. Marshal, County Sheriff and local PD SWAT types with which I converse regularly. Some of the deputy sheriffs are the most sensible of the bunch and actually teach civilians.

    2. avatar Chris Mallory says:

      A government employee should never be able to outgun a citizen.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        That would have worked well in the Second World War.

        1. avatar Stinkeye says:

          If that had been the case in the early 1930’s in Germany, there wouldn’t have been a second World War…

        2. avatar Blue says:

          It definitely would have helped Polish, French and Czech resistance fighters.

      2. avatar Cliff H says:

        Robert Heinlein – “An armed society is a polite society.”

        Yes, but ONLY if every person in that society is equally well armed. A standing army (or militarized civilian police force) has no inclination to be polite or even courteous when they have the power of the state behind them and know they are not out-gunned.

        1. avatar karlb says:

          This is a great sounding quotation from an interesting book, but a society is polite if it values politeness. How polite are those heavily armed gang members in Chicago who fill the streets with bodies? How impolite are the weapon-less Quakers, Shakers, and Amish (yes, I know that members of these communities own guns, but they just use them for sport)?
          Science fiction quotations are not sociological truths.

    3. avatar Charles5 says:

      Just some knowledge for the day: ACU stands for Army Combat Uniform. The Navy and the Marine Corps do not wear ACU’s, though Navy personnel will sometimes wear ACU’s if they are attached to an Army unit, but they still maintain the Navy standards of wear for a utility uniform. The Navy wears the blue or green NWU’s (Navy Working Uniform). There is also a desert pattern of the NWU’s that is reserved for Special Operations. The Marine Corps wears the Combat Utility Uniform in either the woodland or desert pattern. They referred to as Cammies or just Utilities. Also, the Airforce wears the ABU’s (Airman Battle Uniform), though they will wear the a desert pattern uniform or multicam in theater, as will the Navy at times. I am wearing NWU’s as I type this comment on my lunch break.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        You mean the funky blue cammos that will help you blend in when you go overboard?

        1. avatar Charles5 says:

          The blue NWU’s are universally hated in the Navy. They are uncomfortable, they do not breath, they are ill-fitting and generally retarded looking. And yes, there is the problem of blending in with the ocean if you fall overboard. For that reason, some CO’s prohibited wear of the NWU’s topside while underway.

        2. avatar SkyMan77 says:

          And as if that isn’t enough reason to dislike the new Navy working uniform here’s my favorite… >>>”Navy uniform ‘will burn robustly until it is consumed’”

          http://militaryreporter.net/navy-uniform-will-burn-robustly-until-it-is-consumed/

    4. avatar natermer says:

      > The ktted up imperial stormtroopers or the military guys?

      Why is it a either or situation?

      Why can’t we just have professional detectives investigating a crime scene instead of turning every tragedy into a wet dream from a 15 year old that plays Call of Duty 15 hours a day?

      What the fuck to people think they are accomplishing buy driving around armored vehicles and standing around eating donuts talking to one another for 48 hours after the attack is over?

      Playing dress-up and getting paid overtime seems to be their primary motivations here.

      1. avatar Charles5 says:

        I saw a comment over on the CNN website where people were reacting to all of the conflicting reports coming from the various news outlets. One guy posts something along the lines of “Look, all we know right now is that there was a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard and that every SWAT unit in the Metor-D.C. area has a hard-on right now. That is all.”

    5. avatar Dave says:

      Too bad this little thing called the Posse Comitatus Act keeps the military from enforcing state laws.

      1. avatar Cliff H says:

        I hope you meant that as sarcasm.

      2. avatar Jus Bill says:

        Too bad yesterday’s shooting happened on a military base. NCIS and the MAA had jurisdiction. The donut-eating ninjas had to be requested to assist. Posse Comitatus had absolutely nothing to do with it.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Had a conversation with my Arlington cop friend this evening. Turns out that DC cops have federal authorities in the District so they indeed have co-jurisdiction in the Navy Yard.

        2. avatar Dave says:

          @tdiinva,
          I’m curious who you work for/with in NOVA… Sound we work in similar circles.

    6. avatar William Burke says:

      Saw that, but today, not yesterday. It happened yesterday, saw the report today. Last night I just had to get away from the coverage for a while.

  6. avatar Blue says:

    Since they are civilian police and aren’t military and rarely go up against military units, it is Constitutional to deactivate 75% of the unites and rein in the remainder.

    1. avatar Rydak says:

      Yea, the criminals would love that, and you’d prob be the first one complaining at your council meeting about the sky rocketing crime. Remember another song of the same ideology? “If we ban all the guns,nobody will have them”….makes about as much sense.

      1. avatar Cliff H says:

        Then when the 75% are deactivated their equipment needs to be sold at a discount to members of their community. Let the Bad Guys digest THAT.

        Better yet, let the community use that equipment to create “A well regulated militia.”

        1. avatar JB says:

          Cliff H: Ok we’ll apply that logic to all public safety. No more ladder trucks or ALS ambulances. No more extrication equipment on said ladder trucks. Furthermore, all diesel fire engines will be replaced by horse drawn steam pumpers. We don’t need those $800’000.00+ fire trucks anyway. In fact, do we really need level 1 trauma centers? Naw, too expensive.

