Police Militarization: How Much We Have and What Can Be Done to Stop It

Police "tank" (courtesy fosterfriess.com)

Reacting to the furore surrounding recent crowd control efforts in Ferguson, Missouri, the White House has declared its intention to review of military-to-police equipment loans/transfers. Not to be outdone, Congress is holding its own hearings on police militarization. Ahead of these initiatives, npr.org did a data dive into the 1033 program funneling weapons and supplies to state and local police. Here’s an accounting of the equipment doled-out by the Pentagon’s Law Enforcement Support Office, from 2006 through April 23, 2014 . . .

79,288 assault rifles
205 grenade launchers
11,959 bayonets
3,972 combat knives
$124 million worth of night-vision equipment, including night-vision sniper scopes
479 bomb detonator robots
50 airplanes, including 27 cargo transport airplanes
422 helicopters
More than $3.6 million worth of camouflage gear and other “deception equipment”

Bayonets? But not one for every gun! You guys are just going to have to share. Anyway, those 79,288 “assault rifles” account for a relatively paltry $40m of Uncle Sam’s largesse, as compared to the top category winner: vehicles ($700m). Those MRAPs don’t come cheap.

1033 rifle recipients (courtesy npr.org)

Los Angeles is the birthplace of SWAT teams and ground zero for some of the country’s worst race riots and most questionable police operations. The City of Angels scarfed the lion’s share of the government-issue rifles (3,452). Next up: Leon County, Florida, home to 275,487 souls (2010 census). Go figure, remembering that Leon County and many of the counties listed above are home to state capitals.

I take the position that police possession of military-style equipment (e.g., no-knock SWAT teams) creates the strong likelihood that it will be used. And abused. TTAG contributor Sgt. Patrick Hayes reckons the 1033 program is not a bad thing  in and of itself. It saves taxpayers money and provides much needed logistical support to local and state law enforcement.

Over at reason.com Stephen Downing seems to agree. He sees police militarization as a symptom of “us vs. them” policing and other failed policies, rather than a cause. Here’s his prescription for fixing the underlying issues:

  • Ending the war on drugs.
  • Prohibiting the use of local police resources to “partner” with the federal government in programs that divert police resources away from matters of public safety in favor of federal policy.
  • Ending federal programs, such as the 1033 program, that provide materials, training, and equipment to local law enforcement.
  • Ending local law enforcement’s dependence upon all funding that promotes a mission contrary to Constitutional policing.
  • Ending asset seizures not accompanied by a criminal conviction.
  • Establishing “consent search” policies that prohibit fishing expeditions and unreasonable detentions.
  • Establishing effective civilian oversight to independently investigate all allegations of police misconduct.
  • Establishing stronger ties with our communities by supporting full transparency related to allegations of police misconduct and establishment of police policy.
  • Repealing all legislation that conceals the identity of police officers from the public when internal investigations involve police shootings, allegations of excessive force, and matters of honesty and integrity.
  • Ending arrest quota management practices and reward systems.
  • Establishing policies that address the abuses of “interfering” and “failure to obey” arrest laws.
  • Restricting police union activity to matters related to wages and working conditions and prohibiting the use of membership funds to influence local elections.
  • Prohibiting the use of public funds to support membership in law-enforcement organizations that support goals and lobbying activity contrary to the mission, goals, ethics, and policies of local law enforcement.

De-funding and de-politicizing police and quasi-police unions? Yeah, that’s gonna be popular with the pols and the po-po.

Regardless, this is as good a template for police demilitarization as I’ve seen. The chances that the President’s “blue ribbon” panel will examine, adopt and implement most – indeed any of these reforms is nil. Still, the first step to solving a problem is to identify it.

Done. Now what?

[h/t SS]

comments

  1. avatar DD says:

    Totally naïve of you, try getting anyone to police anything under those conditions.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      What exactly did you find unacceptable in that list?

      1. avatar DD says:

        Everything. What you all want is a police force filled with Robocops. You’re just not going to get it and if your maligned plan ever actually went to effect you might as well have a force of street sweepers to sweep up the dead because no one in their right mind would risk their life for others under those conditions.

        1. avatar Fuque says:

          Because before all the Military hardware they were getting cops somehow were hamstrung in law enforcment DD?…Give me a break…

      2. avatar Jay-El says:

        Bayonets, for starters.

