By Chris Hernandez

Let me make something clear: you’re right to feel uncomfortable that cops have MRAPs and look like soldiers. I’m a twenty-year cop and even though I’ve received fairly extensive tactical training, even though I carried a carbine and plate carrier in my trunk when I was on the street, even though I believe there are times we need to be warriors, I agree that too many officers think of themselves as “operators” instead of cops. And one symptom of the dreaded Police Operator Syndrome is the desire to rush to every “my neighbor’s dog is pooping in my yard” call in an MRAP . . .

Police Operator Syndrome is not new. I first heard the word “operator” used by cops when I was a UN police officer in Kosovo, fourteen years ago. Officers in a tactical unit passed around a copy of Black Hawk Down, and within weeks they were all calling themselves operators. And with that title came a different, hardened attitude. They weren’t there to fight crime; they were operators, ready for war.

Unfortunately, Police Operator Syndrome is probably here to stay (we can thank the War on Drugs and panic over terrorism for that). Within police departments it is often the subject of ridicule. Cops have always made fun of the guy who carries six magazines on his belt, two backup guns and a combat knife on patrol. They really make fun of “operators” who show up on scenes with more gear than I carried in Afghanistan, and who couldn’t chase a suspect fifty feet with all that crap on.

Among actual Special Forces units, only a small number of men have earned the title Operator. From what I hear, just about all SF guys laugh at police officers who call themselves operators. I shake my head every time I see a cop dressed in modern Army camouflage; we soldiers hate that camouflage because it doesn’t work anywhere, so why are cops wearing it? And I cringe whenever I see a cop in public with a shamagh, an Arab scarf, around their neck. There is almost no better way for a cop to scream “I really want to look like a soldier!” than by wearing a shamagh.

I imagine many street cops aren’t too excited about MRAPs either. They’re bulky, slow, impractical and not likely to ever be needed. And based on what we see online and on TV, way too many cops seem to fall under a magical spell and think they have to dress and act like operators when their police department gets an MRAP. So maybe MRAPs are not only unnecessary, they also exert a sort of Vulcan Mind Meld on some cops.

However…an MRAP is just like a gun, in that it has no inherent goodness or evil. If it’s used for evil, it creates evil. But if it’s used correctly, it’s a great tool.

An MRAP is not a tank. Not even a little tiny one. As a former M1A1 Abrams crewman, and as an Iraq and Afghanistan combat vet who spent a lot of time in MRAPs, I assure you an MRAP is as much a tank as a motorized skateboard is a Harley. I cordially invite those who believe MRAPs are tanks to take one head to head against the nearest T-80. If you mock those who make ridiculous, emotional, politically loaded statements like “AR-15s are ghost guns that fire thirty magazine clips per half second!”, then don’t make ridiculous, emotional, politically loaded statements like “Police don’t need tanks!” when you’re talking about MRAPs.

And an MRAP can be a hell of a useful tool in the right situation. Who hasn’t heard of the North Hollywood shootout, where LAPD had to borrow AR-15s and use civilian armored cars to evacuate casualties? Had I been wounded, trapped and bleeding out that day, I’d have been damn happy to have an MRAP get me the hell out of there.

Or what about the Webster, New York firefighter ambush? That incident lasted hours and officers used an armored truck for evacuations. When a homicidal arsonist with an AR-15 is sniping firefighters and cops, it’s nice to have an MRAP handy. Because I don’t like getting shot while trying to protect innocent people’s lives and property. Firefighters are strange guys who nobody understands, but they probably don’t like getting shot either.

Police forces have owned and used armored vehicles for years. Back in the 50’s my agency had a WWII armored vehicle. Google “police armored vehicles”; you’ll see plenty of MRAPs, but you’ll also see old surplus military vehicles used by police departments long ago. Just as military rifles have been in civilian hands for centuries, military vehicles have been in police hands for decades. Military rifles don’t jump up and commit massacres, and MRAPs don’t spread tyranny on their own.

Yes, MRAPs can be used for the wrong purpose. But so can our pistols, batons or radios. The solution isn’t to get rid of the equipment, it’s to make sure the equipment is used properly.

Make no mistake, I don’t want to see operators in MRAPs smashing through a front door to serve a No Garage Sale Permit warrant. But I also don’t want an innocent victim to bleed out in front of a house where a lunatic is firing an AK. If an MRAP can be used to rescue that victim, I’m all for it.

So here’s my idea for making sure we policemen don’t get MRAP on the brain and convince ourselves we’re operators instead of cops. This idea won’t fix everything, but it’s a start.

I’d like every street cop in America to put their hand on their badge, and say these words:

“I’m not an ‘operator’. If I ever work for a phone company, I’ll be an operator. Until then, I’m a cop. When a bad guy is hurting good guys, it’s my job to stop the bad guy as quickly as possible. If my plan is to rush back to the station, strap on every piece of gear I bought at Army Surplus, climb into an MRAP and show up at the crime scene an hour later, my plan sucks. I fight crime with the tools on my belt, and with whatever I can grab from my trunk and put into action within thirty seconds. If I need an MRAP and Delta Force uniform to handle every problem, I’m the wrong guy for this job. When a situation is so dangerous my fellow officers and I can’t handle it, we call those MRAPs and guys with cool gear. But that’s the only time I want to see MRAPs and cool gear. The rest of the time I want it to stay at the station, available but not in everyone’s face.”

To any cops reading this, I’d ask you to spread the word. Our tactical guys are great to have around when crap hits the fan. MRAPs are great when bullets are flying and lives are in danger. But we don’t need to call ourselves operators, we don’t need to gear up for combat at the drop of a hat, and we don’t need to show off our shiny new MRAPs just because we have them. Let’s put all that crap away. We can train with it and keep it ready, but only bring it out when it’s really needed.

Until then let’s just be regular cops, wearing regular uniforms, driving regular cars, protecting regular people from regular old bad guys. Because that’s something to be proud of.

Chris Hernandez is an author, blogger and a police officer in Texas.

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188 Responses to Cops, MRAPs and the Heartbreak of Police Operator Syndrome

    • There is a difference between anti-cop and anti-douchebag with a badge. Unfortunately, the douchebags in evey police department have gotten on the news far more lately than they really deserve. However, the fact that these clowns still HAVE badges and that the police do the old “blue line” dance every time one of them goes off and guns down a random civilian over a traffic stop or kicks down the wrong door for a search warrant, makes the rest of us reluctant to give all of them (non-douchebags included) new toys on our dime.

      • You are correct. Thankfully, the dawn of the internet and the ubiquity of cell phone cameras means people are hearing more and more about the abuses. And every time we hear about a baby burned with a flash-bang, an old man shot in his bed, or a family pet gunned down in a wrong door, no-knock raid we have fewer knee-jerk cop worshippers.

    • Feeling a little thin skinned or just a pre-emptive posting? The only cops I see getting criticized are the dog killing, no knocking “operators” that shoot unarmed homeless people sleeping in the foothills of Albuquerque or residents of the house that is mistakenly “swatted”. I love my local beat cops and there is little I would not do for them. They take the time to talk with us and hang out from time to time. I consider them family. But then again, they are throwback peace officers, not arrogant bullies with badges.

      • Consider yourself lucky that you still have friendly beat cops that still talk with you & you’re on good terms with. We’d all like to live in Mayberry, but that’s not the world most of us live in. Our neighborhoods are choked with power abusing thugs that would sooner pistol-whip you than talk to you. There are good cops out there & they deserve our thanks, but they are few & far between & there’s less of them each day.

      • I just want to take a second to say that my local cops in Evening Shade, Arkansas, are outstanding. I’ve never got a ticket that I didn’t deserve, and I’ve also never been treated with anything but respect. Talking with them in gun stores also gives me faith that I’ve got someone who would stand up to oppose an attack on my liberties shoud I ever need it. These guys deserve as much positive reinforcement as bad cops deserve negative reinforcement.

        And people need to keep in mind that these MRAP’s aren’t going to just dissapear if local agency’s don’t get them. Every local agency that gets an MRAP is an MRAP that a Federal Agency wasn’t given, and I’ve much rather our local guys get one than one of the alphabet agencies.

    • it is a great post. And it may attract some anti-cop sentiments–but it would have to come from the severely, nay terminally, reading-comprehension challenged, given the content.

    • Oh, look, McCain’s playing the martyr again. Paul, either try real hard to wrap your head around the difference between “anti-cop” and “anti-paramilitary”, or just stop with the disingenuous butthurt.

      • McCain is fond of what he esteems to be authority figures. He springs to their defense in global terms given even a hint that criticisms may follow, and fancies he knows the characteristics of the generic group he is defending. I conclude he has a thing for men in uniforms. It is amusing, nonetheless, to see the first comment imply that whatever comments follow won’t be worth reading.

    • Its a great article and right on point. Great job to the author. As for the anti police (,masked as anti police abuse) reporting coming from this web site, that seems never to end and takes away from the firearms spotlight. And the gaggles of nutjobs that it brings to this site are something to see. Releasing this article though seems to be a step in the right direction.

      Odd that you can openly call for a police officer to be murdered, and the comment is not removed, but you make a comment about…well, anything else that seems off kilt and your deleted and banned. Very odd.

  1. Salinas… Have you ever been to Salinas? Obviously not because you’re alive and reading this. If you’re going to post a picture highlighting the militarization of the police, don’t use an image from a place that could be renamed Sangin, USA.

    • You are right there. Salinas has a higher crime rate than LA and only has 150K+ residents !

    • Yea, I hear about a lot of guys getting hit with IED’s and having their cruiser’s blown to pieces in Salinas.