          Be careful what you wish for. Less police will result in the NEED for the very things I listed above. Don’t believe me? See: Somalia, Sudan…..Detroit!

        2. avatar JR says:

          JB, your logic is completely flawed.

          Ladder trucks and ALS ambulances are necessary for doing the job those personnel are tasked to do.

          The entire point of this militarization discussion is that too many cops are being outfitted with equipment that not only is not necessary to fulfill civilian law enforcement mandate, but also makes them explicitly detrimental to the civilian population.

          There is a HUGE difference.

        3. avatar JB says:

          JR, does 1 August 1966 jog your memory? Chuck Whitman caused no end of chaos from the U of T tower. Austin PD was very outgunned and Whitman had nothing like what is available today. He killed 16 & wounded 30. I’m sure the officers there would have liked nothing more than an AR15, M1A & an armored truck. So, the logic isn’t flawed sir. These things can, will and do happen. Even in decades past. There is a reason police have the things they do. A Beslan or Mumbai incident can and may happen here in CONUS. When it does, detractors like you will bitch moan & groan that the cops didn’t do enough!!!

        4. avatar JR says:

          You are changing your argument. You tried to equate excessive equipment for the job at hand to denying ladder trucks to firefighters and ambulances to EMT’s.

          You are so full of illogic it’s hard to know where to even begin.

          Keep thinking your thin-blue-line crap and keep alienating the people, your neighbors, you work for. I’ve known generations of cops that worked very hard (in VERY trying circumstances) to earn the very respect you are destroying…you know, the kind of mutual respect that comes from people knowing cops are part of their community, not above it.

      2. avatar Blue says:

        B.S. For one thing I live in the county because I don’t like the communist tendencies of City governments to appoint punk anti-gun police chiefs and the redundant taxes. In the past 9 years, the only thing any of the 5 local SWAT teams have done is serve fugitive warrants and a couple of false alarms. Furthermore, if traffic patrols need fully automatic MP5s in their cruisers, we need to rethink this whole thing.

      3. avatar Blue says:

        One other thing, SWAT teams have next to know effect on petty crimes, auto break ins, burglary, carjacking, atm robberies etc. The effect on 75% reduction in the number of SWAT teams would have nil effect on that.

  7. avatar Alex says:

    I feel bad now…I just sold 15 HK416’s to a small town Texas Police Dept. Ok…I really dont feel that bad, but I think their needs to be a dichotomy between the ability of these departments having these types of weapons and the ability to deploy them.

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      You made enough money to get through any remorse? Is that what you’re intimating?

  8. avatar IdahoPete says:

    “To protect and to serve [the politicians].”

  9. avatar Chip says:

    Until the war on [some people who use some] drugs is ended … there will continue to be far, far too many militarized police. The drug war needs to end ASAP. Often times the excuse used for deployment of a SWAT team is directly related to the drug war.

    As long as humans have existed, people have found ways to get high. Trying to stamp that out with guns is an exercise in futility, and only helps gangs and terrorists obtain a source of funding by creating a black market for drugs, for which they act as a supplier.

    The “cure” of the WoD is far, far, far worse than the disease.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      Except relatively few cops are actually involved in the “war on drugs.” Even less reason to kit themselve up military style.

    2. avatar Paul W says:

      They ahve the war on terror now, so even if we end WOD it won’t help.

  10. avatar David PA/NJ says:

    Their existence is as a force to counter a domestic uprising from “terrorist organizations” like the Free State Project and citizen militias

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      Which is stated WHERE in the mission statement for SWAT/Paramilitary Police?

      And which militias, just for the sake of proving your point, have required paramilitary raids? And for WHAT reason?

  11. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    If we legalized drugs and stopped running speed traps we could lay off 600,000 of those 800,000 officers. I got to thinking the other day, how is it that indiscriminately clocking everyone’s speed is not a violation of the 4th amendment? Shouldn’t they have to have reasonable cause to believe you’re speeding before they point their radar gun at you?

    Governments grow, it’s in their nature. The police are no exception. People who seek out power are never satisfied and will always seek more. Our constitutional republic has slowed the process, but eventually if we the people don’t continually trim the weeds of government we the people will be subjects of a dictator. Taking the machine guns away from the civilian police would be a good place to start.

    1. avatar Andy says:

      One could make the argument that being on the road is probable cause that someone is speeding… Based on how people ACTUALLY drive, anyway… Not a defense, just a comment…

      1. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

        I read about a study years ago that concluded almost everyone would drive at the same speeds they do now with or without speed limits – usually about 10mph faster than posted limits. This is an argument for raising speed limits not violating our 4th amendment rights. If 85% of the people want to drive faster the government pits itself against the will of the people.

        I do believe that their should be enough LEOs on the road at any given time to reach an accident quickly, however speed limits are unnecessary. Reckless driving, DUI, failure to yield, etc. are all you need and you don’t have to in a sense accuse everyone on the road of violating the law.

        1. avatar Cliff H says:

          Having plied the Autobahn (in military and less-than-stellar civilian vehicles) for a few years I can say that the lack of speed limits was very seldom a specific issue. Yes, there are occasional spectacular accidents when some yahoo wants to pass everybody at 200 plus mph, but for the most part people obey the right of way rules and everything goes smoothly. Except in some congested urban environments I would say that speed limits are little more than government revenue enhancement programs.

