When it Comes to Police Militarization, Rely on Government Inefficiency and Incompetence


Reader The Bartelist writes,

We’ve all been reading about the militarization of the country’s law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels.  MRAPS, full-auto long-arms, tactical gear and training…the list seems endless. Many reasonable Americans view these developments with suspicion – even with downright hostility.  And who can blame them?  Power corrupts. But what if this situation was viewed from the other side? What if this situation was a good thing, to be encouraged by freedom-loving Americans everywhere? . . .

Many TTAG readers know cops; some are even friends with them. Me? Many of my best friends are cops, some in positions that would put me on the typical TTAG reader’s “suspect/cop-symp” list. Other than the jerks in the profession – and yes, we all know them, too – most cops are OK. My friends wouldn’t be my friends if they were the kind of cop-thug we all fear, would they? The same probably goes for our military friends, both former and current.

So what does this have to do with the militarization of law enforcement?

I believe we can all stipulate to the inefficiency of government. At all levels, in all things. Basically, they can’t do much well, and when national politics are involved…chaos.

Take, for instance, the MRAPS, automatic weapons and whatnot being given to the Los Angeles School District. Or your local public university. What will they do with them? Arm their school/local area cops with them? Perhaps. But teachers and school administrators aren’t usually known for their pro-LE philosophies. I would suggest that it’s at least as likely that, after the ‘cool factor’ wears off, they will be stored someplace, better forgotten than used.  

Government storage. What an oxymoron. What an…opportunity.

In addition to the [too many] cops in the country, there are a lot of well-trained former and current military personnel out there. Few of them would fire on friendlies. I suspect most will side with their friends and family in a SHTF scenario. And they know how to use this stuff stored so inefficiently by our inefficient government departments. It’s my contention that these folks will, in the right circumstances, train and/or equip the ones they rely on to keep their friends and family safe in a SHTF scenario, i.e. us.

Just thinking out loud, here…thoughts?


  1. avatar dave says:

    there are a lot of well-trained former and current military personnel out there. …… It’s my contention that these folks will, in the right circumstances, train and/or equip the ones they rely on to keep their friends and family safe in a SHTF scenario

    Bingo!!!! Staple a gold star to your forehead!
    This has actually been discussed over my dinner table…. if/when this or that happens how do we ACTIVELY Secure/Protect/Defend……..

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    Few of them would fire on friendlies.

    Google “Danziger Bridge” before you try to sell me the Brooklyn one.

    The only “friendlies” that cops will respect when the SHTF is other cops.

    1. avatar DMZ says:

      Yep. Define good cops as “not actively doing bad stuff” and it’s an easy list to get on. Define it as guys compelled to blow the whistle on everyone else because of their oath and it’s a short list.

    2. avatar Mediocrates says:

      Huh. I am OK with that.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:


        And maybe excepting that a$$hole Sergeant…

    3. avatar Another Robert says:

      Wow. And then the federal prosecutors screwed it up by their own overreaching. Who indeed shall guard the guards?

  3. avatar publius2 says:

    ahhh, its all speculation what the heck these MRAPs will be used for, other than what they appear to be used as so far – large, unwieldy bullet stopping barriers, that dont even work as good as the old “bread trucks” for holding Swatties and their gear to roll up in. I mean, really-

    how likely is it that we will be seeing IEDs built out of unexploded artillery shells or fertilizer buried in the dirt road, like those around villages in Afghanistan and Iraq? Do cash strapped school districts like San Diego, CA REALLY envision needing this to stop a mass shooter?


    ooopsey- not so fast…


    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      There are some highway potholes in DC left over from last Winter that would break an MRAPs axle.

  4. avatar Vhyrus says:

    This is assuming, of course, you get there before the government agents authorized to use said hardware do. My guess is that if the SHTF, the gov will at the very least have the advanced warning, if they aren’t the ones who turned the fans on to begin with.

  5. avatar DBM says:

    Just saw an article about how one sheriff’s department in Florida is using his combat equipped SWAT team to assault barber shops (not kidding) to check if the barber has a license to cut hair!

    And they can’t understand why people don’t trust them.

    1. Hold that thought. Post coming up.

    2. avatar LongPurple says:

      I could not believe it, but Google turned up a report in the Orlando Sentinel about it back in 2010.


      I once suggested (hyperbole) that some Police Departments might use SWAT teams and MRAPs to collect overdue library books to rationalize their “need” for such resources. Looks like that hyperbole was close to the truth.

    3. avatar Grindstone says:

      The 1033 program stipulates that the equipment must be utilized within a year of receipt. Thus incentivizing the misuse of the equipment.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        “Abuse” is the word you were searching for.

        1. avatar Grindstone says:

          I stand corrected.

      2. avatar Accur81 says:

        Our agency is almost completely done with the 1033 program. And we didn’t lose that many guns, but we did have major break in / theft in one of our area office where a bunch of guns were stolen.