  2. My instincts tell me that the MRAP will cost more than it ever saves and in 5-8 yrs most departments will want to give it back. Which is about the time FEDGOV will say, “here’s the cash you need, you just have to join us. Here is your new DHS uniform. You can turn your old one in over there.”

    POS made me laugh a few times. I’ve used that acronym as a substitute for some of the LEOs I have met. Strangely the meanings in both case don’t seem as far a part as one might imagine.

  3. it is not the MRAP that is the problem. It is not even the operator attitude that alot of cops have. the problem is that cops are almost NEVER held accountable financially and the courts and DA’s always go soft when they screw up this is the real problem. if police were held accountable to the same standard as the rest of us i wouldn’t care if they had m1 tanks apache’s or m134s mounted on their cruisers(aside from the obvious financial waste).

    • They are financially responsible every time they are outside department policy or the law, whether federal or local.

      Qualified Immunity exists because if the officer’s assets were up for grabs every time he made a difficult decision, he will stop making difficult decisions.

      I once used lethal force to stop an imminent stabbing. I could reasonably make that decision because I was protected by that type of immunity. If I ever have to start worrying about losing my home because I protected someone else with lethal force, you can bet I will become the donut eating stereotype that many people think I am.

      Over the course of my career, I have seen many LEOs held accountable because they were outside policy or they violated the law. The problem is, people that have never found themselves in a life-or-death situation think they are qualified to judge the decisions people actually in those situations have made.

      I guess you haven’t seen it on the news, but I shouldn’t have to explain to you that a news article about some thug cop maybe getting away with hurting somebody’s feelings sells a lot more paper than the story about the cop that had to sell his home to pay the damages on a Civil Rights violation.

      Of course, that would require you to move beyond your world-view of “cops are mean” to a view of “sometimes good things appear bad to the untrained and inexperienced.”

      • With all due respect my concern isn’t about cops that hurt peoples’ feelings.

        It is the rise of the cult of ‘officer safety’ or POS, which, in turn, has led to an increase in questionable shoots (and that is putting it charitably in some cases), an increase in suspect uses of force, etc.

        Perhaps the most notorious culprit is the no-knock warrant. The no-knock is a lovely piece of work that rose from the war on drugs and now is responsible for many bad shoots, many injured or dead cops, and a tremendous amount of antipathy from the public-at-large.

        Add to that the fiasco of the Dorner manhunt (and lockdown of a small town), then the even bigger Boston Marathon bombing fiasco (and lockdown of a major urban area) and you can understand that some of us have serious misgivings about police officers acting like soldiers rather than cops.

        • Or those cases where the P.O.S. are caught on tape screaming “quit resisting” to a man they’ve already choked to death.

        • You, sir, are absolutely correct. I have no problem with police officers doing their job within the bounds of the Constitution and the laws that they swore to uphold, but the things that are happening in America today go FAR beyond what is acceptable.

      • and that rather highlights so much of the problem that LEO’s have. my original response was going to be “you must not be a cop in Chicago” where the police do whatever they want to to civilians with impunity. no doubt much of the hard acts stem from them facing a me or him situation, but that only covers the headlines where someone is killed by a police officer, and not the non headline acts of overt aggression that they pour of the community. i am pretty law abiding, and even my heart races when i see a police car behind me or next to me.

        chicago makes it an institutional policy to protect the officers irrespective of the act. just google “chicago police round table” to see how they actually have policies that get the police to work together to come up with the best, as oppsoed to most honest, explanation for actions.

        certainly not all are doing the same thing, but i don’t think one has to work too hard to point a finger at NYC (think “tape recorded roll calls”) to LA … in the end, officers should never fear doing their job as best as they can under circumstances most other people try to avoid, however, when it becomes more an issue of it being expected that they engage in bad behavior (and i think popular opinion backs that up) versus the crazy story from one out of a thousand people, then we have a larger problem to deal with.

        i applaud your letter and your service.

      • No they aren’t, we the tax payer are. We get stuck twice. There are lots of good cops out there. the problem is they often close ranks with the bad ones or get the cold shoulder.

        • I have had cops write police reports with 10 outright lies in them. I have been physically attacked when unconscious after a car accident, dragged out of the car skinning both arms then thrown to the ground skinning both knees, handcuffed then put in the back seat of his car. He was out of his jurisdiction and when the San Bernardino police got there I was lucky that I knew 2 of them and was immediatly released. The so called deputy never wrote a report about the incedent and claimed it never happened. Sorry but I no longer trust the police even though I know good ones.

      • “The problem is, people that have never found themselves in a life-or-death situation think they are qualified to judge the decisions people actually in those situations have made.”

        And thus we have the thin blue line, and the idea that cops can only be judged by other cops. How DARE you? We — the civilians — are they ones getting abused by your arrogant but dickheaded colleagues, yet we can’t complain? We should allow arrogance, and pay for it with a fucking smile, because we haven’t been there? And suck it up over our pets being killed in wrong-door, no-knock raids. Oh yeah, there’s no way we can sit in judgement over that — what do we know? We’ll let the same friends, co-workers, and union buddies of the abusers to decide what’s right. We’ll just sit here and sign the check.

        No. At best your statements are narcissistic and stupid, and at worst evil.

    • Anyone who has spent much time behind a badge in the last 10 years would not agree that they aren’t held accountable. Cops at all jurisdictional levels — patrol, state, and feds — are getting sued, disciplined and terminated for all kinds of reasons that were unthinkable 25 years ago.

      • Yeah, it’s totally unthinkable that cops are being laid off for violating citizens’ rights & abusing their power… Oh, the good ol’ days!

      • A lot of that has to do with digital media such as camera phones. 25 years ago it was your word against the officer. Today even his dash cam can get him in trouble. At the Supreme court of Nebraska they have a quote, Eyes and Ears are poor witness when the heart is filled with deceitfulness. Or something like that. It bears out that many people lie when on the stand. There were times I wanted to just skip the oath of affirmation and just assume they were all liars.

  4. Good post. I think a lot of these guys who warn that tyranny is imminent forget that inside the MRAPs etc. are brave hard working Americans just like themselves.

    • …are they also eating apple pie inside while they go to the after-work baseball game also?

      I’m sure that there were people like you in the 1930′ & 40’s talking about brave hard working Germans.

      I’m not saying that the average MRAP cop is a Nazi but the days of flag-waving for the no-knock raids is long over.

      • There is no such thing as an “MRAP cop.”
        They’re not like military tank crews. Not even close to Bradley or Stryker crews.
        Even police snipers are not like military snipers.
        This “militarization of police” is far more internet urban myth than reality.
        When I was in patrol, I would have prayed to the Blue God to have MRAPs available to rescue me if I went down on the street. Or to extract me if we got pinned down on an entry gone bad. To all you paranoid bunker boys — if the mythical govt martial law was declared by an evil federal govt, it will be your local police who will protect your rights, cuz half of them would refuse to be an army for oppression. Think about it for a minute.

        • your local police who will protect your rights

          Yeah, because your local police would never arrest you for having high capacity magazines or more than 7 rounds or hollow point ammo or AR-15s or even black powder pistols.

        • @koolaidguzzler
          The militarization of police is not a myth, it is just that there are still many good regular beat cops as well. It is an undeniable fact that many more police departments are getting retired military armored vehicles, stupidly camouflaged uniforms, and even full auto rifles.

          Now if you are looking for the latimes or huffington post, just google the site you are looking for and you will find the site you belong on.

        • Sorry but this kind of denial just won’t cut it. There is overwhelming evidence that the militarization of the police is not only a fact, but a dangerous one at that. There’s a systemic problem with police culture that has to be fixed.

        • This one just about beats “jughead’ for the most self-descriptive screen name I think. The evidence of official police soldier-envy is so abundant, so visual–well, words fail me. And just as the author notes, it has long since become a point of ridicule among actual special-forces types. I’m thinking of the Air Force PJ’s in particular, an acquaintance joined them some years go so I looked up their site. To my surpise, they were posting pics of donut-fed SWAT guys and having a great time joking about them

        • The police are trained to obey orders from higher authority. And they tend to do it without question.

          Ask the citizens of the Northeast how that whole “Second Amendment” thing is going.

          If there is a crisis, the last person I want to rely on is someone in a uniform. I’ve worn a uniform – it did not give me super powers. Unfortunately, some people think their uniform does. We call those people “idiots” and they are to be avoided.

  5. My attitude about this may not be shared, but here goes;

    I spent 26 years in the Marine Corps including a tour as a Scout Sniper and ongoing training in tactical weapons handling covering the wide scope of organic small arms and their employment. I do not see an MRAP as the “Devil’s Ride” anymore than I see a rifle (Black or otherwise) as an implement of death.

    As you stated, I don’t think an MRAP is a particularly useful vehicle in American Urban terrain, it is clumsy, expensive to maintain, hell on fuel and heavy. BUT; given that these departments are probably picking them up for free, if I was a police officer, I may be wondering why we didn’t have one – just because.

    The attitude/cowboy/”operator” attitude problem is another issue entirely. If this problem prevails, it seems as though the individual departments are not screening candidates for SWAT/Tactical teams closely enough or it could be those interviewers are the problem.

    I have an inordinately large number of friends, having once served with me in the Corps, who are now LEO on all levels; Fed/State/Local and I want them as well equipped and trained, as is humanly possible.

    Given my stated misgivings about the efficacy of the MRAP, I still do not feel “something is affoot” just because one shows up in the local department motor pool.

    I do, however, think better screening of candidates may be necessary…

    • The MRAP gets many into character. And police depts are running “join us and kick ass” recruiting ads. Have you seen them?

      It’s a police culture issued for certain departments. And a mil industrial complex dumping ground to maintain a nice revenue stream, while fighting “the war on terror”. Any cop turned on by the prospect of kicking ass is not geared to protect and serve serve the community that pays the ass kicker’s wages.