          I also have over 800,000 miles in 18 wheelers and can verify that across the board, when no police presence is suspected, people WILL drive at what they believe is a safe and reasonable speed, usually 10 mph over whatever is posted.

        2. avatar JeremyR says:

          Let the Police write as many tickets as thy want, but keep the fines with in Constitutional bounds, and do not allow hidden fines called court costs. We have a Constitution, lets demand they follow it.

    2. avatar JB says:

      Governor of Puzzlefactoryville? Sir, do you read what you write? You sound like a lunatic. You have forgotten that driving is a privilege, not a constitutional right. Ridding the nation of traffic laws would result in motoring chaos! Have you EVER seen the traffic in India? So you want third world traffic? Perhaps you should relocate to Calcutta. Legalize drugs? Oh, that will fix them. We have enough meth zombies running about & you want to make it legal? You have got to be an anachronism from the 60’s trying to stick it to the man!

  12. avatar TTACer says:

    The North Hollywood Shootout ™ was 15 years ago and no one other than the robbers died, can we please stop talking about it? It’s like the Godwin’s Law of justifying police militarization.

    1. avatar Blue says:

      Plus, the lack of equipment by the LEO was departmental decision by the top cops and bureaucrats.

    2. avatar Paul W says:

      What kills me is that I think few if any of us mind cops having stuff like decent centerfire rifles in the department. What we object to is APCs, belt feds, full autos, shit like that. I don’t care if they have a .308 AR or 10 available for situations like that. And it would have been more than sufficient.

      1. avatar Blue says:

        Exactly. AR or equivalent should be standard issue along side a riot gun. However, para-military cops in platoon formation and military garb to check licenses in a barbershop is complete bovine dung.

      2. avatar Chris75 says:

        I agree with that. Maybe give them a set of SAPI plates to throw over their soft body armor in case of an active shooter, but no APCs or full autos.

  13. avatar natermer says:

    I am less worried about police carrying military weapons then police adopting military look, attitudes, and tactics.

    The money, the laws, drug wars, asset forfeiture, military mindset, surveillance state, and the special legal protections that effectively immunize these guys from any sort of consequences for violent actions is working together to turn the USA into a gigantic prison complex.

    It’s hard sometimes to tell if this due to some grand conspiracy or just gross incompetence, bad management, and institutionalization of poor attitudes.. but in the end it doesn’t really matter the motivation or cause. All that matters is results and the consequences and this sort of thing needs to stop.

    1. avatar Blue says:

      It all goes hand end hand though.

    2. avatar Cliff H says:

      Anybody want to dig up here Obama’s campaign quote about a civilian force equal to the military? I’m not sure where to find it.

      1. avatar William Burke says:

        I found this one, Cliff:

        http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/07/obamas_civilian_national_secur.html

        The article halfheartedly tries to put a positive spin on the matter, but it’s pretty feeble. But sometimes feeble is enough, when citizens don’t ask pertinent questions and demand accountability.

  14. avatar BDub says:

    I think its time for a gun buy-back. I will offer $50 gift cards to any LEO who turns in his machinegun….NO QUESTIONS ASKED!

    Please take advantage of this generous offer.

    😉

  15. avatar Jay1987 says:

    Cops need body armor pistols shotguns and an AR15 not the full gee i wish i was spec ops gear i was army and deployed to Iraq we were constantly trying to shed some of that heavy crap they added to our basic vest like the DAPS side plates and throat protector

  16. avatar Roscoe says:

    Years ago it was “community oriented policing”.

    Now it’s “Robo Cop”.

    The pendulum has swung too far toward police militarization in many jurisdictions for a variety of reasons whether it’s needed or not. A more moderate approach would be better, and many jurisdictions still embrace such a stance.

    That requires ongoing assessment and thought. I think it’s just easier for some departments to simply assume the worst and go full battle dress for everything.

    1. avatar Hobbez says:

      Don’t besmirch Robocop’s good name by comparing him to Amercica’s modern-day police force. Robo actually followed to laws that he enforced and never shot any innocent bystanders…..

      1. avatar Roscoe says:

        If only the NYPD could be so accurate.

        I thing THEY’RE the REAL reason Bloomberg wants all non LEO’s disarmed; so they don’t have to keep proving they can’t hit their intended target.

        1. avatar NYC2AZ says:

          The “citizens shouldn’t have guns” mentality is pretty damaging to the NYPD from my viewpoint. I have several uncles, aunts and cousins on the NYPD and when they come visit out here and find out that I carry, the conversation always turns to something along the lines of, “If you did that in NYC, I would automatically think you were a perp” or something to that effect. There is also usually some discussion of “civilians” carrying guns in AZ that they are surprised about. I have politely reminded them that they too are citizens. They don’t seem to get it. They are a different class of citizen in their mind. The mindset is downright scary in my opinion and is yet another insight into the progs utopian future.

  17. avatar Roscoe says:

    Maybe if detectives were more like Dirty Harry that approach would have merit.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      Let me explain the above confuddled comment:

      The above was in response to someone’s comment that responding officers should let the detectives carry the ball. That comment went away, hence the random placement of my “Dirty Harry” comment.