    4. avatar Steve s says:

      I live in Champaign County Illinois, the county sheriff’s office received a few M16s but more importantly an MRAP. The local anti-law enforcement, ant-military groups have protested this and demand the MRAP be returned. Not going to happen. It seems the county swat team and emergency response folks rely on an old, I thinks 70s or 80s Brinks armored truck for there vehicle. So I’d be in favor of keeping the MRAP, oh yes indeed.

      1. avatar DBM says:

        MRAPs aren’t practical for civilian police forces. At 6 miles per gallon its very fuel inefficient and the estimated maintenance costs of a military vehicle over its expected life is 3x’s its procurement costs. At about $1.5 million a copy I doubt that any police department can afford to feed the beast and keep it in repair.

        Additionally the weight itself, 18 tons will cause more damage to roads than most cities are willing to pay for. The weight per square inch of tire surface contacting the road exceeds that of an M-1 Tank.

        1. avatar neiowa says:

          Fire Dept industry safety standard is that all fire truck tires are to be replaced every 7 years regardless of mileage (dry rot). Granted, FD are much bigger on safety than PD and fire trucks are stored inside while military/cop MRAP parked out in the sun (UV) 24/7. Is the local 5-0 Installing new tires when they get one. Not a chance. Not at $9000/set they aren’t. To expensive. Top heavy and unsafe rollover hazard. To the public and to the cops.

  6. avatar publius2 says:

    Never underestimate the stupidity of politically correct progtards, on the School Boards in most CA school districts, ESPECIALLY when run by the teachers union, which is THE most politically influential and wealthy in CA. (followed by the prison guards union).

    1. avatar Tom Collins says:

      Ah Ha!! The missing link in the “school to prison pipeline” !!

  7. avatar Bear The Grizzly says:

    So because they’re too inept to use armored vehicles and full-auto rifles we shouldn’t fear them?

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      Yup, that’s the gist of it. Guy’s obviously never seen Brazil (horrifying dark comedy that’s essentially a combination of 1984 and Idiocracy)

      1. avatar CarlosT says:

        Or actual Brazil, the country, where the military police actually police the civilian population as well.

        1. avatar Bear The Grizzly says:

          +1 But nobody wants to talk about the real world outcomes of constant police militarization across the globe.

      2. avatar ken says:

        Not to worry. You will receive a receipt for any loved ones accidentally ran over by the vehicle due to the switch from metric to SAE tire sizes, without informing the motor pool, by the agency that never makes mistakes. 🙂

        1. avatar DBM says:

          When I was in the army I ran a small depot. Every time one of my low boys was used to transport heavy equipment it would come back with 2-4 blown tires! A little investigation work showed that a some Dumb @ss had started putting 30 mph speed rated semi-tactical tires on them before I took over! All I could see was cars getting tire chunks in the windshield or the low boy flipping over with a tank on it. Ordered the maintenance shop to change them out to commercial road tires and we never had another blow out. Unsurprisingly I had to threaten the firing of some contractors and the ending some military careers to make the change. Seems no one could site a regulation mandating the worthless tires but they were sure their was one .

  8. avatar publius2 says:

    My guess it was patrol vehicle envy…cant let Chula Vista beat us out, after all…

  9. avatar LongBeach says:

    If I may…

    It seems to me that they are the ones who are throwing the sh!t (and have been doing so for quite some time), so perhaps we will be the ones who turn on the proverbial fan and blow that sh!t back at them?

    EDIT: this was supposed to be a reply to Vhyrus.

  10. avatar Jus Bill says:

    Is it just me or is the guy in the watch cap listening to tunes instead of the briefing?

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Yeah, He’s listening to “Jail House Rock!”

  11. avatar esitue says:

    you know what happens when you give Progressives guns?
    They start shooting PPL

  12. avatar Tim Ellwood says:

    Two words, Bonus Army.
    I think of that every time someone brings up the ” they will never turn on us” statement

    1. avatar Rambeast says:

      If that were to happen today, not even the all mighty media could successfully spin it. Luckily for the feds, there wasn’t the infrastructure or tech available to broadcast that event live to all corners for the US.

  13. avatar CoolBreeze72 says:

    These vehicles cost money to maintain. Locals don’t have the resources to follow the maintain schedule. Good luck when it comes time to fire it up after being stored.

    1. avatar mk10108 says:


  14. avatar Howdy says:

    What are you asking for here?

    Yes, government is bad at managing stuff.
    Yes, government only seeks to propagate itself.
    No, the government should not use battlefield tactics and equipment on its citizenry.


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

    I don’t have nearly as much of a problem with the MRAPs as I do with the full auto weapons and some of the other accessories like bayonets. The MRAPs are just a stupid waste of taxpayer money that won’t be readily available when needed anyway. It’s spraying the neighborhood with bullets that I object to.