      • And this is the reason peacetime Infantry field exercises in CONUS included camoing before getting into a multi ton vehicle. As young Inf Lt was joke for all but it was about mindset.

        There is a reason DOD is dumping the MRAP POS (beyond Obuma shutting down the US Military). They are usless overpriced, POS that the Army doesn’t need, didn’t need. If there was a need for things would have fielded LONG before the “War on Terror”. Pansie congressman blew billions to prove that they “care” about the troops/ “support the troops even if not the war”. Now the Army is stuck with cargo trucks that drag more weight in armor than they can haul in Cargo (see armored 4×4 LMVT).

        I’ll laugh at any ANYONE mil or cop that uses the term, or wants to be called – “operator”. Any branch, any rank, any MOS or unit. Pathetic.

        • Got to love the mindset of this officer here. “If there was a need for things would have fielded LONG before the “War on Terror””. Cause that is exactly how things work. If we didn’t need it before a war and current enemy TTPs, we don’t need it. I mean stuff like optics for everybody, mbitrs, eye and ear pro, GPSs per man, lasers all that stuff is just not needed.
          And laughing at units that have used the term operator for decades now? Seriously, you are just going to say would laugh in the face of some Damneck or CAG guy who uses the term operator?

        • Prior to 9-11-01 Our local departments were poor, and the officers underpaid. I often loaned weapons from my collection to local deputies. At one point in 2000 I had six guns loaned to various officers. By 2003 all the departments were up gunned. Nearly every squad car had an AR or M-4. With out 9-11 they never would have gotten the funding. We had plenty of stuff happen in the years prior. When the OKC bombing happened, this region became ground zero because this is where he started his journey from. It was during that time I began loaning out my good stuff.

        • Local PDs aren’t supposed to be paid from federal dollars. They should be funded by local taxes.

    • I do, however, think better screening of candidates may be necessary…

      Well maybe the police could start by removing the cap on the IQ of candidates? Isn’t the cap like 110 or something?

    • “if I was a police officer, I may be wondering why we didn’t have one – just because.”

      You answered this in that paragraph:

      ” clumsy, expensive to maintain, hell on fuel and heavy. ”

      They need to budget for the maint and fuel and that money has to come from somewhere. I’d suggest that money coukd be better spent on training. Just because it was received gratis from the military, does not mean it is free just sitting there. For equipment that is costing money (as well as possibly the cost of that money), there’s going to need to be a justification for it. Just to have is seldom considered a reasonable statement, so it starts being used… and use is expanded… all for some odd utilization metric.

      Then it starts to impact other things like road maintenance, collateral damage when driven in neighbor yards in high density townhouse environments, etc.

      • Gene; I wrote those quotes, so obviously I agree with them. I was making the point that the vehicles, far and wide, are given to the municipalities from USG storage facilities (or at least that is how it used to work). Point being; it was better to have serviceable vehicles doing some good rather than rotting on a lot somewhere, waiting to to be scrapped.

        If the municipality thinks the upkeep and fuel expenditures are within budget, I really don’t have a problem with LEO’s having an extra measure of protection in extreme circumstances.

        Ultimately, my comments have to do with the knee-jerk; “they have an MRAP; they must be going to war with all US citizens”.

        We have to remember that most of the LEO community, are not any different than we are – or at least where I live and are as concerned about these things, as we are. Additionally, the ones I know, and I know a lot, are former active duty Marines, Marines serving in SMCR units and and there is more than a few serving in federal agencies as well.

        The ones I know would turn in their credentials before they would arbitrarily turn their weapons on US citizens, as is feared.

  6. THANK YOU! Great piece.

    The militarization of the police, is a huge deal and only getting worse. The vast majority of SWAT “raids” these days are for warrants, as you pointed out. And dogs grandmothers and little kids, at wrong addresses even worse, are getting killed every week.

    Radley Balko’s most recent treatise on this exact subject is a must read for anyone looking to gain a greater understanding of the situation.

    Thanks again.

  7. The one thing that immediately turns me off to a firearm product/service/person is the term “operator”.

    I just substitute “operator” for the term “mall ninja” or “douchebag”.

    (Does not include people intending to be funny by making fun of the term. Love me some ENDO.)

  8. Nice. I have seen several occasions where I notice local police coming out of local restaurants in fatigues, plate carriers, and WAY too much gear. one guy had a thigh drop holster ON EACH THIGH. One guy came out of chipotle with his gloves on already. It was like 85 degrees outside. It’s been twice in three months where I’ve witnessed just absurdly armored police coming out of a meal (once at Chipotle, and once at a BBQ joint on a SUNDAY NIGHT).

    Why would they want to wear all of that detritus while they eat?

    • Because it’s sooooo Operator! Dude, do you even operate?

      I’ve worn all that battlerattle and personally, and with all the guys I know who’ve had to wear it, you ditch that stuff the moment you don’t need it anymore (like while having dinner in a Chipotle in suburban where-ever). Some of the D-bags I’ve seen in that crap probably wear it around the house too. It makes them feel special and cool to wear it all and they enjoy the attention it gets. It’s mostly a maturity issue but some never outgrow it. It’s also a departmental issue, aside from being on the way to a specific high risk situation the standard uniform should prevail. It’s up to the department to keep the cowboys and wannabes from wondering around town in all the kit they can carry.

      • The problem is that the departments are not keeping those clowns in check. They are encouraging them. So.. Still want to give them that shiny new MRAP?

    • Why?

      To look cool and increase the chances of picking up chicks.

      Same reason guys do a lot of goofy things when they are showing off.

  9. I agree entirely with the op about the attitude of cops, but worse than the attitude is the criminal justice infrastructure that promotes the culture and shields the participants from the consequences of their actions.

    I’ll add that I don’t see the average soldier overseas fighting in the US government wars as any better in theory than these cops.

  10. Chris Hernandez is proof that that are more good police out there than bad, vastly more. Thanks for sharing this insight.

    • Uh, no. All he does is show that he may be a reasonable, responsible, cop. His words prove nothing about others.

  11. “An MRAP is not a tank. Not even a little tiny one. As a former M1A1 Abrams crewman…” There’s your problem, you worked close enough to the objects in question for the semantic difference to feel personal. I get the same way when I hear someone call a T-38 a “fighter” or see an American sheriff wearing their flag patch backwards (almost all civilian law enforcement uniforms that incorporate a flag shoulder patch have them backwards). Or, back to aircraft, any time anyone refers to anything that is clearly prop driven as a “jet.”

    “Tank” has a colloquial use, especially in urban areas, that I think very few are confused by. Growing up, if you heard someone use that word to describe something seen in an urban environment, they usually meant a ’50s or ’60s Cadillac or Lincoln.

    Cue a current or former artillery or naval crew member to complain that “gun” refers to a long-range, crew-served weapon, and please stop incorrectly referring to your rifle and pistols as such.

      • Honestly didn’t realize that anyone was still flying them. The silhouette’s a little different, but not enough to make it worth nitpicking, I guess.

    • The patch is not backward, its the difference between Military and CIVILIAN. As for prop driven planes, ever hear of a Convair 580? Tech term is a turboprop, a jet engine with a prop. Heck the C-130 is a turdboprop.

      • A turboprop is still a prop.

        The instructions for wear of the flag patch in U.S. Flag Code were taken from the military regulations of the same. The proper position of the field may have been left out for any number of reasons, but it not being specifically directed as wrong doesn’t make it right.

        • Departments don’t design their own patches like that, they order them from a supplier that specializes in uniforms for Police Fire EMS etc.
          When I was in the military, we did not have a flag patch on our uniforms. Civilian departments did.

    • If an American flag is worn on any uniform, civilian or not, and is placed on the right shoulder then it must be worn backwards with the field of blue and the stars facing to the right as you look at it.

      From Chapter 1 Title 4 USC…

      When approved for wear, the full-color U.S. flag cloth replica is sewn 1/2 inch below the right shoulder seam of the temperate, hot-weather, enhanced hot-weather, and desert BDU; the BDU field jacket; and the cold-weather uniform. The flag is worn on the right shoulder, because, in the military, the “place of honor” is to a military member’s right.

      The full-color U.S. flag cloth replica is worn so that the star field faces forward, or to the flag’s own right. When worn in this manner, the flag is facing to the observer’s right, and gives the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward.

      The rule dates back to the Army’s early history, when both mounted cavalry and infantry units would designate a standard bearer, who carried the Colors into battle. As he charged, his forward momentum caused the flag to stream back. Since the Stars and Stripes are mounted with the canton closest to the pole, that section stayed to the right, while the stripes flew to the left.

      • on any uniform, civilian or not

        It appears that flag code is only addressing military wear. Or do cops now call their police uniforms “battle dress?”

        • Police tend to follow the trend of military uniforms so I overwhelmingly see the same regulations applied. In fact I have yet to see a police officer with the US flag on their right shoulder not wear a “reverse” flag. But to the point you are correct, the USC does not specifically address any other uniforms other that military uniforms.

        • Being a vet, I would tell them they are doing it wrong…and they look rediculous.

        • I guess it depends on whether you want a British “Bobby” showing up when you call for help or a properly armed LEO.

          I understand the concern and yes, there have been and are cases where cops have shown little to no restraint or seemingly, no understanding of their place in the society, BUT, it isn’t difficult to simply string together stories of aberrant behavior from any walk in life.

          This kind of talk is what fuels the race baiters. Based on stories that you can find across the country where a white, abuses a black, the mantra becomes, “all whites hate blacks” and they will provide you with all the apparent proof you can possibly read, but, we all know that is a crap view of American society.

          Similarly, stringing together You-tube videos and stories posted by conspiracy theorists, does little more than then fuel hysteria and an already innate hatred of government.