      1. avatar JB says:

        Amusing, but in today’s judicial system, the noble Inspector Callahan would be a guest at San Quentin Pen. Just the legal reality we live in. But, great flicks nonetheless.

  18. avatar Colby says:

    I’ve said the following in response to some of your other editorials on police militarization before, but I think it bears repeating. I think what your are meaning to say, or at least how I interpret your article as a whole, is that a culture of police militarization necessarily leads to the deterioration of civil liberties. However I can see how a reader, by emphasizing different features of your rhetoric, could come to the the conclusion that you are inferring that equipping police with modern equipment necessarily leads to the deterioration of civil liberties. To the following interpretation, I respectfully offer the following comments which I have previously made.

    The militarization of police forces has more to do with conduct than it does with gear. I could care less if a police officer wearing body armor, dark clothing, and an AR-15 politely knocks on my door and asks if I have seen anything suspicious, requests help, or if he informs me I left the light on in my car accidentally and need to turn it off to prevent having a dead battery in the morning.

    Militarization is when an officer, having information that a suspect might be in an ares, uses that information as blanket justification to go kicking in doors unannounced throughout the neighborhood. I have no qualm with them being sufficiently armed for defense, but I do take issue with police having an offensive posture toward the population at large.

    One might argue that equipping police with a certain kind of gear, such as .50s and APCs, encourages an offensive mindset, but isn’t that the same kind of argument that statist-liberals try and use against us in saying that we shouldn’t have AR-15′s and such? Don’t they try and argue that our ability to carry a weapon necessarily puts us in a mind set of being eager to use it? Why should we argue that liberals are wrong and that a lack of culture, training, morals are the cause of violence rather than the tool, but then turn around and argue the opposite against police forces which are made up of equally human people?

    The point is that if police are using advanced [ sic., modern] equipment improperly in the violation of people’s liberties, the evil lies in the institutional culture of the bureaucracy, in the individual officer’s willingness to use the equipment in that way, the department’s lack of morals, and bad training, but not in the equipment itself.

    Now I also believe that civilians should be able to own any piece of equipment that the police can, in order to protect ourselves from the use or threat of unconstitutional force. Therefore, the problem is not the police ability to acquire explosives, armored vehicles, fully automatic weapons, etc., but in the government’s insistence that civilians cant have those same tools.

    I don’t disagree with the point that qualified immunity means that often officers/agents are insulated from having to take personal responsibility for the consequences for their mistakes, or sometimes nefarious acts, whereas a normal citizen would not be so immunized. In as much, such immunity may be a contributor in lessening an officer’s care or caution, in some circumstances, by reducing the potential personal gravity of the outcome on the officer. That, immunized lessening of caution and care necessarily flips the power balance against the citizen and in favor of the government actor, but again this is a policy/culture issue not an equipment issue.

    Without necessarily disagreeing or agreeing with you, I understand the proposition that the citizenry’s superiority at arms could re-equalize the balance of power. But I worry that such a policy could deepen the adversarial relationship between citizen and officer rather than fostering an atmosphere of equality, cooperation, respect, and mutual-benefit. I think it might do little to alleviate the offensive posture that many agencies and departments have taken toward the people that pay their salaries.

    To the above comments I offer the following additional sentiments.

    Under the above analytical construct, the ability to have parity at arms between civilians and any domestic law enforcement entity would be preferable to creating a disparity on either end, which disparity would only further foster antagonism between the two.

    I agree that using SWAT on no-knock warrants where the suspect/s and the situation shows demonstrate no threat of violence is a gross over-application of the police’s capability, but again, that is a institutional culture issue and not an equipment issue and should be judged on a case-by-case basis.

    If we ever intend to win our struggle for our Second Amendment Freedoms, we must not abandon our principals by applying the same fallacious arguments agains government and police forces that the statist’s use against us to argue that we should not have certain types of weapons.

    Just as

    More Guns ≠ More crime, but Societal Breakdown = More crime,

    Then so too

    More Equipment ≠ Police Militarization, but Militaristic Institutional Culture = Police Militarization.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      You’re right, officer attitude is everything.

      1. avatar Roscoe says:

        And the same attitude thing applies to gun owners.

        1. avatar Colby says:

          True.

    2. avatar Colby says:

      I guess to boil all of that down….

      Let us not allow our emotions to mislead us toward irrational fear of armed law enforcement when our energies are better applied scrutinizing and objecting to corrupt law enforcement.

    3. avatar Leo338 says:

      One might argue that equipping police with a certain kind of gear, such as .50s and APCs, encourages an offensive mindset, but isn’t that the same kind of argument that statist-liberals try and use against us in saying that we shouldn’t have AR-15′s and such?

      Except the police are purchasing these weapons for offensive purposes. Unlike us who use them for defense or as a hobby. We don’t run around kicking in doors and shooting people who don’t obey our every command or happen to look at us wrong. If we did we surely wouldn’t get off with a vacation aka a months paid leave like the police do.

    4. avatar Rob1285 says:

      This, pretty much. I was going to type up my response, but I would just echo what is said here. Militariziation fo the police force has more to do with attititude then equipment.