        1. avatar Vhyrus says:

          I meant the list of solutions, not the equipment list. I have a HUGE problem with police receiving bayonets, since the only possible purpose you can use a bayonet for is spearing someone after you have run out of bullets, which doesn’t sound like any police situation I can imagine. I’d like to see what these ‘combat knives’ and ‘grenade launchers’ look like as well. They might be legit but then again they might not.

        2. avatar Nathanredbeard says:

          The standard explanation for the grenade launchers is that they’re used for tear gas and smoke use during riot control. Not sure how necessary that should be, but that’s the party line.

    2. avatar JasonM says:

      If the cops refuse to work under those conditions, they quit, and the problem solves itself.

      1. avatar DD says:

        . . . and you revert back 200 years, what a stupid idea!

        1. avatar Fuque says:

          somehow law enforcement has been able to do their job for 200 yrs without the hardware..But somehow, because of its availability, they just cant function with out it?…

        2. avatar JasonM says:

          Revert to a condition where people didn’t get beaten to death for putting the wrong inflection on the word “sir”, when talking to a cop? How horrible…
          A condition where people were self-reliant, didn’t pay horrendous taxes, had reasonable privacy…
          A condition where crime was incredibly low…

          You’re clearly employed by the state, or have swallowed the statist party line completely.
          But those of us who have not are aware of some interesting facts:
          * Cops don’t make a society peaceful; moral, prosperous, and armed free citizens do.
          * Cops are responsible for as much crime as they prevent. But the cops get away with it, because “officer safety”.
          * Some of the biggest problems in our society (e.g. drugs, gang violence, urban poverty) are the direct result of law enforcement.
          * All the other bad things the government does (taxes, spying, wars, etc.) would be impossible without the cops acting as the enforcers.
          * The founding fathers thought the idea of a police force (basically just a standing army to them) was abhorrent, and the greatest threat to liberty.

        3. avatar DD says:

          You idiots! You want to blame the lowest level of participants available simply because they are the most perceptible to you. Why are you so blind to the overall perception you need to be dealing with. If you have difficulties with the way laws are interpreted by the courts or the way they are carried out then address that. To say that the inanimate objects like MRAPs, fully automatic weapons, flash bangs, or CS gas or OC gas, or the issuance of no knock warrants are somehow caused by police agencies who utilize them is just stupid on your part. Try to get with the program that if you want to change the legal system you have to do it from within the legal system. You are all complaining about the cart and not even considering the horse that pulls it. Try growing up.

        4. avatar DJ says:

          DD should either 1) crawl back under his bridge or 2) crawl back into the bottle of Jack he’s drinking. I’m never sure which is more appropriate with him…

          DD, you seem to have some issues with reading comprehension. No one is saying police “caused” those things (although how they could “cause” an inanimate object is questionable, in any case). Police certainly didn’t invent them. They just misuse them. Your posts on this blog are excellent case studies in why law enforcement shouldn’t be trusted with that equipment. Because it only takes one idiot, and then we all have to drop everything to put the fire out on the demo range (military guys will know EXACTLY what I’m talking about).

        5. avatar Hannibal says:

          LE hasn’t been doing the job for 200 years without “the hardware.” The hardware has just changed from Tommy guns to M4s. From armored cars to… another type of armored car.

        6. avatar Lhecker51 says:

          Justify this:

          -Need for cammo uniforms
          -Bayonets
          -Grenade Launchers (I’m fine with 37mm grenade launchers but not 40mm that can chamber HE rounds)
          -MRAPS (They were given away but the language states they must be maintained using current maintenance contracts at the departments expense. That is over $60K per year.) I’m ok with it as long as they inform the citizens of the maintenance cost load.

          I am completely fine with LEO’s having the finest defensive gear available. It is NOT good to appear as an invading army which is exactly how they appear when in military cammo. Get rid of the cammo. If you want to be a soldier, join the military. There needs to be a distinct visual difference between National Guard soldiers and LEO’s during a riot.

          The other point is that low-risk warrants are being served by these tacticool SWAT teams. This needs to end as it is heavy handed. The entire no-knock program is a danger to innocent civilians that react as if their home is being invaded by thugs and end up being shot when they grab a firearm. It is an embarrassing indictment of some departments that rely way too much on very questionable CI information or incomplete information (old address with new residents completely unrelated to suspect). Any time the public is put at risk due to department shortcuts by using CI’s and outdated info, heads had better damn well roll. “Mistakes were made” does not cut it when they were foreseeable and preventable. Way too many of these in the news these days.

          I also have a huge problem with the foul mouths of LEO’s when executing a raid. HIGHLY unprofessional and insulting. I expect that kind of language from a criminal thug and not an officer of the law.