          Keep in mind, the last time the hype was this deep, was under Clinton; it actually settled down under Bush…and no, I don’t trust Dems or civilian government in general any further than I can throw them, but largley, it is the political sphere driving much of the adverse legislation and action we are all concerned about. The average Cop is no happier than any of us and again; I have served with far too many of these guys to fear an epidemic of “police brutality” or the emergence of a police state. All the LEO’s (at all levels), I know would rather turn in their credentials than cross that line.

  12. Chris Hernandez is the kind of “old school” cop that I used to respect when I was growing up in The Bronx. From what I’ve seen, the old school is a dying breed. Recruitment from the ranks of returned military may help restore the old school mentality, or it may hurt. It’s too soon to tell.

    One thing for sure — if the police do not go old school and rediscover their roots in the communities they serve, and soon, they will have lost all moral authority in America. If that happens, then the only authority they will possess will come from the barrels of their guns.

    • It is painfully clear that most PD’s are losing support from their historically strongest allies on the conservative end of the political spectrum. I don’t see any stories of police departments trying to slow this coming train wreck down. Seems like the police departments are placing their bets with the fascist left. We’ll see how this ends.

  13. I don’t think that anyone who has served in the armed forces should ever become a civilian police officer. The mindset of soldier and a cop are vastly different (occupier vs law enforcement) and people have a hard time separating the two – especially when you’ve trained and possibly fought as a soldier.

    I’m not denigrating the service of our men and women of uniform, but the militarization needs to stop and this is one way of accomplishing that vital task. There are plenty of other careers that need the highly trained veterans and won’t continue to contribute to this alarming new police mindset.

    • And no-one who’s ever been a student should ever be a teacher.

      Same logic train as your asertion.

      Because no-one can ever re-train themself to do a different job. Or something….

    • “I don’t think that anyone who has served in the armed forces should ever become a civilian police officer.”

      I would be inclined to state the opposite, as the author of this article has shown. Those of us who have served see the silliness of a local PD officer geared up like he is about to parachute into Taliban country.

      • That’s a good point.

        Maybe the concern from up above is that someone trained to fight and react a certain way might instinctively do that where it may not be correct in a civilian policing role in these here United States.

        Then again there are those who say people are too dumb to manipulate a weapon’s safety under stress.

        Me, I give people a little more credit to be able to think on their feet.

    • I believe you’re greatly over simplifying at several levels and giving way too much (or conversely) too little credit to military training. You’re also advocating discrimination in hiring for public service jobs against a group of people who have done nothing but demonstrate a willingness to serve.

      The vast majority of US military veterans have never been in combat. They’re just a more disciplined and motivated version of everyone else in the country and often a good choice for police work. In every branch but the Marines, most are never even trained for ‘combat’ anymore. The ability to read the landscape, construct a fighting position and development of basic weapons skills is hardly ‘combat’ training in any meaningful sense. Even if it were, the ‘too little credit’ part of this is that with increasing levels of combat preparedness other lessons are taught, such as to initiate violence only when ordered to do so and only within the rules of engagement. These last two can’t be underestimated because they are the checks that balance all the training and preparedness to engage in combat and they are what puts the muzzle back on for those who have been in combat.
      I’m going out on a bit of a limb here but I’d venture that for every real combat veteran who wants more of it there are 10 who’d greatly like to never see it again. It’s only a small step from there to asserting that for every combat vet who sees police work as a way of getting back in the saddle so to speak there are 10 non-vets who see police work as a means to elevate their status and relative power; that is, I believe there are far fewer combat vets who get into police work for the wrong reasons than there are civilians. Combat vets don’t generally have much to prove that way, they’ve seen the elephant and know their metal.

      All this without even touching on the fact that there are 1000s of MPs with the training and experience for police work, in some cases their only marketable skill upon leaving the service.

      I think if we dug in we’d find that the most militarized LEOs are the ones without a military background but even if that weren’t the case, disbarring all vets from police work would be discriminatory, a loss for the public and a massive insult to everyone who’s served. The problem is virtually never an individual officer or even a group of officers, it’s management. It’s up to the people to elect officials (mayors and sheriffs) who will either lead their departments or appoint those who will lead in the right direction. Those in the rank and file who want to militarize will fall in line, be replaced or be marginalized. The real problem here isn’t the individual officers, it’s a systemic issue caused by the drug war and exacerbated by the war on terror. We can fix it, we have to fix it, but outrageous ideas like excluding veterans from serving as police aren’t part of the solution.

  14. As you state any tool can be mis-used however to assume that because the departments have it they will be mis used is ignorance of reality I supervisor a 20 officer unit in a desperate grinding ghetto and we are shot at engage in deadly force encounters monthly. How many times have you pointed your weapon at a suspect let alone fired it?

    • And your use case is the appropriate use case. What is ludicrous is small bergs in the middle of nowhere, most recent being a 7000 person town in rural Iowa, getting a “free” (taxpayer funded) MRAP. Because they need it, was their answer.

      Don’t use the moral superiority of the danger you CHOOSE to face as a way to intimidate and justify your argument regarding the bigger picture MRAPs For All Program.

      • But Iowa needs this stuff! And SWAT teams to investigate every report.

        SWAT team attacks, maims innocent person: In August 2012, 52-year-old John Hytrek was in the driveway of his business working on a tractor wheel. He had previously had an argument with a relative and told him to leave the property. The relative, who had previously been convicted of making false statements to the police, reported that Hytrek was making threats against him.

        So Pottawatomie County, Iowa, sent in the SWAT team, who blindsided him, bashed his head against a tire machine and the ground, punched him in the head at least five times and in the body multiple times. He was left with a broken eye socket, lacerations, a concussion, and “other injuries.” He still has pain to this day.

        Luckily, an EMT was nearby (standing by because of the SWAT action?) and recorded the attack on his cell phone.

        Mr. Hytrek was taken to the hospital, then to jail, then back to the hospital because his wounds weren’t healing. The false assault and harassment charges were dropped in November 2012.

        He has filed a lawsuit against the county for his medical bills and damages.

        http://www.jrn.com/kmtv/news/Only-on-3-Man-Claims-SWAT-Brutally-Beat-Him-without-reason-259596761.html

        We really have to demilitarize our police forces. When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I also think the cops involved should be charged with aggravated assault, if not attempted murder.

  15. The local popo needs that pictured armored car in Salinas California with a population of 150,000 and where 40% of the world’s lettuce is grown? John Steinbeck would be disgusted with modern day Salinas.

  16. Hear, Hear.
    Normal is the new cool. Tacticool is out. I’m all for it. Having the toys and dressing up creates an environment that eventually feeds on itself. Bigger, Badder, Better- Bad boys, Bad boys whatcha going to do? There was a study back in the 70’s that every criminal justice / police studies student reads about where student volunteers are divided into two groups Prisoners and Guards that had to be stopped due to the extent that the “guards” began to become sadistic (http://www.prisonexp.org/) . Its the environment and theatrics that instill the attitude.
    Most of the people that see LEOs aren’t the violators (the population at large observes you daily), while the majority of the people LEOs meet are (they stopped you, you did some thing wrong). It makes for a strange juxtapostion.
    I’m all for normal

  17. “The solution isn’t to get rid of the equipment, it’s to make sure the equipment is used properly.”

    I disagree. Once they are given the equipment, they can not be controlled as to how they will use it. Superman may use his powers only for good, but the local PD with an MRAP is now empowered to use it for good and evil. As also stated not all states/counties/cities hold their LEO’s to the highest standard possible and certainly not even to the standard that a “civilian” is held to.

    I do appreciate what LEO’s do and go thru BUT some have an agenda that can land you in jail for a very long time whether deserved or not. I am responsible for me and mine and can’t trust someone I don’t know to look out for me. In general LEO’s are reactive and not proactive to situations.

    My wife, the other night, was being followed as she went home from the grocery store. Her situational awareness and being cognoscente of her surroundings saved her ass from being attacked or held up. She did call the police while being followed and gave them a description and license plate number. She stayed in public, occupied areas until the person stopped following her. The police, unfortunately, did not get there before the person decided my wife was not going to be an easy mark and drove off.. We are our own first responders as TTAG has stated many times before.

    • “Once they are given the equipment, they can not be controlled as to how they will use it.”

      That’s why liberals say people like you and me can’t have AR-15s. Once we have the gun, who KNOWS how we will use it and there’s no controlling us!!!

      • The difference is individual liberty vs instituionalized government. Our founding and our form of self governance were specifically designed to keep the power in the citizens hands. The disparity of force between what John Q. Public can “legally have” vs what officer krumky can have is the real issue at hand.

  18. I was a cop when I came home from Vietnam. Started in 1969 and retired early (by paying two years of military time into the police pension) in 1987. For the greatest part of that time, I worked in Area 4 of Chicago which is the four Districts on the west side. The City murder rate during most of that period was hovering +/- 1,000 dead every year and you can compare that to the murder rate today where 506 killed(in 2012) was considered unbelievable.
    During my time, most of us were armed with a six shot revolver, had twelve more rounds on our belt and many of us more tactically oriented carried an extra box of ammo in our car bags or maybe an extra back up gun,
    We didn’t need M16s, only certain people were authorized shotguns and we never had armored vehicles.
    Times have certainly changed. The murder rate has been cut in half in Chicago and according ton the most recent FBI’s Uniform Crime Rate report, crime overall in the whole country has been declining for the past decade even though the population growth has been exploding.

    I am a dinosaur. An old time cop that did his time, retired and now technology and tactics have passed me EONS ago (I like that word). Cops today would listen to me and roll their eyes and hide grins behind their hands because I am too old to really understand how bad things are today and what terrible things the LEOs of today have to put up with.