    5. avatar BrightBoy says:

      Agree with everything you said. However, one aspect that needs to be considered is the cost to the taxpayer, and allocation of funds within the municipal LE organization. The cost to militarize these LEOs is great, and draws money away from LE activities that are much more important to the communities.

    6. avatar Cliff H says:

      “Don’t they try and argue that our ability to carry a weapon necessarily puts us in a mind set of being eager to use it?”

      The only response to your argument about what difference between civilian police and civilians is this – Armed police have the power and authority of the state protecting them in most cases except where an abuse of their use of force is flagrant, while the rest of us civilians have the power of the state thrown AGAINST us and we are required to try to justify our use of force was NOT a flagrant over-reaction to the threat.

      Even with armament equality the police STILL have the power of the state for them and we have the power of the state against us. They have an entire system of radio response and armed back-up and we tend to stand alone. They are presumed when testifying (or writing incident reports) that they are being truthful unless proven by incontrovertible evidence that they are not, while we are presumed to be dishonest or prevaricating at best unless we can provide incontrovertible evidence that what we claim is true.

  19. avatar JeremyR says:

    Dispose of all SWAT teams. Every last one of them. Require the Police instead to utilize Civilian teams formed from local militias. Rquire a warrant signed by a district or higher judge to call up the teams. Bar the use of no knock search warrants and arrest warrants UNLESS there is a grave threat to life other then the police or SWAT militia team. Make the police be smarter then the crooks instead of simply more brutal.
    Place a standards review on all Police Departments. Those that fail to meet civility standards would lose the right to possess gear. The worse they behave, the less they are allowed. Start by taking away body armor. A cop with out a vet will think long and hard before being an ass. If they are really bad, deny them automatic weapons. If they fall to the level of the NYPD, send them out wearing pink leotards, ballet slippers, and a single shot small caliber pistol. If an officer who was a member of a force so punished quits, make them wear the pink leotards 100% of the time with a cry baby patch emblazoned on the front and back. Hopefully they will start policing their own. The Polezi in Germany havebetter standards, and they have absolute authority. We have bands of RICO thugs with uniforms.

    1. avatar JoshtheViking says:

      +1 The militia is the whole body of people.

    2. avatar tdiinva says:

      That is the way law enforment emergencies were handled in the 19th Century outside of big cities. In certain areas of the country the posse grabbed the first member of the minority community, declared him guilty and lynched him. No thanks. There is nothing wrong with professional law enforcement that acts in professional manner.

      1. avatar JeremyR says:

        And you are saying our modern police don’t do that? I know of several cases where after a screwed up warrant, the police planted evidence.
        I’m not talking about a posse siuation, I’m refering to a SWAT situation. Most people of the gun do more shooting then the average cop. I went to the range with the local law some years back. When I laid out my kit, 3/4 of the officers there were not familiar with half or more of what I had. I’ve had to teach officers how to load and shoot weapons. I have had, prior to 9-11-01 police borrow stuff from me because I was better equipped then the local PDs were.
        Today they are better equipped, but not necessarily better trained. Prior to May 25 2012, I fired 500-1500 rounds a month. most of it was 22, but the basics don’t change, just recoil and range, and when you are shooting in a high stress situation, you don’t even notice the recoil.

      2. avatar tdiinva says:

        See my comments on the use of SWAT above.

    3. avatar JB says:

      You have NO IDEA how insane that is! Who are the thugs? ‘Local militias’ morph into what lovely nations like Somalia have or the western equivalent of vigilantism. Bad idea….

  20. avatar Rab says:

    I am all for arming the police to outgun the gangs and cartels. People outside LE have no idea what these cops can potentially face.

    In the personal defense world, we retort that guns are not the problem, its the people who misuse them. Same with police. It’s not their machine guns, its the cops that misuse them that are the problem.

    1. avatar Paul W says:

      But then, how much are they spending on the machine guns that might be better spent elsewhere? We’re paying for these things.
      It’s why I get *really* skeptical if I see something like .50 BMG rifles in a police arsenal; it isn’t that I think they’re inherently awful, but they’re expensive as hell to buy, and train with,and they’re very niche for LEOs (I guess maybe exploding ordinance?). If a rich guy wants to drop 5k plus ammo cost I don’t care. But if it’s taxpayer funded? I care.

    2. avatar Blue says:

      Oh my. You think that the folks that read this are the PuffingtonCompost crowd. The average SWAT team doesn’t come in contact with the Juarez Cartels etc. That is why the Orange County Sheriff (Orlando) was suing his SWAT team to check barber shop licenses.

  21. avatar patv says:

    Ok, running somewhat contrary to the thread…

    Why do we care if they want to over compensate? THIS IS THE SAME ARGUMENT WHY WE SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED SEMI-AUTOMATIC WEAPONS.

    IMHO if you don’t like the way your tax dollars are spent, vote or run for office. But don’t apply the same illogic others are trying to apply to us.

    Btw:cops use overwhelming force like the military, tactics with deliberate overkill to give the enemy reason to withdraw or surrender.

    Also a 19 yo not trained in US civilian ROE scares me a LOT more than a cop with 20 years experience and recent training no matter what weapons. Cops keep the peace, military kills the “enemy”…it’s the mindset.