          Because of how police respond when you call 9/11, I prefer to take the trash out myself. I had held a burglar at gun point and called 9/11 with a description of myself and that I was armed and holding the suspect. How did the cops roll? They ordered me to ” Do not effing move! drop the gun! Get on the effing ground!” Talk about conflicting commands! Had I not followed those commands EXACTLY, I could have been shot. I did confirm they had my description, but they said they had to follow procedure and treat me as a threat until I was restrained in cuffs and identity confirmed. If that is how the roll, I will take care of business thank you. Do not need the cops. I understand why they do it but I prefer less drama. I am a retired combat vet and will go it alone.

        7. avatar int19h says:

          “200 years” is bullshit. This whole thing started under Nixon. Police existed and fulfilled its job for much longer than that.

          Yes, that means that you don’t get a nice shiny toy to “play” with in other people’s homes at taxpayers’ expense. Cry me a river.

    3. avatar Lhecker51 says:

      27 cargo transport planes? Even if they received them free, the MAINTENANCE on these is MUCH more than the MRAPS! The police should not have access to any equipment that a civilian cannot own. You want want a grenade launcher? Then it better be 37mm unless you are going to allow civilians to own a 40mm. I know that our local police department just acquired a Barret .50 cal semi-auto ($16K). What mission will this fill? To take out civilian armored vehicles or take 1 mile kill shots?

      Regarding the aircraft, we the people paid for them and the process should be that they are offered to the public for sale, not to be given away.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        Exactly!

        If any department other than the Alaska State Police got those 27 cargo transport airplanes, that’s Fraud with a capital F in my book. Anyone else need transport aircraft on a routine basis? I may be wrong, but I think it’s still a Federal offense to lie on an application to the Government.

    4. avatar Lhecker51 says:

      Local LE drug interdiction is the BIGGEST revenue source for many police departments due to asset forfeiture laws that are EXTREMELY abused. Get pulled over with too much cash and see if it is not seized.

      Drug interdiction is too big a money making business for many departments which then drive very questionable behaviors and policies that widen the drag net to include innocent people. Smoke a joint in your parents house can get the home seized in PA and sold.

  2. avatar Scrubula says:

    Nothing I disagree with. I personally think that laws establishing a difference in the constitutional rights of police and civilians are also extremely bad. For example, any form of gun control that exempts police. Any restriction on civilians that police unions won’t stomach is almost always something that makes the defense of home, self, and those around us more difficult.

    1. avatar Gene says:

      Police are civilians. They are not covered by the UCMJ.

      1. avatar Jwestham2 says:

        Exactly. I’m active duty. I’m under UCMJ AT ALL TIMES. I could lose pay for something as simple as walking and talking on a phone. Oh and I don’t have a union backing me or paid leave when I f**k up.

        1. avatar DJ says:

          You’re also more accountable and better trained than a law enforcement officer. Graduating from a police academy is a joke compared to military training.

        2. avatar Accur81 says:

          @DJ,

          You don’t know what you’re talking about. I graduated from Marine Corps boot camp in 1994 and from a major police agency academy in 2001. The police academy was longer and more difficult than boot camp. They also have a different focus, particularly when weapons were involved. The police academy focused on handguns, and I didn’t shoot a single handgun round during boot camp or School of Infantry.

        3. avatar Jus Bill says:

          Accur81, YMMV.

  3. avatar Thomas Paine says:

    It all starts with your local government. Get involved.

    1. avatar Michael B. says:

      +1

      If you don’t like your police department you should dislike your mayor because he either condones their behavior or doesn’t give a ****. Police department are part of the political system of your town. They are the politicians’ bagmen.

      1. avatar Paco says:

        Mayors are becoming obsolete. All over the country, municipalities are being governed by unelected town administrators. All in par with agenda 21, but oops that’s thinking outside the Fox news box, very taboo here.

        1. avatar Yellow Devil says:

          “that’s thinking outside the Fox news box, very taboo here.”

          I understood your comment until there. Don’t know if it is sarcasm or a swipe at some misunderstanding or what.

    2. avatar Raul Ybarra says:

      Simple. Sweet. Spot-on.

  4. avatar J o e says:

    I take the position that having military-style capability (e.g., no-knock SWAT teams) creates the strong likelihood that it will be used.

    Shannon Watts write that?

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Didn’t you hear? We’re a couple now! Just don’t tell Dirk.

      1. avatar Bernard says:

        Question of the day: If Robert and Shannon had a baby, what would the child turn out like?