    Really? But if we did just fine thirty years ago without long guns, armored vehicles and special elite uniforms and handled twice as much crime, how did we ever survive?

    Just my opinion which of course doesn’t matter much. But I am HIGHLY skeptical of modern day policing and even more suspicious of where this is all going to lead.

    • It’s a perfectly valid perspective, and I’d love to hear more about your experience and how you see it relating to today’s realities.

      However, it also begs the question: what was the fatality rate like among police officers on duty back in your time, and what is it today?

      And another question, which might be related: what was the rate of people accidentally (or otherwise needlessly) killed by police officers, back then vs now?

      Hell, I suspect someone who’s patient enough could make a nice book out of those two numbers.

      • Those figures do exist and deaths have gone down quite a bit but it’s tough to weed out causality with so many variables (improved health, decreased crime, increased vest-wearing, etc)

      • Here’s a link to a site that records Police deaths since 1791. (That was just a couple of years before my time)
        http://www.nleomf.org/facts/officer-fatalities-data/year.html

        So, the last year I was working on Chicago’s west side, 1984, 182 police officers died in the line of duty.
        Last year, 100 police officers were killed, LOD.

        I honestly suspect that the number of fatalities is directly related to the crime index of each year. As the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report from each year records a gradually falling crime ratew, so do LOD deaths among police officers slow.

        “operator syndrome” has overtaken community policing ands anyone would be hard put to credit the phenomenon to anything but combat soldier wannabees. The crime statistics don’t justify the attitude

  19. Excellent post, sir, excellent post. From one who has “been there and done that” to another, I thank you.

  20. The main problem is the militaristic “we” vs “them” attitude that anyone can see on display at cop websites. Comments like “I need to get home to my family” speak to this as though that justifies there increasing wanna be army apparel, training and mindset. It’s one thing if you are in a shootout with some AL-Qaeda terrorist (how often does that happen?) but it’s another when your pulling over a ford pick up for going five over in a 55. All of us have seen the meat heads that to many departments have been hiring in the last ten years. Guys with itchy fingers, no tolerance for tiny infractions (not even a little bit) and an attitude that lacks even the slightest bit of courtesy.
    MRAPS are just a tool, but they are an expensive tool that the dept then needs to justify to the public. So it gets trotted out on low threat level issues which in my opinion reinforces the militaristic attitude that many cops have towards the public.

  21. People can quibble over terminology all day. It’s a refuge from reality. In the once per decade event where an armored vehicle might be useful, then the local cops can borrow an armored truck from a private money transport company. Or they can toss some armored plates in the doors of their cruisers. There are plenty of options out there that do not include these glorified meter maids tooling around in tanks.

    Whatever you want to call them, these weapons of war don’t belong on our city streets. As with drones, SWAT teams, no knock warrants, electronic surveillance technology, you name it, if the government has it, they will find or fabricate excuses to use it.

    • “Whatever you want to call them, these weapons of war don’t belong on our city streets.”

      But isn’t that what the anti-gunners say about our “evil assault weapons”? Every tool has a use, and it is the misuse of a tool that is the problem. As the author rightly pointed out, there are indeed times when some PDs have legitimately needed an armored vehicle. Those times are rare, yes, but don’t blame an inanimate object for the poor decision making of people.

      • Ah, but there is a significant distinction to be made here.

        We, as private citizens, have a right to keep and bear arms. Police officers, acting on behalf of the public they ostensibly serve, are allowed the use of certain equipment and tools, including firearms. Cops do NOT have a right to any sidearm, rifle, or MRAP without the public’s say-so.

        To be clear, I am not trying to say that there are no agencies whose individual circumstances would allow for the appropriate deployment of armored vehicles in support of high-risk law enforcement situations.

        However, not every city, every town, every county needs SWAT, let alone an MRAP or other armored vehicle. Similarly, most jurisdictions’ (as in the overwhelming majority of them) circumstances do not require the use of tactical body armor, SMGs, and other accouterments of war.

        Cops are not soldiers. Cops are not supposed to be soldiers. They are not supposed to sound like soldiers. They are not supposed to act like soldiers. They are not supposed to dress like soldiers. Cops are not warriors they are agents of law enforcement.

        Deep down in the cockles of my heart I worry about the militarization of local police, as they are being given similar equipment and training as soldiers, without the same legal restrictions placed upon them as are placed upon the military. We have observed a significant (perhaps drastic) increase in the use of SWAT tactics in situations that clearly did not call for such tactics. This is concerning to me, and, I hope, concerning to you as well.

      • Yes, they do say that. So what? Just because someone uses a phrase or entire argument incorrectly, does not mean that someone else’s use of it in a different context is automatically incorrect, too. AR’s are well suited for self-defense as well as other contingencies envisioned by the Framers. An MRAP, on the other hand, is indisputably a weapon of war and its deployment domestically smacks of the sort of standing army quartered in our midst that the Framers feared. Let’s start with what “MRAP” stands for: Mine Resistant Ambush Protected. Well.

        How many mine fields and IED’s do local P.D.’s come across in their daily work? How many ambushes, for that matter? Consider some of its other specifically designed features:

        Side slope stability, off road rugged terrain navigation, roof mounted machine gun turret, rear open space to accommodate robots, integrated mine roller, troop capacity of 11. This monstrosity is great in wide open rough country, as it was rushed into deployment to address, but even in the war its use is limited. It’s too wide for narrow mountain passes. How’s it going to do in cities, especially older cities back east with streets which originally has horses and carriages in mind? It’s too heavy for less than rock solid modern bridges. Hell, we have bridges in this country that have collapsed from the weights of CARS, let alone these Hummers on steroids.

        None of this crap is suited to civilian law enforcement functions. It’s inherently out of place in civilian use. It cannot be defended as just another tool, when there is no civil use for which this thing is of reasonable utility. We may as well deploy swift boats to patrol the San Antonio River Walk. MRAP’s are just big toys for overgrown little boys with badges who want to climb macho mountain and intimidate the citizens of their cities.

  22. It’s the kicking down the door that is unconstitutional. Jack boots are not required in this Republic.

  23. Chris is spot on. There are too many “Operator” Types out there. I see them every day. BDU’s Tac vests leg holsters. Sad, Nothing less.
    These are not SWAT or SRT guys either. Just regular cops.
    Almost always young wannabes you have no idea how to really be a good cop.
    I blame the leadership. None of my officers do it. Just one agency in my county does.

    Mind you. Those officers don’t have any tactical training, no military training. Just a bunch of expensive gear and a bad attitude.
    When I mention it i am accused of being “Old School”. Maybe i just didnt attend dumbass school…just saying.

  24. Good article, nicely done.

    “They really make fun of “operators” who show up on scenes with more gear than I carried in Afghanistan, and who couldn’t chase a suspect fifty feet with all that crap on.”

    And, rightly so, the only way to negatively reenforce that behavior is with peer pressure.

  25. About “operator syndrome” —

    This has always been about police unit leadership — if the SRT manager is a commando wannabe, or never left SF behind when he got discharged, then the swatsters will act like operators. IF the SRT mgr is a LEO first and a swatster second, then swatsters will act like specialized LEOs. Many depts avoid this merely by rotating swat, like every 3-5 years. Then they rotate back into patrol and other units, though they often become collateral duty trainers too.
    The author is a decent writer but he makes a mountain out of a molehill, like so many gun and tacticool related internet articles these days. But what the author fails to mention is that there already exists a powerful regulator of the operator syndrome — it’s the rank and file. Few experienced cops are in awe of specialized units in their own depts. If anything, they fling more grief at swat guys than anything else. Police depts will NEVER be taken over by operator mentality, because “beat cop” mentality is so much more powerful and embedded in most depts. Beat cop mentality will beat down any raised nail who feels they’re special just because they wear camo coveralls and ride in armored vehicles.

  26. Well, I think the way this ultimately gets solved is twofold.

    The first is going to take care of itself as the economy keeps going in the shitter. Eventually money for toys runs out. So it is also with money for the maintenance of big, expensive to operate vehicles.

    For the little departments that got grants for these things, eventually they will not be able to afford keeping it running or to replace it when it dies. It will sit on the back lot and gather dust.

    If the tax base continues to erode in a community, or citizens vote with their feet and take their tax dollars elsewhere, these PDs are going to find themselves rather threadbare. See Detroit.

    Second, it has to come from the inside. Old style police officers are going to have to generate peer pressure to change the culture. People conform to the norms of the groups they join.

    If the norm is to have a constructive relationship with the community that the officers live and serve in, then that is the behavior the new guys will conform to. If the norm is to act like an occupying army (L.A., NYC) then that is what the new guys will do.

    People from the outside might be able to get a chief fired and such, but the day to day atmosphere is going to be determined by the norms of the group. Which of course the leadership and senior officer’s examples go a long way to shape.

    An ineffective police force, or one with a reputation for brutality or poor service can directly affect the growth of the community. No one wants to live there. If no one lives there, no taxes for salaries and equipment.

    Part of the attraction of a community is the quality of services. What are the schools like? What are the taxes like? What’s crime like there? What’s the reputation of the police? Are they known to be professional and courteous or do they have a reputation for protecting and serving the living shit out of the citizens?

  27. Thank you, Chris. You restore a bit of hope.
    What I see is the government—from the Mt. Airy, N.C. PD to the DEA—preparing for war against its citizens. I saw the same thing as a child in the South in the 1960s. As a kid, I knew who were cops planning to fight with those AR-15s, flak jackets, and armored cars. (Dad was a reserve deputy, uncle was a cop.)
    Today, it feels as if I’m the target.