    YMMV

    1. avatar Colby says:

      Agreed regarding your point that we shouldnt use the same anti-gun rhetoric against the law enforcement that the libs try and use against us.

    2. avatar Blue says:

      We aren’t using the same “anti-gun” rhetoric. We are talking about the abuse of power and the frequency of strewed up no-knock raids etc. involving SWAT. Plus, police don’t have protection under the 2nd Amendment. Furthermore, I guran-damn-tee you that I not only vote, but am very pro-active. I don’t get the warm fuzzies thinking about Bloomer, the Chief of S.F. etc. and anti-gun non-elected militarized LEO being under there control. Civilians can’t even get automatic weapons made after 1986 legally. Where does it say in the 2nd Amendment of para-miliary police to keep and bear full auto MP5’s?

      1. avatar Colby says:

        Blue, we are in agreement. Look at my longer post earlier in the comments and you will see I fully share your expressed sentiment. My comment here is only partial.

  22. avatar Out_Fang_Thief says:

    There’s only one place I can see a legitimate use for automatic weapons to be carried by police, and that’s on our Southern border where they routinely come in contact with heavily armed Mexican drug cartels who are running their drugs across our border.
    These narco-terrorists are not U.S. citizens.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      This kind of border protection is not a law enforcement responsibility. It is the job of the military. It’s a job the military doesn’t want and continues to evade. Back during the Mexican Revolution in 1910-16 the bulk of the US Army was deployed on Mexican border for this very mission. Why do you think Pershing went down to Mexico?

      1. avatar JeremyR says:

        Again, a job for the militia. We the citizens should be the primary defense, and we should call in LEOs when an arrest is made, and they need to haul some one off to jail.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Under Title 32 the organized state militia, i.e., the National Guard, can help secure the border. If they remain under state authority they can makes arrests as well as shoot cartel bad guys breaching the border. I guarantee you that after a few weeks of border duty the unorganized militia will go home just like they did in the War of 1812.

          Other than cost I don’t understand why you would have an objection to the regular Army securing the border. Isn’t that one the jobs we pay them to do?

  23. avatar mlk18 says:

    Every time I read stories here about the militarization of police, it reminds me of anti gun articles in the media. Long on opinion and short on facts. I am not sure why you feel you have to vilify law enforcement in order to promote guns and gun rights. Then again I am not sure why the media feels they have to vilify certain guns in order to promote their anti gun agenda.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      I would submit that as the Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights as a means to defend those rights AGAINST government abuses then this site, while named The Truth About Guns, rightfully includes topics and attitudes as to why we need to support the 2A and especially why we need the right to keep and bear arms.

      Militarization of the civilian police is just an end-run around the prohibition against a standing army and many of us view it as an incipient tyranny within our borders. While we should respect those LEOs that work to enforce our laws and protect our property we should NEVER be in a position where as ordinary civilians and citizens we need to FEAR our police. I am afraid in too many jurisdictions today the focus of the local law enforcement is more towards promoting fear and automatic obedience than it is towards law enforcement.

  24. avatar Kyle says:

    Bottom line, the government is supposed to be scared of the citizens, not the other way around. This is even more true when they are coming to your door.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      Actually neither attitude is healthy. The government should not fear its citizens and citizens should not fear the government.
      The fact that we have reached that point is testimony to how far away from repbulican government we have gone.

      1. avatar gyrfalcon says:

        When has any government really feared a single citizen?

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Stalin did. That’s why he arrested a quarter of the population. You make sure you get all you opponents and cow the rest of the population.

        2. avatar dutchroo says:

          Methinks (former) Colorado State Senators John Morse and Angela Giron may have a new-found respect for their (former) constituencies…. (Note: I did say “may.”)

        3. avatar Roscoe says:

          @ dutchroo:

          With their smug elitist arrogance?

          I seriously doubt that!

      2. avatar Cliff H says:

        Classic bumper sticker – “I fear a government that fears my guns”

  25. avatar gyrfalcon says:

    Police should be able to own what civilians can. No special rules for special people.

  26. avatar Comrade X says:

    The big question is where are we headed as a civilization;

    We use to have peace officers now what should they be called; war officers?

    On one hand we have maniacs walking in our streets gunning down women and children, on the other there is law enforcement kicking in doors killing people & their dogs, and then our solution is for our law makers making more laws so that law enforcement can kick in more doors and kill more people and their dogs!

    So what should our solution be for those of us who try to obey the laws?

    But it is getting hard to obey the law when there are 10’s of thousands of them, when government agencies in the guise of EPA has become swat teams, where does it all lead?

    IMHO folks it ain’t gonna get better before it gets much worst. We as a nation have become bankrupt not only soon with our debt but morally.

    We need to all start looking at what is right and what is wrong and no matter what side you are on politically if you want right you better get on that side, if you are LEO and you want right; you better get on that side, if you are John or Jane Doe and you want right you better get on that side too.

    So you can ask what right is, but if you ask that question then you have a problem to start with IMHO and you better start searching your own soul soon.

    Soon our choices may be made because we have no other choice I am afraid, LEO or not.