        1. avatar Vhyrus says:

          Schizophrenic

        2. avatar J o e says:

          Bipolar.

  5. avatar Hello World says:

    Wait, what’s an “assault rifle”? In all seriousness this is pretty good.

    1. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      Thanks for posting this. Everyone reading this thread should take the time to Watch This Video! Especially, watch from 39.50 where Balco talks about solutions.

  6. avatar TwinReverb says:

    – First, I don’t say we end the war on drugs. Maybe decriminalize pot, but the rest are dangerous.
    – Second, I don’t care if the police have these weapons. Have you seen our populace? Have you seen Ferguson? Remember the LA race riots? Remember the koreans downtown that defended their shops but one of their own died? Our populace is capable of large and outrageous riots. The problem isn’t the weapons, its their use. I think I recall people using this line to the defense of citizens owning guns.
    – As for ending asset seizures not accompanied by a criminal conviction, I agree wholeheartedly.
    – As for establishing “consent search” policies that prohibit fishing expeditions and unreasonable detentions, I agree.
    – As for establishing effective civilian oversight to independently investigate all allegations of police misconduct, I agree, but I’m not paying for it. If this is so important, people can pay money towards accomplishing it, outside of taxes.
    – As for “establishing stronger ties with our communities by supporting full transparency related to allegations of police misconduct and establishment of police policy”, it depends. If this is Mike Brown or the cop who shot him, I vehemently say “innocent until proven guilty”. Let’s see what truth emerges from trial. As for the guy who walked towards cops with a knife, I don’t care to investigate that. It was caught on tape, the dude did something stupid in an area already on “red alert”. If that was him approaching me, and since I’m a CWL, yeah, he’d still have gotten shot. As for the other incidents, I say put them all through court. I think cops who break laws should be fired without pension and without unemployment, but I think all allegations about cop abuses should get investigated.
    – As for “repealing all legislation that conceals the identity of police officers from the public when internal investigations involve police shootings, allegations of excessive force, and matters of honesty and integrity”, I say no. People who are arrested have a right to not get their names put in the paper, and the same should go for cops. Do we really want cops to get lynched? To be stalked and killed? Their families targeted? Everyone should have the right to anonymity and the right to not be smeared in public. We protect the names of many others in similar lines of work to cops. Now I say cops should not be given immunity just because they wear a badge, but they should also have the right to protect their name. I say let the court decide in a special hearing if they can remain anonymous or whether their name gets released. Put yourself in their shoes.
    – As for “ending arrest quota management practices and reward systems”, I agree. There should not be quotas, nor kickbacks.
    – As for “establishing policies that address the abuses of “interfering” and “failure to obey” arrest laws”, I disagree and agree. I think it shouldn’t be a crime to film police officers, but I think it should be a crime to get in their face and try to intimidate them. As for failure to obey, a police officer should be allowed to tell people what to do, but that there should be rules about what and when he can.
    – As for “restricting police union activity to matters related to wages and working conditions and prohibiting the use of membership funds to influence local elections”, I agree, only if every union in our country can also not do the same things. What’s fair for them should be fair for everyone else.
    – As for “prohibiting the use of public funds to support membership in law-enforcement organizations that support goals and lobbying activity contrary to the mission, goals, ethics, and policies of local law enforcement”, it depends. I’d like more specifics on this one.

    1. avatar Jay-El says:

      It isn’t a crime to film police officers, but that doesn’t stop them from intimidating, beating or arresting people who try to film them. Check out http://photographyisnotacrime.com if you want to feel sick to your stomach at the abuse of people engaged in a Constitutionally protected activity.

    2. avatar DJ says:

      TwinReverb – they work for the community. The community does not work for them. Unless they’d like to seek other employment.

    3. avatar Illinois Minion says:

      @TwinReverb
      I agree in large part.

      I do not fully agree with the following point you make:
      – As for “repealing all legislation that conceals the identity of police officers from the public when internal investigations involve police shootings, allegations of excessive force, and matters of honesty and integrity”, I say no.

      While your response is reasonable, I would like to point out that the flip side of this could be to bring ‘problem officers’ to public light. For example Officer BadApple has a history of various complaints against him. While the court may find he is cleared of the specific charge(s), I believe the public has a right to know of this pattern of trouble. Maybe it’s just the need for better training/supervision, maybe it’s symptomatic of a larger problem of a person who is not well suited to LEO duty.

      This one is a tough call for me. Both sides have valid points.