  28. To be honest, both police and non-police have “operator syndrome.” The teenager at Burro Canyon who accidentally shot my target stand – twice – whilst rapid firing a 10/22 has operator syndrome. I’m sure many of the shooters here have told the guy in the next lane to control their rapid fire, watch where they are pointing their muzzle, etc. If they haven’t, I’m sure they’ve seen the range safety officers chew people out. Haven’t we all laughed at the morbidly obese guy with the full chest rig? Overweight operator syndrome.

    Did Adam Lanza and James Eagan Holmes have some sick operator fantasy? They certainly seemed to arm up for their own personal murder missions.

    I think the answer is to be both armed and level-headed. Vote for and support responsible gun use. The 2nd Amendment is both freedom and a system of checks and balances. I certainly agree that allowing a SWAT mentality for police while disarming everyone else is a recipe for disaster.

    • “Haven’t we all laughed at the morbidly obese guy with the full chest rig? Overweight operator syndrome.”

      I saw a militia video of a fat guy with “bad knees”, which is to say his knees can’t handle the weight keeps on them, running and gunning. And I used both terms loosely.

      The dude was all geared out and wearing a kilt, no joke. It was ludicrous on many levels.

  29. I don’t really see the problem here, the Army has a ton of MRAPs they need to dump because they are useless. So they dump them on LEA and the LEA’s use them a bit, lack the budget to maintain them so they get parked out in the back lot and left to rot.

    The only police departments that will maintain these things will be the big ones like NYC.

    • Or the local PD now needs a larger budget to keep their gear running or they will “have to lay off police officers!” and so you now get a millage increase on your property taxes.

    • A knee-jerk anti-cop comment from someone who didn’t actually read the post? What a shocker.

      Unless I’m wrong. If I am, please provide precise citations from the post above for the “criminal behavior” you speak of, and for his “excuses” for same. But I won’t be holding my breath.

      • Oh, how cute! TTAG’s personal troll is here to play! Sorry, Matty, but I did read the article. Yes, he mocked “operators”, but then proceeded to claim that police need all of this equipment without any accountability because BOOGEYMAN! and DRUGS! etc. The police should NOT have that equipment because they have proven time after time that they cannot be trusted with it. Instead he whines that “They’re just tools, don’t get mad that there’s no accountability when police misuse them!”

        He’d have a point if police suffered consequences for their actions, however we’re all aware that the worst that they’ll get is an unpaid vacation. An ordinary citizen should be allowed to have an AR-15, M-16, MRAP, etc because if they misuse it they will go to jail for a very long time or be killed as a result of their crime. When the police misuse that same equipment, they usually get rewarded with medals for the brave act of firing on unarmed children cowering in a closet. THAT is the difference and THAT is why both you and the cop who wrote this article are wrong.

  30. Great post. I’ve watched, over the years, as the police have adapted more combat gear and tactics. I remember the formation of SWAT in the late ’60’s as a response to the riots in Watts. Bad situation, good response, for that time and place. Fast forward to the 2000’s, and every small dept. has a SWAT team. Where I live we not only have individual depts. with SWAT, we have joint SWAT teams made of from many departments (I live in the NW/W suburbs of Chicago.

    With the proliferation of SWAT I’ve noticed a change in attitudes. In days long since gone (70’s-90-s) the attitude exhibited by most of our local officers was truly one of “To Serve & Protect.” Since SCOTUS decided that the police don’t have an obligation to protect individual civilians things have changed.

    “To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind.” So wrote the Whig statesman Edmund Burke in his landmark Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790). – See more at: http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/protecting_the_first_little_platoon#sthash.JfYESmDg.dpuf

    We fight wars, not for country, but for the little platoon we belong to. We identify with that little platoon. We will do anything for members of our little platoon. In close-knit groups, like military, police, fire depts, employees in any close-knit organism really, it is always “Us vs. Them”. Them being any outsider, other. Now add to the mix men who have served in combat, where it really is us or them, what do you get?

    I was a Marine in Viet Nam, and it really was, for us anyway, us vs. them. I still think that way in whatever job situation I’m in. I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks this way. Take men and women with that ingrained mindset, give them gear similar to what they had in combat and tell me you really think they won’t develop a deep sense of us vs. them.

    Someone asked if we thought people can’t be trained for new jobs. Sure. But the older training, learned during late teens/early twenties, is stronger. At least that’s my opinion.

    We’ve gotten away from calling our police officers peace officers. Titles and names impact behavior. Let’s go back to calling them peace officers and see what happens.

  31. We have our share of “operators” around Orlando, for sure, but here’s an interesting thing I noticed. There’s a “condo” right next door to where I work. The quotes are because if you translocated this place to NYC, it’d be called a project, only without the public assistance. It’s a converted hotel where “you too can be a homeowner” for less than $25k. Every day we see cops out there. Every single day. There have been several shootings, and it is most assuredly a bad place, and yet the three cops I waved to on my way out of work today were wearing nothing more than standard gear and vests. They were not patrol cops, they were “task force” type guys, so instead of wearing their vests under uniform blouses, they were wearing them on the outside, over polo shirts. They wear black cargo pants and dark green polos, but all their gear is hanging off of standard issue duty belts, and though I have no doubt there was heavier firepower in the car, they just had standard sidearms in standard retention holsters. This, in one of the more day-to-day dangerous places in Orlando. I don’t believe that P.O.S. is a myth, and I’m sure it exists in some form in this town, but I’m gratified to see that it’s still the exception, not the rule.

  32. Mobile Field Artillery Battalions have Paladins that resemble tanks but do not have the armor. They do look a lot like tanks with really bid guns though. (8 inch I think)

  33. This brought back memories of the late 70’s. The Middletown, NJ PD formed an anti-drug outfit named the Bayshore Task Force and got a surplus M-113 for “tactical” raids. Jesus did that thing rip up the roads! The mayor made them get rid of it. Another answer to a question nobody asked.

  34. Thanks for this post Chris.
    Some of us who worked or currently work in police work are dissolutioned at the direction law enforcement is taking.
    I’m glad I stayed in a small city where community policing meant something. Where I could stop and shoot hoops with some kids for a few minutes. Hand out cards for free ice cream cones to kids for wearing their bike helmets.

    My old agency is still like that. I hope it stays that way.

  35. I’ve served as a reserve deputy for almost 25 years . I’m very much a working reserve – not a friend of the sheriff who carries a badge as a get of jail free token in exchange for a hefty campaign contribution – and I’ve seen both sides of the argument. I’ve seen reserve and full time officers who couldn’t even spell “constitution” with a dictionary in hand, and I’ve seen those who have told their co workers and superiors “I won’t do that – that’s just wrong”. Fortunately, in my part of the world the guys who understand the constitution and what’s right are in the majority.

    The arguments discussed here have been around since I started with my department and I’m sure they were there when some old time sheriff was showing off his fancy new Colt Peacemaker. (Isn’t a .36 cap and ball good enough?).

    In this tired old man’s opinion the big struggle we face is to instill maturity and common sense in our officers. The old guys who came into law enforcement after VietNam are retiring or have been promoted off the streets and spend their days looking at computer screens. The new guys think that the world is a video game and they have to be Billy Bad Ass to win. One of my biggest struggles has always been to get the young guys to get out of their cars, take off their high dollar Oakley sunglasses, and talk to people using respectful language with no profanity and complete sentences.

    I’ve sat through officer survival courses that tell me every church lady on her way home from choir practice wants to kill me. I’ve been told to never shake hands with anybody, even if I know them because that puts me at a “tactical disadvantage”. I’m sorry – if I’m on the job and meet up with my preacher, I’m going to shake his hand and I won’t even count my fingers after. Maybe I’m too trusting of people but I’ve been involved in my community through my full time job, my church and a bunch of organizations that I support and I know who the good people are and have a pretty good feeling for the bad actors.

    Does an MRAP give anybody maturity and people sense? In our society its lots easier to pass out cool toys, UnderArmor jock straps and Oakley Tactical Sunglasses, than it is to teach people how to interact with other folks. Hardware is easy, common sense is very hard.

  36. Can I ask a question? How would we have been able to stop the events in Boston from happening? As in the total martial law lockdown of an entire city? You say that the way to make sure these vehicles and equipment isn’t to take them away, but how would we have stopped the different agencies from donning their jackboots after the bombings? Could we have just asked politely? Or could we have taken up arms against people trying to invade our homes? You tell me.

  37. For those that believe in the militarization of the police, name one airstrike, artillery barrage or naval gunfire that a police department used in the past 5, 15, 50 years; name one crew-served weapon, belt-fed or not that is used by the police. Name one department with even a WWII-era Sherman tank and a workable 75 mm main gun on it. You can’t? Hmmmmm? I thought those evil, jack-booted, martial law hoping bastards had all of that stuff and more. I am long retired and can remember being issued a 6-shot revolver, 12 round drop pouch, a nightstick and getting 10 weeks of training. Most of us were veterans, two were active duty Army MPs and the rest non-vets. Our training sergeants were Vietnam vets, as most of the vets were or at least served during that era, the brass had served in WWII or Korea and none of us thought we were still soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines. We were cops. That IS part of the problem as this excellent blog points out, but still, what it comes down to is that the police, at times, need to have warrior-qualities, but are not warriors. If anything, they are more akin to guardians, whose mission is to keep the peace, and sometimes resort to tactics that, to the untrained person, look like military tactics. That equipment and tactics can have a duel purpose is far from a police department acting like a military unit. What has to happen is less emphasis on “warrior” skills (that are necessary to know) and more emphasis on traditional policing roles. The equipment, tactics and fitness (for the most part) are much better today that 30 some years ago, but I learned a lot from old cops on the beat and those lessons are still true today. If you think your police are becoming militarized, what have you done about it in your community? If you just complain anonymously on the Internet, well you are the problem. If you actually talk to your police and the city councils that fund and authorize them, then make your concerns known. I’ll bet you find that even the most tricked out officer doesn’t want to be a soldier.