  27. avatar Red Dog says:

    We need to spend more on training officers and a lot less on equipment. Fayetteville PD shot an unarmed man 10 times. He wrecked his car and was knocking on doors to seek assistance. FPD tased the man and shot him 10 times. We have had cases where local police has shot and killed the unarmed mentally ill. They even shot a dog tied up to a porch.

    No police officer wants to make the kind of mistakes I mentioned. The only training police get is counselling after the mistake is made. Our officers deserve better training. The only training officers get once they leave the academy is a few months of riding with a training officer. The should receive some training as often as they qualify with their weapons.

    1. avatar DJ says:

      Training can’t replace accountability. When you take on the responsibility for being authorized to use force as a part of your job, either in the police or in the military, the expectation is that you also take on a higher level of accountability for your actions.

      Qualified immunity going away would fix a lot of these problems. Police could still have the same equipment, if they had to use it with discretion.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        It’s not either/or, it’s both. Police need better training and they need to be accountable for their mistakes. Take a cue from the Military LE. They don’t get to make more than one mistake. And their commanders are held accountable for their men’s mistakes as well.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      So THERE, you post game rioters; you won’t be able to roll or smash THIS unit!

    2. avatar Cliff H says:

      This is an MRAP – Mine Resistant Ambush Protecting – military vehicle. A university police force needs this why? Just how militant are the student organizations on that campus? Must be a large chapter of The Young Republicans.

  28. avatar DJ says:

    Here’s a different way to think about this: the government is not supposed to use the military for law enforcement (posse commitatus).

    What is the difference between the government using the military for law enforcement vs. the government using police officers who are trained and equipped in the same manner as a military unit?

  29. avatar Eddie says:

    Well, a lot of great thoughts on a tough question. My town here in Florida could go against a battalion. We have teach helicopters and armored attack vehicles. It’s not a big town. It’s not NY,LA, Chicago, feel me? Vests, armor, all important but, too many cops
    Are carrying too heavy and are not trained for combat ; Look at NY recently or the DC Navy Yard. We must protect out protectors but use a little common sense.

  30. avatar Hannibal says:

    Robert, you are not a responder. You don’t go towards the sounds of gunfire, you don’t get calls at 2AM and have to walk into an apartment where someone is beating his girlfriend for the fifth time… don’t pretend you know what you’re talking to when it comes to police work. You don’t. Police don’t need body armor because of an assault of machinegun-armed ninjas, they need it because serving warrants attracts bullets. Barricaded suspects are plenty deadly with a regular rifle.

    If you don’t want the ‘militirization,’ stop having police fight wars. That’s an issue of laws… drug laws, particularly. Once you change those, then let’s talk about what type of body armor police wear while people try and gun them down as you sleep.

    1. avatar DJ says:

      You are a policeman. You don’t go to the sound of gunfire, either – unless something has gone dreadfully wrong. Some meth head beating his wife is not the sound of gunfire. A loud party is not the sound of gunfire. A traffic violation is not the sound of gunfire. A no knock raid at zero dark thirty on some pot heads is not the sound of gunfire. Hell, serving a warrant on a violent felon shouldn’t even require gunplay if you do it right. Most police officers will retire in 30 years without ever hearing a shot fired in anger.

      If you are in an area where there is a lot of violent crime, here – let me call you a waaaaambulance. I didn’t bitch about being shot at in the military, while enjoying crummy pay and benefits, because I signed up for it. If you signed up to patrol the hood in Central LA out of a sense of mission – good for you – but spare us the self righteous breast beating. YOU SIGNED UP FOR THAT. You signed up for crummy pay, crummy hours, and the risk associated with the occasional interaction with local felons. That isn’t something they suddenly popped on you after the academy.

      You know who didn’t sign up for anything? The citizens you are supposed to serve and protect. They specifically did not sign up for you to shoot their pets and terrorize their kids, because… oops, wrong address.

      Has it ever occured to you that maybe it isn’t the serving of the warrant that attracts the bullets, it’s the showing up at a residence at zero-dark thirty, armed to the teeth? That might be an advanced concept, so let me make it simpler – why not detain the suspect in a traffic stop – in broad daylight, while he is away from his residence? Then, simultaneously, uniformed officers can serve a warrant. Wow – I must have a PhD in police procedures, because that sounds like a genius idea compared to stacking up outside a door at 3AM like you are in the ‘Stan instead of Lawson, Missouri.

      The second time I deployed it was with the national guard. Want to know who the least technically and tactically proficient members of that unit were? The cops! Because you guys 1) think you know everything 2) think “full retard” is the solution to every problem and 3) (my favorite) you’re not that good, because you confuse serving a warrant on John Q Methhead – wife beater – with war.

  31. avatar jwm says:

    I’ve said this a number of times. Police and citizens should be able to have the same guns and body armor. There is a very specific circumstance where the police should have an armored vehicle. In an active shooter situation. If an officer or citizen is wounded or trapped by incoming fire having an armored vwehicle to retrieve them is a real lifesaver.

    We do need professional law men. Most of us live in cities that are simply to big to make militias practicle as emergency assistance in crisis moments. I live in a large urban sprawl and I honestly don’t even know the names of my neighbers. What kind of militia response would we be in a North Hollywood situation? Maybe in rural America this would work as a back up to regular cops. But I doubt it would be anything but a clusterfuck in the bigger cities.