  16. avatar Anon says:

    The LEO fiasco in Boston at the Marathon, the two ladies in the dissimilar truck near LA, the flash bang into the crib with the baby in it, the elderly lady in Atlanta with the shotgun killed by the cops ( she was defending her home), blah, blah, blah. Massive police response is a clusterf#%k. Think Waco or Ruby Ridge. Think the bonus army. Think about the number of ND’s committed by police . . . . . . . . .guns don’t go off by themselves.

    1. Large numbers (say 4) of police officers will react/act as a crowd, they will not think but they will kill you. They will follow orders or are corrupt. In a Florida spray and pray by the cops, they hit a bad guy but also shot one of their own and Maria Fernanda Godinez, but what the hell she was only 22 years old and all the cops went home to their families.

    2. Not too concerned about the MRAPS, they won’t do regular maintenance and when someone plugs in their brain and figures out the cost of repair parts . . . . . . . many will let them sit. Ever leave a car alone for a few months? See if it starts and how square the tires are, don’t worry about fluids, rust, etc. They will not be maintained.

    3. Most current military and even prior service will support the government, even if it means killing you. They will think of their families, retirement, food, medicine, et al.

    You are living in la la land if you think militarization of the police can in any way be looked on as a good thing.

    By the way, cops socialize with cops, rarely with civilians. If you think they are your friends, you are in la la land twice.

    1. avatar Michael says:

      Given all the crimes we see police officers commit….at least those we know of, and the stupidity of the some of incidents others have listed, anyone hoping the cops “won’t fire on us” doesn’t understand the mind set and will be rudely surprised when shtf on any level.

    2. avatar Tom Collins says:

      Cops ARE civillians…

  17. avatar USMCVeteran says:

    Re: Police militarization, l knew the American people were in trouble back in 2003 when the DH”SS” hired former STASI agents including former STASI chief, Markus Wolfe.

  18. avatar barnbwt says:

    “most cops are OK.”
    It only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bushel. Especially when the bushel gets people killed (on the street or in prison). Cops are trusted with tremendous power; they can quite literally kill people and get away with it in most cases, and can easily escape just punishment for lesser offenses that would instantly land anyone else in jail. Sometimes this power is necessary to enforce the law, but when misused the consequences are far-reaching and corrode the authority of the Law itself.

    “Most” being okay isn’t even close to good enough. That’s like us civvies saying “most” of us won’t murder each other in the absence of laws, so the police themselves are unnecessary. Cops are only human, but their authority is super human (or rather, super-civilian) so they must be held to higher standards. I suppose one might say that arrangement dooms them to punishment, and I suppose that might be right. Perhaps people that know they can’t be trusted with power would not be attracted to the profession in such an arrangement.

    The job of police is now much safer, physically, than it historically has been. Perhaps it is time to regain balance by making it riskier, legally. Put people’s skin in the game, and they act responsibly out of self-interest. Remove it, and their imaginations are the limit.

  19. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    “I would suggest that it’s at least as likely that, after the ‘cool factor’ wears off, they will be stored someplace, better forgotten than used.”

    That silver lining may indeed be there, but you have to really want to see it.

  20. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Unfortunately, I believe Bartelist is providing a romanticized version of law enforcement. While there are sure to be many law enforcement officers who are decent people, there are also many who are proverbial wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    The fundamental problem in our nation is selfishness. That is why we have no shortage of government employees (well over 1 million) who have no qualms ruining the lives of good people who don’t want to hand over 40% of their income … or people who want to have a firearm on hand to defend their lives if a violent criminal attacks.

    If you doubt my words, please stand along any street with a handgun visible in a holster on your hip or a rifle slung over your shoulder and tell me what happens in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Washington D.C., and most parts of Connecticut or Massachusetts. Better yet, refuse to hand over more than 20% of your income to taxes anywhere in the United States and see how many “nice” government employees give you a pass.

  21. avatar DerryM says:

    I have my doubts about “Militarized” Law Enforcement. Many Veterans have PTSD (understandably given the extreme stresses of the Afghanistan/Irag War Theaters). So, if Militarized Police are putting legally-sanctioned thugs on our streets with ill-maintained equipment and automatic weapons, how well would hoping PTSD suffering Veterans could seize this equipment and help us “ordinary folks” through a SHTF situation work?

    If SHTF materializes, it will not turn-out the way any of us imagine at present, particularly in Metropolitan/Urban areas. Small Town country folks may fare best, but the rest of us should anticipate chaos and savagery at worst or the imposition of Martial Law at “best”.

    1. avatar DBM says:

      I know people that consider police cars to be just another ammo resupply point in a SHTF scenario.

  22. avatar Mark says:

    If you could cite even one occurance where the rank & file went against the “brass’s” decision to unlawfully seize everyone’s weapons, we might agree. Several recent examples of unlawful seizure are on record, including new orleans..

  23. avatar KCK says:

    Just followed orders, because there were guns behind me.

  24. avatar janklow says:

    so the theory is that we should want police to be as militarized as possible because, in a SHTF scenario, they’ll turn out to be good guys and help us out?


  25. Guessing it’s not just a hard drive with his music collection on,

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