  38. “Within police departments it is often the subject of ridicule. Cops have always made fun of the guy who carries six magazines on his belt, two backup guns and a combat knife on patrol.”

    Watch out, the rabbi’s ears are burning.

    “And I cringe whenever I see a cop in public with a shamagh, an Arab scarf, around their neck.”

    Wait… what? Where is this?

  39. Interesting read; thank you.

    I am totally okay with police getting some extra equipment with the onus of using it responsibly.

    The problem is that police nowadays are never held responsible for their individual screw-ups wherein they exercise terrible judgement. Sometimes they’re even rewarded.

  40. To those who suggest the MRAPs are a sign of a problem, I say “no, you’re wrong, a sign of the problem is contagious fire. A sign of the problem is pushing mentally ill people fast and hard, and then taking a mere hand twitch as justification to kill or maim them. A sign of the problem is PDs that fail to fire a patrolman who files a report that includes false statements or blatant exaggerations. A sign of the problem is the habitual selection of the apparently poor for rough treatment, reserving for the possibly prosperous five extra yards of leeway.

    In my experience out-of-control police are much more a feature of a jurisdiction, rather than a matter of some evenly-spread percentage of those employed in the profession. Leadership matters. I believe unions have undermined leadership tremendously.

    • Patience… It works wonders in de-escalating conflict.

      Unfortunately, that doesn’t involve “dynamic entry”.

      Who cares about jurisdiction, culture or any of those other excuses. Give citizens recourse. Let’s eliminate sovereign immunity for police so I can sue that guy who makes 40k/year’s @zz for $1.5 million. And he has to pay. Not the State, not the County, not the City – he pays out of pocket. We’ll just garnish his wages for the rest of his life.

      If police suffered an actual, personal, consequence for their actions we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

  41. As with any tool, the propensity for use or abuse rests with the user. Guns, hammers, sticks, knives and MRAPS…..all the same. That said, much in the same way that work expands to fill the time allotted, the urge to expand the role of armored vehicles may prove to be larger than common sense and the mandate to protect and serve. One can say that “We will see how they use it”, however, given the rather elastic mentality toward the use of force than many police are exhibiting these days, it may be better that that they do not have the first step in that directions. That said, most MRAP problems can be rectified with thermite. After all, they have to get out and pee sometime.

  42. A local police dept. Less than 500 in the town has asked me to help hire new
    staff 2 officers. Since my co. Does background & training for them. The several I talked with last week seem to think they are still military. 1 actually asked if he would be allowed to take his patrol rifle in on all calls. Took him to range seemed to think he was in SWAT. Has a total of 18 months as a cop 2 years Marine Reserve & no combat. Had several like him. Seems since they didn’t get combat they want it here. Scary, especially when they find out I was in service they get a woody wanting to talk about how many I greased. Sad part is some dept..will hire these fools.

  43. Unfortunately, those of us who have lived for more than half a century have seen a drastic change in America, as well as tactics that have evolved to adapt to the lowest common denominators. What you permit, you promote. What you allow, you encourage. What you condone, you own. What you tolerate, you deserve. I thought Bill Whittle went overboard, but had some good insight on the change in America: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL-1tm2dm8k

  44. Even Operators don’t like being called operators anymore. It used to be reserved for a very very very tiny sector of the Special Operations community. Now you have Rangers running around thinking they are operators.

    There are two well known units, and a few not so known ,that have earned that title.

    Also, the MRAP is not on our streets to protect cops and move to scenes quickly and safely. It is on our streets to be ready for the day that people HERE start building massive IEDs to fight back. MRAP does a lot of things wrong, but one thing it does well is take a hit.

    • If people here start building IEDs, there will be a reason for it. Whose side will law enforcement be on?

  45. I have read through a lot of the comments, and I really think a lot of people have missed one important fact. Each department is different. Think of them as different companies that sell the same service. If an employee at one company give you bad service, is that a representation of the entire industry, the company, the franchise, the manager, or is it a rouge employee? This field attracts a lot of adrenalin junkies and jerks. In a lot of police departments, they won’t last long, and in a lot of other police departments, they are cherished. Usually, the police department is a reflection of elected leadership, and we know how to fix that.

  46. Once the PD gets a new toy that needs maintenance (and money to pay for it) they immediately need to justify its cost. So they use it. Patrol rifle, OK. SWAT team, OK. HSLD tactical gear, OK. MRAP, OK. Soon enough the cop looks in the mirror and says…man, I look like an operator!!

    Good leadership within the PD acts as a counterbalance to the POS transformation but that good leadership is hard to find. Good leadership counters the “operator” infuence that certain training and tools enable. Good leadership chooses low risk operations over high risk ones and doesn’t deploy SWAT teams and MRAP’s to a house because some low reliability informant tells a detecticve that the occupants are making meth without proper investigative work being done.

    Bad leadership chooses high risk even when the reward might be low because whe have this stuff so we must use it. Bad leadership dictates a SWAT team and MRAP usage for a tactical entry on a house where a little pot is suspected to be located and doesn’t check the address or ensure the suspects actually live there or a million other mistakes we have read that the local PD can make. The leadership hasn’t countered the “operator” infuence on the cops so they go in like its a real life game of Call of Duty and shoot at anything and everything and in an instant people end up dead.

    It begins and ends with the leadeship.

    • Yep, if you have SWAT you have to use it. The local PD where I used to live carried out a SWAT raid on a mom selling dime bags of marijuana out of her apartment. Seems the police chief had been fired and, if I remember correctly, there was a problem with the second in command Lieutenant (no confidence of the officers or something). Anyway, this little department is too small to field their own team, of course, so they called in Tri-County SWAT in which they participated and busted down the door of this young woman breaking ounces up into dimes. I asked a few questions, such as “Why?!” and was told that that department was despondent and needed a “win” to boost their morale. So they called in a SWAT raid for $100 of marijuana to boost their morale. Again, this wasn’t some outlaw biker gang’s meth lab, it was a 24 year old female.

      Here’s an interesting story in the news now. SWAT team attacks, maims innocent person. 52-year-old guy was in the driveway of his business working on a tractor wheel. He had previously had an argument with a relative and told him to leave the property. The relative, who had previously been convicted of making false statements to the police, reported that the guy was making threats against him.

      So Pottawatomie County, Iowa, sent in the SWAT team, who blindsided him, bashed his head against a tire machine and the ground, punched him in the head at least five times and in the body multiple times. He was left with a broken eye socket, lacerations, a concussion, and “other injuries.” He still has pain to this day.

      Luckily, an EMT was nearby (standing by because of the SWAT action?) and recorded the attack on his cell phone. Guy was taken to the hospital, then to jail, then back to the hospital because his wounds weren’t healing. The false assault and harassment charges were dropped. He has filed a lawsuit against the county for his medical bills and damages.

      http://www.jrn.com/kmtv/news/Only-on-3-Man-Claims-SWAT-Brutally-Beat-Him-without-reason-259596761.html

      We really need to demilitarize our police forces. When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  47. great article all around. explains the attitude to those of us on the outside, doesn’t bring the knee jerk hate nor make apologies.

  48. Cops need to get back to the basics. Peel’s 9 Principles of Policing were issued as early as 1829. If cops today adhered to those principles, then there would likely be a lot less animosity toward cops in general. Keep in mind, Robert Peel’s guidelines were inspired by the fact that the British government was using it’s standing army to do its domestic policing. Peel probably heard that saying about those who don’t learn from history, and realized that the Crown’s policing policy sparked a war about 50 years prior where the British soldiers, policing some colonies somewhere, got their rear-ends handed to them. I don’t know, but I think he was on to something….

  49. One of the best articles on this issue of the militarizing of the civilian police force. The militarization of the civilian police force should be taken seriously. One of the take home points from this article is that as this militarization of the civilian police force continues, is that these police officers are loosing focus on what their real mission is and that they are loosing focus as to whom they should be loyal to.

    • Sgt. Dan Downing, Morgan County IN Sheriff’s Department says their MRAPs are to deal with increasing violent crime (except that violent crime is decreasing). He states that armored vehicles are (partly) about combating the threat posed by returning veterans.

      In April 2009, a DHS intelligence assessment listed returning vets as likely domestic terrorists.

      The FBI has also repeatedly characterized returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan as a major domestic terrorist threat.

      Marine Corps Colonel Peter Martino says that DHS is working with law enforcement to build a “domestic army,” because the federal government is afraid of its own citizens.

      So yeah, it doesn’t look good. Whose side will law enforcement be on?

      • Well probably the side that is signing their paycheck but that didn’t end well for sheriffs and constabulary forces in Northern Ireland when the PIRA was active a lot of them would wake up at night with some not very friendly guests or never wake up.

  50. The only time I ever recall cops being friendly with me was when I was young, and my dad owned 3 dunkin’ donuts stores.

  51. Chris, you cite some examples where an MRAP could have been useful, if it had been used in that incident.

    Can you cite one example where a civilian agency in the United States actually put one to good use?
    Until then, I’ll stay firmly in the ‘cops don’t need that kind of equipment’ camp.

  52. Some good news on the POS front… our local PD has actually gone retro and made officers get rid of their tacticool shit and put on real uniforms with black pants, blue shirts, a metal shield, real shiny leather gear, and HATS. Outstanding.