    4. avatar int19h says:

      “First, I don’t say we end the war on drugs. Maybe decriminalize pot, but the rest are dangerous.”

      The question is, are they more dangerous to the society than the purported cure (which, by the way, doesn’t seem to be working)?

      If drugs are legal, everyone has a choice whether they want to take them or not, and bear the consequences. IF they are illegal even in mere possession, and this is enforced by SWAT teams, then inevitably one day you’ll be the victim of a “mistake”, and your door will be broken, your dogs shot, your kids subjected to flashbang grenades etc – regardless of what choices you personally make. Are you fine with that?

      In any case, there’s a broad spectrum between full legalization, decriminalization, and “war on drugs”. Drugs are not legal in most other countries, either, but they don’t routinely send SWAT teams to bust users and low-key distributors. In fact, that possession of even minuscule amounts can often be a felony is something unique to USA among the Western countries, and is what causes most of the trouble. A reasonable compromise approach would be to decriminalize possession entirely, and focus on sales.

      And yes, there is absolutely no reason why pot shouldn’t be just legal, period.

  7. avatar Bernard says:

    Lol at L.A. Driving down Downtown L.A., MORE condos are being built (as if there isn’t enough population/traffic). Except AYCE Korean BBQ and going to the beach twice a year, there isn’t much to do there. Unless you’re trying to get into the entertainment business.

  8. avatar Dave G. says:

    Farago,
    I respect your right to say what you want, but sometimes it’s smarter to be quiet and thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt. You know nothing about which you speak, and you really have no credibility to offer commentary on this subject…

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      I consider that an ad hominem attack. But I’ll leave it up in the hopes that you’ll school me on the benefits of the 1033 program vs. the (perceived?) risks. Seriously, if you’ve got something to say, say it. I’m always ready to admit it when I’m wrong and learn.

      1. avatar beerwhisperer says:

        Handled well.

      2. avatar Accur81 says:

        Well said, sir.

    2. avatar DJ says:

      I’m a soldier who’s been deployed, and I’m here to say you and your Barney Fife kin are out of control and you need to be reigned in before people get hurt.

      There is no excuse for the way Law Enforcement is practiced in the US. None.

      My solution to the problem is elegantly simple. Create a civilian counterpart to the UCMJ and make law enforcement follow it. We’d need more room in Leavenworth.

      1. avatar Gene says:

        Oh Lord, Police under a UCMJ-like system would be …. interesting. Given some of the carveouts they get, there should be no differentiation between on and off duty, too (like military). LOL Conduct unbecoming…

      2. avatar Yellow Devil says:

        It may “seem” elegantly simple, but that will introduce more Federal Government oversight and control, not less. Anytime that happens, nothing ever remains “simple”.

  9. avatar Grindstone says:

    Keep in mind that the 1033 program stipulates that the equipment must be utilized within a year, further incentivising militarized escalation of situations that may not need to be.

    1. avatar Gene says:

      Not to mention the O&M costs each fiscal year. Gotta use that budget.

  10. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Reason pulls through again. It is nice to have a non-statist view point out there.

    1. avatar DJ says:

      Wow, was that a phalanx?

      The really cool thing is that is the closest thing you will see to how ancient armies conducted manuevers bar none.

  11. avatar Matt G says:

    27 cargo transport planes?? Maybe to haul all that gear back to HQ?

  12. avatar Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness says:

    Personally do not see the reasons why cannabis and coca leaves aren’t legal on all federal and state levels. They end human suffering and promote longevity. While we’re at it I’ve got a myriad of reasons why we shouldn’t support a terrorist state abroad and then here. *cough Israel cough* As for the failed police state, it seems all unnecessary and the 1033 program is just an excuse to use the military on its own civilians. No legalization, no hope.

  13. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    Y’know, now that I’m actually livin’ in it, “the future” sure looks differ’nt from how it looked in the brochures way back when.

  14. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Good points, Robert. But each one will be hotly defended by police apologists as necessary in one way or another because each one is rooted in police organizational culture. And changing organizational culture is an enormously difficult task, something that usually far beyond the usual cop-shop apparatchiks most municipalities put into management positions. So how do you change things? By doing what we’re doing. Already the intense public attention coming from sites like TTAG and others, internet news, and especially YouTube’s graphic videos of police misconduct is making it difficult for the usual “blue wall” excuses (“officer safety”, “approved procedures”) to be accepted when cops do awful things to the public This scares the pee out of local politicians who are seeing their traditional tacit partnerships with their police departments coming under very unwelcome scrutiny from the very people who vote (or don’t vote) them into offices. And when local politicians start seeing militarized police as a problem that threatens their political careers, the 4AM SWAT raids to serve code-violation warrants will come to a screeching halt while the MRAPS gather dust in a far corner storage lot. Militarized police? What’s that?