    My reasons for wanting to own and carry a gun are simple. I can protect me and mine until the cops show up. And make no mistake about it, I want the cops to show up when I call 911.

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      I agree. And yes, that’s what 911 calls are for, or else the number would be unlisted.

  32. avatar Steven Walker says:

    I don’t think that the problem lies specifically in the equipment these officers carry but rather in the atttude they represent.The last 40-50 years have seen exponential growth in the us v them attitude many officers have against all civilians. The real solution is not so much to take away this equipment; it lies in increasing the level of accountability our police and prosecutors need to be held. If an officer commits a blatant civil rights or excessive force violation, there should be a requirement for increased personal training in this area. If he commits another such act, he should be terminated. Officers committing perjury should be prosecuted, as should prosecutors who commit Brady (evidence disclosure rules, not gun control) violations. As it stands, most of these kinds of violations carry little or no threat of punishment beyond perhaps a reprimand. Those who would uphold the law should be held to a higher standard. Instead, the “thin” blue line closes ranks and allow their brethren to continue abusing their power without comment or condemnation. This is what needs to change.

  33. avatar Getfreight says:

    I have no problem with the police having the tools to do the job. Ballistic vests, AR’s, etc…. Even a SWAT Team in an area that can justify the need. Places like LA, NYC, etc… Maybe a state SWAT Team that is limited to a certain size and specific equipment.

    The issue I think is being discussed is local LE having Tanks, Assault vehicles (like Bradley’s and the newer variants of an Infantry Fighting Vehicle), drones, and other equipment used in battle. What next? Do they need missiles? Ground to Ground, Ground to Air (you know, for those crazed Gang Pilots), Ballistic or ICBM’s? Maybe Chicago needs a Spectre gunship. Who knows. Anything could happen. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. And what would we spend the money on anyway? Education, Infrastructure, Deficit reduction, Crime prevention, oh I know, Cut taxes so people can spend the money they earn in the way of their choosing. It may even stimulate the economy.

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      Yep; they’d love a budget that would allow them every one of those things. After all, an occupying force can’t be too soldiered-up, can they?

    2. avatar Dave says:

      The issue when you start talking budget is that it’s not set and approved by a police department. Like the DoD; a police department’s budget is set by whatever level of government it works for. Just like any other department in a city it can request its budget be a certain size, but it doesn’t garuntee they will get that much money. If the issue is a police department having a ridiculous budget than that is something that should be brought up to approving government or city council.

  34. avatar AJ says:

    Why is it that it’s A-OK for the PD to tool up to the extreme to fight some mythical “well armed bad guys” who are supposedly “armed to the teeth” but when regular civilians want to tool up for self defense, we’re called nutjob paranoid freaks?

    1. avatar Blue says:

      That is a very good observation and excellent question!

  35. avatar Timbo says:

    We need a Posse Comitatus Act 2015 (after the election obviously) that states no civilian Law Enforcement Officer may possess a weapon that isn’t READILY available to ALL other civilians in the jurisdiction where he/she is located.

    If Bill Gore won’t sign off an an NFA item for everyone that is legally able to possess then “No Soup For You!”

    1. avatar JB says:

      Timbo, the Swiss have their active reserve program as military service is mandatory in Switzerland. The guys keep their Issued select fire Stgw. 90’s at home. Well, that may change as the lib’s in charge don’t see the need for their own military reservists to have those “evil guns” at home. They have been doing so for 100+ years and the Swiss have very low gun crime. Your idea is good but will never happen here. Too many liberals & too many uneducated civilians that are a danger to themselves & other with any firearms. For the gun toting, educated & safe republicans; arm up! We have it pretty good here in that we can own military type arms. Besides, the paperwork for Class 3 weapons used by my agency is an admin NIGHTMARE! Trust me, BATFE is not any more helpful to the local, county & state cops than the citizenry. They are always looking for a ‘mistake’ to bone someone.

  36. avatar JB says:

    Ok for all the chicken littles out there who think the world is coming to an end; relax! Yes I work for a large municipal agency, we have full time SWAT and 3 armored vehicles. They are only deployed when needed & are not driven around for fun. Likewise, the SWAT boys spend most of their time assisting patrol in unmarked & marked police CARS, not MRAP’s & APC’s like so many perceive. They respond to priority high risk calls & serve warrants as needed, but hardly go out scaring the populace. Most citizens fail to see the difference between patrol & SWAT unless they read their patches. I’m talking about 30 members out of 700+ sworn LEO’s. Our armor are made for urban police & are not military vehicles with MK19’s, M2’s etc on them. So, there is nothing demonic about our SWAT team. They are simply specialized police officers. The fire dept has their special extraction, swift water & high angle rescue teams, we have SWAT, EOD & K9. Just specialists for special circumstances.

    I agree some agencies do go overboard & things go sideways. However, that does not warrant a blanket negative judgement on all police in the US due to the actions of a few. We gun owners hate when the liberals blame us all for one idiot doing something stupid with a gun, so why do so many make snap judgements on ALL police because of one bad incident. For the TTAG staff, I ask that you use some discernment before publishing your very opinionated anti police diatribes without the all of the facts.

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