  53. Having an MRAP sitting around for a rainy day isn’t a crime, or even a bad idea… just in case the need for it should arise. However, I would really appreciate the legal latitude (from our esteemed legislators, of course) to be able to have, packed away in my closet, the capability to knock said MRAP on its butt… should my need ever arise. Yes, our military has much worse things in their arsenal, and the situation in our cities these days is not any that I would want to be in the middle of wearing a badge. The main point with our military is that they don’t patrol our streets in their war machines, and neither should the police, as is stated by this article. I agree. The other side of that argument is that those who reject the notion of police MRAPs out of hand (without considering all sides) are reacting to fear, pure and simple. Do I want every single cop having access to an MRAP? No. But there again, not every cop wants me to be armed to the teeth, despite that I am and demand the right to always be so armed. So it seems that a little latitude is in order, and even a fair amount of courtesy from both sides. Remember though, my right to be armed is Constitutionally guaranteed, and carries divine protection, yours is a privilege granted by me and others like me. Please continue to implore others to use it wisely. I don’t abide smart asses with badges. I do respect LEOs that possess sound judgment and exhibit strong leadership, as those are the types of LEOs that can work WITH the public, not those who just want to rule the public they are supposed to serve.

    Dan, it sounds like you may be on the right track here. Godspeed.
    Shawn

    • Unfortunately, you can’t just let them sit around. They break if they just sit in the motor pool. You have to run them.

  54. Good article, and for as much as I distrust authority figures of any kind, you seem like one of the good ones.

    The problem with me is that I don’t want any civilian police authority to even have the means to become tools of tyranny. Sure, there are lots of good cops, but let’s be honest…if and when the order comes in from the top to suit up, mount up, and go forcibly arrest gun owners/30 round mag owners/assault weapon owners, whatever, you’ll do it. Some won’t, but most will. You’re a tool of the state. That’s what police are. Your job isn’t to protect people, it’s to enforce laws, no matter how illegal and unconstitutional those laws are. And we’ve already seen that the vast majority of cops will happily obey.

    So, no, I don’t want the police to have the means to be an army when a despot’s orders come down the pipe.

    • I agree with you fundamentally but, I think these MRAP and other “tactical” vehicles issue has been blown way out of proportion. For some people, having a vehicle that was once used by a Military unit immediately equates with making the LEO agency more lethal.

      The MRAP will do little more that provide the occupants with an extra level of survivability in a hostile environment (and I classify hostile as any environment they are called in…principally SWAT, where the perp’s can lay down withering fire). All the thing is, is an up-armored vehicle that can withstand small arms fire and yes, IED blasts (to a degree).

      I think, once they realize how expensive the things will be to drive and maintain – and how impractical the interior layout is, they may choose to dump them.

      In any case, it does absolutely nothing to add to the lethal nature of the occupants.

  55. Twenty year cops are one thing most have a couple of things going for them like personality and a bit of common sense. Living in New Mexico we have a huge selection from the older “good guys” too the younger nazi type who usually shoot you then ask you a question. About 3 years ago I worked a swing shift so my go home time was usually between midnight and 2 A,M. meaning you are in the middle of the drunk partol timeframe. I was stopped one night by what I would call one of the senior officer’s for having a tailight out (it was) as was asked if I had any weapons in the vehicle I said I did on the floor in a case in my backseat. He asked my what I was using and I replied a Kimber Custom Combat, he was carring a Kimber so we spent the next 10 minutes talking pistols, no hassle no problem, wrote me a warning for the tail light and off I went. The next Friday night I was stopped at a DUI checkpoint on my way home asked if had any weapons I replied yes twit screams “GUN” draws down on me and has about 3 other officers dropping everything and heading towards me. He is screaming and making demands I cannot comply with he keeps trying to open my door (it was locked) I’m scared and finally they let me out of my truck with at least 3 officers pointing guns at me put me face down on the ground they keep yelling so I can’t really answer any questions. They cuff me and yank me up at about which time the senior cop from a week before happens to walk up, he remembers me and starts talking, off come the cuffs he’s asking them what they think they are doing and why? He proceeded to chew them all out and I received a very grudging apology from the young cop.
    I’m also a former LEO so I felt very lucky in not getting shot. What I am seening is a changing of the guard as the new officer’s seem more about numbers and attitude than about being part of the community. They seem to have lots of training but little common sense and little respect for the folks they are supposed to protect.

  56. great read. however the biggest problem with MRAPs and APCs is that there isn’t a quick and legal counter to it if a government is tyrannical. we would be like the Ukraine using Molotov cocktails against Armor. the only hope is that there would be enough police sheriffs/departments with these tools that would uphold their oaths to the constitution to counter act. also people saying “police shouldn’t have tanks” is still a valid because we all know they mean Armored vehicles like we live on a battlefield. the events during the Boston bombing where horrifying and that’s not because of two jerks with IEDs.

  57. thank you for your thoughts on the matter, unfortunately I believe you are the exception, not the rule. I work for the city and come into contact with LEO everyday, more and more I see these guys come straight from the Army into law enforcement. bad mistake, these guys (in their mind) haven’t left the battlefield or can’t understand they are servants. they bring that army mentality into local enforcement and that’s where the disconnect starts. the troubling thing is more and more it’s where are your papers? i must see your papers. they are becoming the very thing they fought against in other countries. they are more administrative, then LEO that’s the sad part.

  58. There have always been a plethora of bullies in law enforcement. The power is very seductive. But now, instead of bullies with badges and revolvers, they are bullies with armored vehicles, automatic rifles and explosives.

  59. All:

    As a “civilian”–no former military or civilian police experience–I see the militarization of our police forces.

    Even though in your article, you indicate it is not an M-1 tank, it still is a military-style vehicle.

    That said, on the comments of uses for good vs. evil. My concern are Police officers and officials whom will do the will of their Sergeants and what they may be dictated by the Mayor, Governor(of their state), or even via a Sheriff whom is NOT a Constitutional-respecting individual.

    I am serious about the issues w/ firing and using military approaches to civilians whom refuse to follow unconstitutional laws. The MRAPS can be a handy tool against true threats against the local police and civilians, which I wouldn’t disagree on it’s use, but in the end, I get quite nervous when I hear of “gun confiscation efforts” stated by local authorities, based on either a State or local legislature that disregards the Constitution. That in itself, creates dissidents out of Constitutional-respecting individuals, whom would never think twice of breaking laws by abusing firearms and causing harm to local authorities or police.

    If all the officers in Salinas told me they are Oathkeeper’s, III%’ers, or the like, I would actually feel less apprehensive for these officers possessing such equipment.

    Civilians are continually being bombarded with the possibility of a Military state, and as long as our current Administration and those in our Legislature that supports it, as well as State and Local Gov’t agencies, this is a hard thing to swallow to see what we call Militarization of police forces.

  60. Well said. While it was true for the longest time that civilians and the military shared small arms, the disconnect has grown considerably in recent decades, where the military has short barrel, select fire versions of weaponry that we have standardized to rifle/pistol specs and semi-auto only and that’s in Constitutional Carry states. MRAPs and SWAT teams have their purpose, but it should never be serving a drug warrant on an anonymous tip or doing a regulatory inspection. That mindset is abhorrent and I think departments themselves need to remind their employees what their jobs and titles are.

  61. I think the point you fail to realize is that Americans are increasingly afraid or weary of Police. I don’t think you comprehend the other person’s point of view. No, I’ve never been arrested. I’ve been in the Army for 10 years. I’m not butt hurt or any of the other things LEOs use as excuses to dismiss dissent. I’ve seen enough corruption in the Military to know how easily power can be abused and how little can be done about the abusers. My fear, for you, is that sentiment will build to the point that you end up without weapons like in the UK. Overreaction will be more frequent, like the recent modification to the castle doctrine law in Indiana that specifically allows you to shoot LEOs who illegally enter your home. The need for such a law should be ridiculous, yet there it is.

    I see LEOs and their tendency to close ranks to protect their own very similar to the conduct of commissioned officers in similar situations. Protecting the institution has become more important than doing what is right. I know there are great & noble cops, as there are commissioned officers. I still don’t give my trust to either by default, nor disrespect for that matter. Law Enforcement in the United States has a severe image problem that it is ignoring at its own peril.

    Respectfully,
    KPM

  62. I was stationed in Pristina, Sta 4, located with the 2nd Bat Royal Green Jackets, July 99. I think it started there and then because we had to steal extra guns and ammo. We were so badly equipped. We were push to carry as much as possible. Either way, I agree, unless we are need it hide it away. I carried basic minimums after coming back. I did just buy my shemag last year. Great head cover. Oh, I retired 2,5 yrs ago. And I learned, verbally disagreeing won’t change jack diddly.

  63. Here’s an idea to avoid Operator Derangement Syndrome related to MRAPs and tacticool uniforms and equipment:
    Paint them pink. Lavender uniforms. Everything would still function properly, but the “operators” would want to reserve their use for only those times when they are really necessary.
    “Men, I want you to use the MRAP to serve this failure to appear warrant.”
    “Awww, Sheriff, do we have to?”
    Speaking as a non-LEO, I think that black and camo are the wrong colors for law enforcement. They may scream “professional”, but professional what? Not law enforcement, in this citizen’s mind.

  64. Excellent post. Well written, informative, and I agree with you totally. Sensationalist reactions are never good, in a battle of bullets or ideas. You have to keep some of the blood up in the parts of your brain that evaluate and decide things rationally, yet do it quickly.

  65. OK, I’ve seen the bad cop videos the same as everybody else but I don’t believe for one minute that they are the norm’. I emigrated here from the UK 3yrs back following my marriage to my american wife and have to say the cops here are great compared to those I left behind, at least by my experience. I live in Sioux Falls and every cop I’ve met has been polite, friendly and helpful, the exact opposite is generally the rule in London.

    I have to admit that I don’t see the need for armoured cars and the military look elsewhere here though.

    If a cop REALLY likes that look why not join the army?

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