  15. avatar Wyfaggro says:

    1. Anything available to through that program should be available to any civilian. Police are civilians, not military.
    2. End official immunity for any action that violates the civil rights of any person.
    3. End the idiotic “War on Drugs.” You keep calling something a war, sooner or later people start acting like they are warriors, on both sides.

    1. avatar The Trouble with Timbo says:

      Yes! A new follow up to the Posse Comitatus Act that prevents LEOs from having weapons, ammo or protective equipment that isn’t available to law abiding citizens.

  16. avatar Kirk says:

    Hey, Robert! How do you spell potato?

    (No ‘e’ on ‘furor.’)

    1. avatar Anonymous says:

      Furore is the British version. But seriously – a bit trifling to bother bringing it up, yea?

  17. avatar macgearailt says:

    DD- are the police serving us or occupying us ? Robert, you have just experienced a “I’m the law enforcement professional” so shut up speech. You can’t begin to understand the arcane sciences involved in what I do to protect you ,so butt out. I retired in January of this year after a good thirty, I don’t miss those officious, self-absorbed Law Enforcement Officers’. I came up with Peace Officers’. You’ll certainly know the difference when you get stopped .

    1. avatar DJ says:

      Thanks for your service, Mac. Safe travels.

    2. avatar Duzt says:

      good thing you retired you sound like a big part of the problem. enjoy your retirement, your benefit package, your carve outs and that giant chip on your shoulder.

    3. avatar Duzt says:

      Also are you like a sorcerer or something? you engaged in arcane sciences to protect me? hows that work? do you like magically teleport to a crime scene before the crimes taken place circumventing physics and showing up in time to do something instead of just in time to like file paperwork? thanks but i think ill stick with protecting myself which the courts have ruled you have no duty to.
      (extra likes added for dramatic effect)

  18. avatar Patrick Hayes says:

    I don’t care to use MRAPS, or BEARCATS or any other such vehicles and I don’t see much need for anyone to have them. But that’s me.
    I carry my sidearm and a rifle. It doesn’t matter where the rifle comes from, the Gov’t or a gun store. I don’t carry any piece of gear that isn’t available to any other citizen, at least in GA.
    You want a short barrel or full auto? Buy it. If you can’t in your state that is a problem with your elected officials, not the police.
    I have never seen a bayonet used in police work..that is bizarre to say the least.
    Of course there are those who find fault with anything cops do or have. Nothing is going to change that.
    I did my job without any 1033 gear before, and I don’t need any of to do my job.

    As for the rest….

    “Repealing all legislation that conceals the identity of police officers from the public when internal investigations involve police shootings, allegations of excessive force, and matters of honesty and integrity.”

    An internal investigation is just that, INTERNAL, If and when there is a positive report of misconduct, then it becomes, ( or should become ) public.

    We don’t release the names of suspects under investigation and we have no reason do do so when police become suspects.

    “Ending arrest quota management practices and reward systems”

    Where is this happening? I have never seen it in my two decades on the job.

    “Ending local law enforcement’s dependence upon all funding that promotes a mission contrary to Constitutional policing.”

    First..there is nothing in the constitution about policing. If the author is talking about the bill of rights there is no funding that I know of that promotes violation of those rights. If anyone knows of such a policy from the FEDS…please post it.

    The rest of Mr. Downing ideas are good. We don’t have unions in the south or public funded police orgs. so i don’t know anything about that.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      I know for a fact that there are both contact and citation/arrest quotas in a not insignificant portion of local law enforcement. How many I am not sure but I have heard of it in at least a few areas.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        A “quota” is illegal, but a “goal” is not. There are cops routinely rewarded for quantity of arrests and tickets.

  19. avatar Hinshelworld says:

    I am always a little amused by those who complain about police having military gear… My house is filled with better weapons and armor than the local tactical team. Anyone can buy a high speed-low drag carbine, launcher or whatever kind of body armor they should happen to desire (if you live in a free state anyway) hell if you really felt like it you could buy an armored truck too. Are you really that upset because your local department got some 30 year old M16s?

    1. avatar DJ says:

      You don’t have a Mk 18 or an MP5. You don’t have flashbang grenades. You probably don’t have Level IIIA body armor or a MICH helmet with PVS14s attached.

      But if the police raid your house because a confidential informant told them they bought drugs there (criminals lie to get more lenient sentences. Who would have guessed?)

      Or if they kick your door in at 3AM because they have the wrong address,

      They will shoot your dog (and if your family sees that, or the aftermath, and is traumatized, too bad, sovereign immunity – you have no legal recourse).

      They may throw incendiary pyrotechnic devices into the occupied areas of your home (flash/bang grenades or teargas (“burners”) which can ignite carpet, fabric, wood, paint etc. and cause house fires (you won’t be indemnified for this damage either – sovereign immunity).

      They may restrain you, your spouse and your children. You, your spouse, and especially your children will probably require long term psychiatric assistance. The state will not pay for this. Sovereign immunity.

      They may do substantial damage to your property in the subsequent “search”. The state will not pay for this. Sovereign immunity.

      They may seize items of your personal property under forfeiture laws even though no crime was committed. You have to convince a court the court should give you your property back at your own expense.

      They will not wear cameras or carry recording devices. Or, if they do, those devices will “malfunction” or be “unavailable to the defense for XXX reason” (maybe they aren’t public records).

      If you have cameras in your house, they may “malfunction” or “accidentally be damaged” or “the SIMM card was lost” or “the SIMM card was seized and entered as evidence but lost in impound” or “intentionally destroyed to protect the breaching team during entry”.

      Or, they could just do the classic move and plant a firearm they’ve used to shoot someone with and some drugs. Prove they didn’t. All four of them saw you with the weapon and the drugs. Their word against yours. That NEVER happens! Oh, wait:

      http://www.kctv5.com/story/15090956/indictments-handed-down-in-kck-police-officer-misconduct-case

      Do you see the problem now? It’s not the equipment, it’s the system that puts the local government, and the courts, and the police in each others’ pockets. It is inherently corrupt and invites abuse. Are we to pretend to be surprised when it is abused?

      1. avatar DJ says:

        http://www.kctv5.com/story/14800682/woman-says-her-property-is-at-center-of-police-misconduct-investigation-2-22-2011

        $6,000 in property damage over an alleged stolen Xbox. And the police stole $4,000 from the home.

        This was Kansas CIty Police Department’s (KCPD’s) elite unit. They were handpicked. And they were dirty as heck. The only difference here is that the FBI was called in and they were caught. That doesn’t normally happen.

        But don’t worry, justice WILL be served:

        “We want the money stolen from youngest brother bare minimum, and if damages done are not fixed, so be it. But he deserves that he’s just a kid. that was his money,” she said.

        KCTV5 asked the city for an interview about this case and for an explanation about how claims are handled. They declined to do an interview, but sent this statement:

        “The unified government has 120 days to decide on whether a claim is legitimate or not. The legal department has been responsive and has been in contact with the claimant. This particular claim has been part of an investigation that involved local and federal law enforcement agencies. However, our legal department is working diligently to resolve this matter within the next 30 days.”

        Ok, maybe not. I mean, the Unified Government isn’t going to decide they owe a citizen money. Why would they? Sovereign immunity. They have CLEAN hands. She wants her money, she needs to prove her kid had $4,000 cash (dream on). Burden of proof – on the citizen.

        1. avatar DJ says:

          Sorry for the mulitpost, but here’s the rest of the detail about how the elite operators in KCPD SWAT were serving and protecting themselves.

          “The Fraternal Order of Police said Wednesday that it would decline to comment until more information is known about the accusations against the officers.” – always ask to see the evidence before you respond. Great job FOPD (who would otherwise be explaining this was a “misunderstanding” and the homeowner wanted to “loan” the SWAT team $4,000.)

          http://www.kctv5.com/story/14798578/new-details-arise-about-sting-that-busted-kck-officers-1-04-2011

          http://www.kctv5.com/story/14798802/officer-probe-forces-re-examination-of-kck-cases-1-07-201

          http://www.kctv5.com/story/14798643/neighbor-reacts-to-investigation-of-kck-police-1-05-2011

          I can only hope these guys are doing time in Club Fed with a cellmate named “Bubba”.

      2. avatar whatever says:

        “But if the police raid your house because a confidential informant told them they bought drugs there (criminals lie to get more lenient sentences. Who would have guessed?)”

        Heck, it may not even be the police. It may be common thugs inspired by their “dynamic” tactics:


        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igobjUizeOI

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnAeEYwfbys

        We now have *absolutely no idea* who is charging in our dorrs with no readable warrant screaming obscenities. It could be foul-mouthed SWAT “operators” called in because of a scumbag gamer prank (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uH-uRFIr3mA), or it could be a pack of brigands looking to loot, rape and murder everyone inside.

    2. avatar Paco says:

      You’re either not very smart or a troll. Even a casual observer can tell the difference between an armed to the teeth domestic security force having essentially zero accountability in its use of force vs. a gun nerd who has the cash to collect some decent and/or expensive firearms.

  20. avatar Paco says:

    The official 9/11 narrative was used as a pretext for our ongoing police militarization, and to beat a dead horse, if you accept the narrative, accept the consequences. The militarization has allowed the government to bypass posse comitatus, and the only way this will be undone is if the govt gets another domestic militarized force to serve their interests.

  21. avatar DerryM says:

    The Obama Administration’s “pledge” to review Police Militarization isn’t worth the breath it took to speak it.

  22. avatar TT says:

    “Hayes reckons the 1033 program is not a bad thing in and of itself. It saves taxpayers money . . . .”

    This is questionable. I heard a radio commentator make an excellent point. Once the agencies are given things like MRAPs, airplanes, helicopters, robots, grenade launchers, rifles, etc., the agencies will have to pay to maintain them. The agencies will (hopefully anyway) have to pay to learn how to use them. When they wear out (or even get kind of old and not so shiny), the agencies will claim they must be replaced because they’re now “essential” equipment. Police budgets will go up, not down, as a result of getting this “free” stuff.

  23. avatar Patrick Hayes says:

    My Department just has 2 rifles that were made in 1983. The next county has a few dozen. They also have 2 humvees. Our rifles have been in the agency inventory since 1996. They were old but brand new when we got them and are still in great shape. We only had to modernize them a bit for practical police use.

    As most TTAG readers know, im not a fan of most police agencies using military armored vehicles. No need and insurance and maintenance are high. Helicopters of course go to agencies that have the need and the funding to operate them. Night vision is of course useful to everyone.

    All of this stuff was already bought by the taxpayers. The savings is there even if its just one use cycle.

    I think all of the rifles, handguns, and any other suitable gear left over should be sold to dealers on bulk lots and then to the public. There are crates of mint condition M-14’s sitting in warehouses waiting to be demilled. They find crates of M-16A1’s each year. There will probably be tens of thousand Beretta’s in the system soon.
    There is no good reason for the public to not get a shot at owning this stuff.

    PS: An MRAP goes for about $1,000,000…..
    I doubt they will be buying any new ones.

  24. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    This video shows a ubiquitous SWAT raid, something we’ve all seen many times before. The target was a 68 year old woman and her young daughter. The reason for the raid? They had an unsecured router that somebody had logged onto and posted a threatening email about police. That was enough for a SWAT raid, costing what—2-3 thousand bucks? The video is pretty predictable, although early in the dynamic entry one of the cops is reduced to shouting a nonsense word the purpose of which can only be to simply fill the space with noise (and thereby heightening the rank absurdity of the whole sordid event). But what is most telling about the raid starts at about 6:30, toward the end of the video. The cops are standing in the empty house, speaking casually, laughing about having smashed a glass door with their battering ram. They’ve just terrified and humiliated a old woman and a young girl, their house is trashed, if a dog were present it would undoubtedly be dead . . . and for these guys it’s just another day at the office. Hannah Arendt spoke of “the banality of evil”. This is what she meant.

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=6e7_1407930108

  25. avatar Ralph says:

    It never ceases to amaze me that the same people who won’t trust us with a gun insist that we trust them with an army.

    1. avatar Yellow Devil says:

      Because they know they won’t ever have 100 percent control over the people, but they have a chance with the Army.

    2. avatar IdahoPete says:

      “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Hosea 8:7

  26. avatar Ray says:

    Here’s where you can check on what goodies have been given out to where. http://www.shtfplan.com/militarization-by-county-via-the-law-enforcement-support-office

  27. avatar int19h says:

    I have a much simpler plan that consists of three steps:

    1. End the federal “War on Drugs”. Admit that all existing federal statutes regulating substances are unconstitutional under an utterly insane interpretation of the Commerce Clause, and consider them null and void.

    2. End any federal involvement with state and local law enforcement. No co-option of local police and SWAT, no special equipment programs, nothing but information exchange. The feds don’t get to effectively buy out local police teams, period. It’s all funded by the state, and is all about enforcing state law. The feds have their own federal agencies to enforce federal law.

    3. Let the states figure it out on their own, both with respect to drugs, and with respect to police equipment and tactics.

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